Snow birds

It rarely snows in this part of North Carolina, and although some was tentatively forecast for last night, we could hear the sleet falling as we went to bed, and again this morning.

Still, some wet flakes fell while we slept, dusting everything in about an inch of powdery white, and started back again after breakfast.

I had filled up the suet cage in anticipation, and threw out plenty of seeds and stale bread throughout the day to keep the ground-feeders occupied. My husband thawed the birdbaths and made sure the birds all had water to drink. And my youngest grandson and I enjoyed the show.

brown-headed-nuthatch
Suet is like a magnet for these brown-headed nuthatches.
mourning-dove
Snow makes the color on mourning doves really pop.
some-yellow-bird
I haven’t been able to ID these cute little yellow and black birds. Suggestions, anyone?
junco
A real snowbird – a dark-eyed junco.

 

Woodpecker Wednesday

Today was the first day of winter. A day I look forward to all year, not because I like the season, but I know the dark nights will slowly shorten, and the sun, although much lower in the sky, will begin to bring more daylight, in anticipation of spring.

It was cold this morning. Too cold to go outside to just stand quiet and birdwatch. I waited until the thermometer hit 50, then took my camera outside.

Although it was chilly, it’s more enjoyable to take pictures outside, rather than attempt a clear shot through the sliding glass door.

downy-and-friend-2
Can’t remember if this was a male or female downy, but this time, it was fine with sharing.
red-bellied-takeoff
This red-bellied woodpecker was spooked right after it landed.

Initially, though, I was inside. And spied a pileated woodpecker back in the woods.

pileated-woodpecker
This stunning woodpecker was all about de-bugging the trees.

And I heard, and saw, several red-bellied woodpeckers. They are so pretty.

red-bellied-peekaboo
Red-belled woodpeckers often announce their arrival before they are seen.

red-bellied-tree

Three types of woodpeckers in my backyard made for a good day. Even if it was the first day of winter.

Gotcha!

I lucked out when he flew right above me.
I lucked out when he flew right above me.

I’ve been trying and trying to get some decent bird photos. My camera is only a point-and-shoot, and while it has a zoom, it doesn’t magnify things much.

This colorful robin was perched up on top of the pole that holds my bird feeders. He got aggravated with my picture-taking (which did turn out awful), but then he flew above my head. Because he’s in shadow, it’s hard to see his red breast, but he was a handsome one.

Summer drops by for an early ‘hello’

the warning
The beginning of the afternoon storms. The nest where the branches meet was used by a family of robins last year.

It was a crazy weather day. One of those that meteorologists love, because it gives them an opportunity to talk about things like squall lines and tornadic winds and severe thunderstorms and large hail.

The warnings started yesterday. And, sure enough, by early morning the line of storms was thundering its way across the state, in a band that extended from South Carolina, through North Carolina, up into Virginia.

after the warning
The wind was whipping around quite a bit here. But, no rain.

I spent the morning at work, a few counties away. It poured at home while I was gone. By mid-afternoon, I was back, and ready to hunker down. It was quiet. The birds were singing. Had I asked them, they would have said, “What storm?” Eventually, it rained. And the warnings – thunderstorm warnings, tornado warnings, extreme threat alert warnings – starting pouring in.

in between
It finally rained, but unlike in surrounding towns which were not as fortunate, the storm was a mild one.

It rained for a while, then the weather stopped, and so did the warnings. They announced on TV we were in the clear. I went outside. It looked like the makings of a beautiful sunset. I stayed close to home, but starting shooting pictures again.

sunset - psych
The clear skies were short-lived.
in between light
I thought it was all over at this point.

I sat down at my computer, relieved it was over. Then it got really dark. I remember thinking, “I thought it was getting dark a lot later than 6:15.” Faint thunder, loud thunder – I moved away from the computer.

The storm didn’t last long, and the only damage here was a wet carpet where the rain blew in around the bedroom window frame. My backyard looks like a small pond, but thankfully, aside from the wind advisory that will last through the morning, we weathered this storm just fine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes it pays to look back

joynersunset7
When I looked behind me, I saw the beginning of a passable sunset.

February has to be the most impatient month. It’s not like January, which marches by all business-like while everyone’s making grand plans for the new year and putting everything in order.

Although the days are slightly longer, they’re also often colder, here in the southeastern U.S. The leaves have all fallen, except for those red oaks that stubbornly hang on throughout even the worst weather until the new spring leaves sprout and push them loose.

The second month of the year is ushered in with cute groundhog photos and wishes for an early spring. Next comes excitement for the upcoming lovers’ holiday – or dread – depending on your relationship status. Whatever you feel about Valentine’s Day, or Winter itself, February can be loaded with emotion.

I spent much of this past week looking back at my life – not a very bright thing to do in February – because it’s already kind of a grumpy, icy, colorless time of year. It was late in the day before I finally talked myself into that walk I’d been thinking of taking since this morning. Partway through, I peeked behind me, and found, if not the most colorful sunset, at least a pretty one.

joynersunset1
Joyner Farm in silhouette.

Dwelling on the past never does anyone much good. However, sometimes, it pays to take a quick peek over your shoulder.

joynersunset3
Joyner Farm, a slightly different perspective.