Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Out and About: It Got Above Freezing Today!!!

Thirty-eight degrees feels balmy after the arctic cold that we've endured since after Christmas through the first week of the new year. My dog, Jamis, refuses to leave the house in booties and a coat, so we haven't gotten farther than the yard in quite awhile. Today we ventured out and walked through the woods and south along the Zim Smith trail. I could take my gloves off to take a few pictures without worrying about frostbite! I had Green Hour at the Round Lake Library today and I read a book with the children about animals that live under the snow in the winter. There are signs in the Peck Avenue woods of the Red Squirrel. It looks like they have made some underground hide-outs there. If you walk straight back to a bit before the stream, you can see some small holes. Colin S., who was at the program today, worried about how the squirrels would find food. There are cones on top of the snow and squirrels will also dig down to find edibles like hickory nuts. There is also the Peterson's bird feeder, which I have seen a Red Squirrel sitting in and dining from. The children made a beautiful ice feeder today, filled with fruit, seeds, and nuts for the birds and, of course, squirrels! It is hanging in the Children's Garden behind the library. Hope to see you out and about. Happy New Year!!!
Snow-capped Nest in Peck Avenue Woods

Another Nest with Tissues Incorporated Into It

Gnawed Tree Trunk

Red Squirrel Hide-out

Another Entrance to Red Squirrel Abode

Pine Cones are Super Abundant This Season

Ice Feeder with Fruits, Nuts, and Seeds

Out and About: The Peck Avenue Woods on Christmas Afternoon 2017

Looking West Through the Pines in the Peck Avenue Woods.

Out and About:( When I thought Ten Degrees Was Cold) A Story Through Glass

On December fourteenth it was a cold morning. It was ten degrees. Little did I know that in a couple of weeks we would be dealing with wind chills below zero and daytime temperatures in the single digits. This December morning, I glanced out my glass kitchen door to look at my bird feeders. There on a suet cage, sat a male Northern Flicker. I stopped to watch him. There he sat. Minute after minute went by and he continued to just hang-out. Finally, after ten minutes, he began to eat. Enter a Blue Jay. A Noisy one. The flicker didn't budge. The jay left but wait... he came back. Now both suet cages were occupied by woodpeckers and the jay voiced his dismay loudly. Neither woodpecker looked up from breakfast. The jay vocally carried on but then stopped. It realized pieces of suet were dropping on the ground. It dove down to eat its own breakfast. The photos are taken through the glass door so as not to disturb the birds and because it was cold. Ha! Note the yellow under the flicker's tail. There's yellow under the wings too. We have the yellow-shafted group in our area. There is a red-shafted group elsewhere.
Male Northern Flicker

Finally Starts Eating

Enter: Noisy Blue Jay

With Suet in its Bill, Flicker Gives Jay a Dirty Look When Jay Leaves

But Wait! Jay is Back

Jay Dives for Suet Pieces on Ground

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Out and About: A Birding Hot Spot

November's weather was uneventful with just a dusting of snow on the twentieth and some roller coaster temperatures through the second half of the month. I got out on the twenty-ninth to take a nature walk and got no farther than the access road to Griffin's Ridge. This is a great little birding hot spot. The stream is on either side of the road. Pat's old farm field has a good number of trees with nesting cavities and winter roosts, for birds, squirrels and raccoons, as well as, being surrounded by mature white pines. The pines are a great cover for wildlife and a food source. An apple tree in the field still had apples and is a place deer can be seen from time to time. This day, House Finches were in the tree. A Northern Flicker was looking for insects in tree cavities and under bark right along the road. Thanks to Florence Cruz and her bluebird box, which hosts two broods a summer, I saw four Bluebirds flitting around in the trees. A Dark-eyed Junco struck a pose in the field. A couple of White-breasted Nuthatches, Goldfinches, Black-capped Chickadees, and a Red-bellied Woodpecker were all spotted down there. I have also seen a Red-tailed Hawk in this area flying and perched. The Great Horned Owl, which many of us are hearing at night, seems to be both on Mount Morris and closer to this field and Griffin's Ridge this season. Let me know what you see and hear when you're out and about!
Access Road to Griffin's Ridge

Pat's Old Farm Field

White Pines in Background

Great Nesting/Roosting Holes

In Use?!

Male Northern Flicker Looking for Insects. Note the Black Moustache

Northern Flicker Back View

Two Male Eastern Bluebirds

Male Eastern Bluebird

Male Dark-eyed Junco

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Out and About: The Party's Over!

I had a great run with my pepper and tomato plants up until a couple of days ago when they finally got zapped by frost and a twenty-six degree morning. On November ninth the whole village was covered in frost and the lake was totally fogged over. I had picked peppers and green tomatoes the night before and didn't bother to cover the beds with sheets this time. I brought pots of herbs into the kitchen and discovered my dog likes parsley as I found him nibbling on it. Flowers in neighbors' gardens were doing well too but the party is over for us gardeners. Time to think of what pies we'll have at Thanksgiving and when the first snow will fall.
November Peppers and New Flowers

Even Turning Red and It's November

Found This Zuke Hiding Under Leaf Litter

Cullinan's Roses Going Strong

Dee's Morning Glories

Beautiful Colors

A Pink Boar Tomato in November Sunshine

Grass Tassles

Norma's Rose

Foggy Morning at Round Lake

Shrouded

Frosted Montauk Daisy on November Ninth

Even Spider Webs Got Frosted

Friday, October 13, 2017

Out and About: Frost Free So Far

We had a frost warning for our area this morning but luckily, dodged it. I still have tomatoes and peppers on the vine ripening and basil to pick. I covered the beds with sheets and was happy to see that nothing was zapped. Late season flowers have been magnets for bees and butterflies. The last sighting of a hummingbird was on October fifth. We may see eighty degrees on Sunday. I'll take it and hope my tomatoes and peppers keep cranking!
Pink Boar Heirloom Tomato Has a Nose!

Colorful Zinnias on Peck Avenue

Dried Mullein: Was used as torches by Native Americans

Mullein: Fuzzy leaves and yellow flowers

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly on Goldenrod

Monarch and Bee on Asters

Still Producing

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Out and About: Summer is Back for September

The past week has just been lovely weather. Female hummingbirds are still here and zipping through the garden. Monarch butterflies are floating around looking for nectar sources. Vegetable gardens continue to crank out tomatoes and fall flowers like asters, goldenrod, and sedums are now blooming. Enjoy!
Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillars

Golden Garden Spider: Amazing Web Design

Ladybug

Joe-Pye Weed

Rudbeckia Herbstonne

Heads Up!!!

HUGE

Changing

Goldenrod

Mum's the Word