Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve Moon - 2009

I came back from town this evening and was taken by the moon. I took a photo with my iPhone and was impressed with it, when I thought, "What kind of photo would my Canon take?"
So, I couldn't resist - I went in, got it, walked across the road (I'm sure the people in the passing cars wondered what this crazy lady was doing out in the dark with her camera!) and used the mailbox like a tri-pod :) I was SO excited to see the different kinds of shots I could get! I have posted two different pictures on
I thought, "What a splendid way to conclude 2009!"
May you all have a joyous and prosperous New Year!
(photos were only cropped - otherwise, not edited)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Here's a Question for Everyone!

What birds frequent your feeders this time of year? If you would like to comment, please let us know the general area where you are from, and what birds your are supporting in this winter season. I will look forward to hearing from you! :)

Example: I am from the Sequim Valley area on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. The frequent birds at my feeders this time of year (this year!) are house finches, gold finches, juncos, gold crowned sparrows, and chickadees :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Visitor!

This morning, I was happy with so many finches, sparrows and juncos at the feeders! I know I say that a lot lately - but the activity is thrilling and really consistent! I spent quite a while just watching while drinking my coffee - they seem to come in bunches and I never tire of watching them come in toward me for landing.

Later in the morning, my daughter reported a "strange bird" that had visited. I couldn't tell by her description what it was - didn't sound familiar to me, when just then, it came back!

I quickly got my camera and was lucky to get a couple of shots - shots good enough for identification. Turns out it is a red-breasted nuthatch - a darling little bird and one I'd never seen before. (He's on the right corner of the tray feeder)

It came back a few more times later in the day, and so, maybe it will stay a while.

There were also quite a few chickadees at the feeders - several at one time! It appears that I have both the chestnut backed chickadees and the black-capped chickadees. So cute and quick!

Even though the birds are in their winter attire, they are so pretty! I'm enjoying them thoroughly and am glad that they seem to be enjoying it here, as well.

Oh! and today I finally accomplished a project that I've been wanting to get done for a year! I've moved the furniture around in my kitchen so that I can now stand by the open window to take photos of the birds! Better late than never, as they say! :)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

"May your days be merry and bright..."
from my heart to yours
iphone photo - 12/21/09

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Twenty-Third

Yesterday, the 23rd -
a deep emotional day for me, yet, I found
many "gifts" in my day -
shopping in the evening - I enjoyed the experience!
shared a lovely dinner with my daughter and son-in-law -
came home to find a box - a gift - my first Canon SLR camera!
AND on the 23rd of the Dec. (1st anniversary month for my bird blog)
I found Follower #23 joined! - Welcome!
I have felt the spirit of Christmas everywhere this week for the first time since
Merry Christmas Eve to all !

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Today, my heart remembers my daughter, Odessa.
March 30, 1982 - December 23, 2005
She walked into heaven's gates from the top of
a mountain where she had been skiing.
She is dearly loved and greatly missed.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gold finches, Gold finches, Gold finches ;)

(I think there are 17 gold finches in the above photo -
in addition to 7 (?) house finches! I know you only have
my word for it, but there were more here earlier this morning ! ! !)

Last winter, I had so many pinesiskens - I think one day I counted 60 at the feeders at one time!This year, I haven't seen one so far.
Last winter, I didn't see one gold finch - until late in the spring!
This year, I have gold finches! I've never seen them here in the winter, nor in such numbers when they are around. In the summer I remember being excited to see 5 at one time - but, for the last couple of weeks there are more and more coming to feed and drink.
This morning I finally got some passable shots to post. Through the window (grrrr....), and dark, windy, rainy day (more grrrr....). But, I wanted to share the fluttering news with everyone!
Besides the gold finches, there are other birds ;) None of the chickadees were here when I had the camera out this morning. I've seen a half dozen of them at one time - which, again is unusual, since I've observed that they tend to shy away from crowds ;) And, of course, the house finches (and mates) and gold crowned sparrows.
I chuckle when I scroll back in time to a year ago when I first put up the feeders. Even though my Bird Sanctuary Dream didn't become what I dreamed, that hasn't stopped the birds from coming! And that really is the point, isn't it :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Birds in a Puddle :)

I was just commenting to someone the other day about the great number of birds this year. There are quite a few gold finches - which I have never seen here in the winter before. Lots of juncos, and house finches, of course and sparrows.
We just had a down pour and there was so much excitement outside - little bird bodies everywhere! Flying from trees and shrubs to feeders and in every puddle in the yard! It was delightful to watch!
Unfortunately, this photo had to be taken through my kitchen window :( I know, I know - but if I had opened a window or the door, know the story ;)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

First Snow

In the last couple of days, it seems that many parts of the country has had a "1st Snow" - and I was least of all expecting it this morning when I woke up. It is just a dusting, but it lifts my spirits to a level of excitement, expectation, wonder, and delight. That's the one thing that has never changed in my whole life - the love of my world lightly covered in snow. Have a wonderful Sunday!

I sing the mighty power of God, that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at God’s command, and all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through the Word, and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.

There’s not a plant or flower below, but makes Thy glories known,
And clouds arise, and tempests blow, by order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care;
And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God art present there.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

One Year

(photo taken with iPhone a couple of mornings ago)

It was one year ago, today, I wrote my first posts on "My Bird Sanctuary Dream." I have only 142 posts, but I took lots of photos and I am amazed at how much I've learned this year! I can recognize many more species now. I can identify more songs than I knew before. I've learned some of their unique characteristics. I have really enjoyed them coming to my feeders and have fallen in love with many birds that I didn't take a passing glance at before; and, I've gotten a little better with the camera(s) at hand.
But, the greatest discovery of the year was getting to know all of you! From the encouraging and helpful comments you've left on my blog, to the window into your lives through reading your blogs - it all added up to finding a circle of friends that not only has birding in common, but also the struggles and joys of life in general.
I don't know where birding goes from here for me, but it will always be a part of my life to some degree. Because of my life, right now, bird news is scarce; I keep the feeders full, and there is lots of activity, but there's nothing "new" to share. However, I do love the nature that surrounds me and can't help sharing that with you sometimes.
I wanted to thank you for making this year a delight! Thank you for all that you've shared with me - and, in case I don't get to post between now and the end of the year, I want to wish you all beautiful, meaningful holiday moments and lots of birds at your feeders! God bless!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to all

May your Thanksgiving day be filled with
pleasant, warm moments
which will turn into
lasting memories...
treasures of your heart

Friday, November 20, 2009

Big Rain - Big River!

It was a gorgeous afternoon when we went into Walmart. Twenty minutes later, the sky had completely changed!

We've been having a lot of rain the last couple of weeks. A couple of nights ago, it poured with winds gusting up to 50 mph! When I was driving home from Walmart, I noticed the river was very high, so I dropped my daughter off at home and drove back to get pictures of the river before this next storm comes!

I barely got the last shot when it started to rain. By the time I ran back across the bridge to the van, it was pouring! I was drenched! --- but, so happy!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Feeders and Sunlight

One of the few things I did today (after recuperating from a night of battling a bug?), was to fill up the tray feeder. It seems the birds prefer that feeder and there's not as much waste. So...should I get another one?
Anyway, while I was out there, I heard a significant fluttering in the trees behind the garage. At first, I thought Tinkerbell was hunting; but she was only a few feet away from me. Then I saw lots of birds flying out of the trees in that area and a second later....a beautiful hawk or falcon! ! ! It took my breath away! I don't know how it got in and out from behind the garage, but the take-off was spectacular! I'm sorry to say - no camera and no identification - it all happened so fast. :(
Meanwhile, I have a flock of juncos right now, plenty of house finches still, a few gold finches and the rare sparrow - so I'm filling the feeders regularly. It's fun to see all the activity out there again.
I am thinking about moving the feeders across the driveway. If you look at past photos, you will see, that especially in the winter, the sun rarely hits the feeders. They are only 6 feet from the house on the north side. Across the drive, the sunlight is there almost all day. Does anyone have any thoughts on that? Initially, they were positioned to be part of a sanctuary I was planning - but my plans have changed and the dream won't be coming true - at least for now.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What IS that Masked Bandit???

Sorry for the poor quality photo - but I didn't want to scare it before getting a shot - and my hunch was right. I took the photo from in my kitchen - zoomed in with the Panasonic Lumix - not fancy. As soon as I got the first shot, he took off.
I've looked in two bird books and can't find it! I even looked under "racoon bird" --- you're laughing now, I know ;)
Can anyone identify this bird?
Have a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, October 31, 2009


May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow
May the soft winds freshen your spirit
May the sunshine brighten your heart
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you
and may God enfold you in the mantle of His love
(an Irish Blessing)

(iPhone photos - 10/20/09)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

You Should Have Seen the Sunrise!

Sunrise - Tuesday, October 27, 2009, 8:10am
This song says it all - enjoy!
(iPhone photos)

If you can't be with me next time, go out anyway, and take someone with you ;)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cornell Lab site

I'm sure this site has been around a l-o-o-o-n-g time, and I seem to have a very vague recollection of it being mentioned in a blog or conversation in the past year; but, I just discovered this fabulous site last night! Whoo-hoo!

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology -

Last night I finally figured out the differences between the house sparrow vs. Harris' sparrow and the house finch vs. the purple finch. The finches, in particular, have confused me - they look so much alike --- that is, until you see them side by side!
Here's an example: Go to the home page. Type purple finch in the search bar. When the page comes up, (Warning! You could get lost in all the interesting information on that page, believe me!) scroll down to "Field Marks" and "Similar Species". There are lots of photos to scroll through there, but the great feature is, you can click on "Similar Species" and two large windows will pop up on the page - like this:

From here, you can scroll through the photos of either window and compare! There are photos of the birds in different seasons, male and female, and a description on each photo. By the time you go through these photos, you should have a much better idea of how to distinquish between those tricky little look-alikes!
Regarding the finches, I learned that the house finch, though its reddish color may be brilliant, is red only on the head, down the front, and sometimes a fleck of red between the wings just above the tail; whereas, the purple finch is practically red/purple all over! Its wings are tinted red - the house finch's wings are just browns and cream.
This is only one feature on the site! There are lots of photos, maps and information regarding habitat, life history, and behavior. There are sound bites of songs and helpful videos for successful birding.
If you've never been to The Cornell Lab site - Go! Now! ;) and have lots of fun!
(Disclaimer: If in my excitement I am in error about what I think I've discovered, please let me know?) thanks ;)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Artisitc Expression

Artistic expression fascinates me! I think I'm more amazed and curious as to how the artist came up with the idea, than I am with the piece of art itself!
Take, for instance, this first photo. It was taken in a coffee shop (with iPhone) - a simple white painting of a feather. It looks like the wind is blowing it apart, but, if you look closely, you will see that the bits of feathers are birds!

I took this second photo (again with iPhone) in the SeaTac Airport. It is made with thousands of tiny piece of metal; each hanging from a string (or wire?). Every one of the pieces that forms the eagle, is a little bird; and every piece that forms the fish in the eagle's talons, is in the shape of a fish! Unbelievable!

And yet, nothing that man makes compares with the awesome creation of life by the hand of God. I haven't seen many birds at my feeders in a long time, so yesterday, I took down all my feeders, cleaned and filled them. Today, there were so many bird visitors again! There were finches, chickadees and juncos flying around the yard, swooping in to land at the feeders and slipping into the hedges. THEY are a work of art that keep my heart in constant wonder as to how God came up with the idea that resulted in His artistic expression - of little birds! ;)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hello Everybody!

It seems like forever since I've posted! Life is full!
I want to welcome those who are new followers ;) I will be visiting your blogs soon. Blogging is such a wonderful idea! I've met great people who are so generous with their experience in birding - I've learned so much in the last 11 months and have enjoyed admiring the photography displayed by the writers.

It's been foggy and rainy today and there has been much on my mind. I was going about my business - you know, daily stuff like cleaning the kitchen and taking out the garbage - easy things to do with your mind on auto-pilot. When I stepped out onto the porch with the garbage bag, I found this incredible surprise!

I called Wild Birds Unlimited to see if they had delivered it - did they deliver it to the wrong address? The lady laughed and told me that it was a gift for me from a lady who'd bought the bag of seed and asked for it to be delivered to ME! Needless to say, I was amazed!
So, I want to thank you - whoever you are - for being so thoughtful and generous. I hope you are blessed in return!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Full Moon Tonight

Panasonic Lumix Digital
hand held, unedited; slightly cropped

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lost for Words? or Lost for Birds?

I feel badly that my blogging has been so sporatic lately. Part of it has to do with the craziness of life these days and feeling a little lost for words (or is it "lost for birds?").
I've written about sunsets, the sky, trees, flowers, and Mr. Kitty; but there have been very few bird posts. A few house finches still come to the feeders - the rare gold finch, but no chickadees, and not even sparrows!
There are plenty of birds in the area because I can hear so many different songs, some of which I don't recall hearing here. When I go for my walks or get the mail or stand out on my deck, it seems like the trees are filled with birds - but I don't see many of them.
So, I thought I would jot a short post to let you all know that I'm ok, but I don't have much to write regarding my Bird Sanctuary.
I am enjoying my English 101 class and doing well, so far. ;)
The world around me continues to glow with the autumn sun and fall colors. I wish autumn days were longer; in fact, I wish the autumn season was longer!
I hope you are enjoying your yard and the area where you live and watch birds, and that your feeders are full and fluttering all the time! :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens...

I picked these last, few Double Delight roses today and was amazed at how interested Mr. Kitty was in them. At some point in the afternoon, I turned around and couldn't believe my eyes! He was sitting on the very edge of this table, smelling the roses!
My camera was on my desk, so I quick took the picture without thinking or fussing with settings. I'm surprised it turned out at all.
At that same moment, my daughter came in and tried to get the shot with her cell phone. She was about 1/2 sec. too late. Mr. Kitty jumped off the table and that was a scary moment as the vase of flowers went sliding! Thankfully, they stayed on the table and not even a drop of water was spilled.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pine Cones and Sunflowers

I've always wondered, "What happens to pine cones?" I've seen them on trees and the next time I see them, they are, obviously open, laying on the ground. Of course, I could have googled it, but never had.
On my walk today, the sky was cloudless, the sun deliciously warm and the breeze just on the fresh side of warm - you know, the kind that makes you wish you didn't have to exhale when you breathe it in because it feels so good!
I was enjoying the change in the landscape canvas. It's like the paint brush is reloaded every night and more of the new picture is being revealed every day!
I was listening to the birds and thinking that some of the songs were reminiscent of songs I used to hear as a girl in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
I was lost in a world of senses when suddenly a breeze came across the road and I heard a sound I'd never heard before! Not the sound of leaves, green or colored when blown by a breeze. Not the sound of wood on wood when branches are moving. It was more like a lot of something - delicate, crisp, almost musical.
I stopped to look and there was a shower of pine cone seeds dancing from the very top of this tree!
Another breeze and another shimmering shower of fawn colored wisps - carried along, catching the sunlight, and joyfully "clicking" each other on their way to the ground. I stood mesmerized for a few minutes.
I tried to take a picture, but the top of the tree was just too far away for the iPhone to capture it clearly and the seeds too tiny and moving too quickly.

I continued my walk, and was distracted again - this time, by these sunflowers! Today, all of the colors and sounds of my world are spectacular! I hope hope they are wherever you are too!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Then Sings My Soul...

I have no words - this magnificent display of God's creative, sustaining power is so faith reassuring after a day like today. I thank Him with all my heart.
(photos taken with Panasonic DMC-TZ5 - no editing except slight cropping of 3rd photo)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

An Oak Tree is an Oak Tree is an Oak Tree....

I wasn't going to post anything this weekend, but sometimes a person can't resist!
The oak tree has been in the yard for 5 years. It is in the center of the front lawn and it has often made me smile. In both spring and fall, it is highlighted by the sun and I could have taken hundreds of photos of it since it was planted there.
This evening, as if it were under a flood light on center stage, the actress glowed as she performed her best role - that of an oak tree. And what better actress to play the part?
I think it would be simply grand if everyone could know and be comfortable with who they really are and be that person. It doesn't work for an oak tree to try to be a bird, or a flower, or even another kind of tree! It is at its best when it is an oak tree through and through. (I know this sounds silly, but I think you understand what I'm saying)
I can't be someone else and someone else can't be me. You are best when you are who you were made to be. You have gifts to offer the world that only you can give. And just like the oak tree that delighted me this evening, when each of us is doing exactly what we were created to do, we delight, help, encourage those around us.
So, cheers! I hope you enjoy the evening wherever you are!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Skywatch

I am not sure where "Friday Skywatch" came from, but I have seen it on other blogs. I have to chuckle (no disrespect intended) because I watch the sky all the time! I love the sky and the ever changing landscape it provides.
Today, while I was on my walk, the sky was very unusual. I could see even texture like scratches or brush strokes across the clouds. This photo was taken with an iPhone and I am surprised at how well it came out, considering.
I hope everyone has a fabulous Friday and a great weekend! I'm not going to blog over the weekend; I've done a lot of writing this week, but who knows? ;)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mr. Kitty

Every once in a while, a little life comes across your path and, even though you can't explain it, you just click.
His name is Mr. Kitty, even though he's just a kitten and my daughter would rather name him "Fez". He was born here this spring and was supposed to have been adopted. He came back to us about 3 weeks ago because his owners were going on a trip. I was sure that my daughter would be the "kitty-sitter", so I had no problem with him being here for a few days.
What I wasn't counting on was how the kitten would deal with the temporary situation. He followed me everywhere. He jumped up on my lap while I was working at the computer; would look up at me, close his eyes and fall asleep on my lap! It didn't take long for me to lose my grip and he was able to adopt me with no resistance on my part.
When his owners came to pick him up, I was a little sad, but, "hey!", they're family and I can see him whenever I want to. So, off he went.
A few days later, I got a call. The kitty isn't working out in the neighborhood. Some lady was complaining that this little kitty was really disrupting the lives of her indoor cats, and the question was put to me, "Do you want the kitty back?"
Well, you guessed it. He's back and he is quite a little character. My son and I have been sitting in my bedroom for about 45 min laughing so hard because of Mr. Kitty's antics. He is so funny, and yet, he is so affectionate too.
I haven't "owned" a kitty for over 30 years. Wasn't interested in them, either. I never would have thought that I would connect with a kitty like I have with Mr. Kitty. But, this little one has stolen my heart - at least, the part made for kitties.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Changes In the Seasons of Life

"The leaves are changing color and beginning to fall..." I was stating the obvious to my daughter on the way to school this morning.
I am always pleasantly surprised when the seasons change; pleasantly because I enjoy the personality of each season, and surprised because the change always seems to happen sooner than I think it will and is over before I know it!
Most people like the change of the seasons, except where the winters are long and brutal, which I can truly understand! There is a predictable rhythm from Spring to Summer to Fall to Winter, so I guess one could say, that "the changing of the seasons never changes," and that somehow makes it change that we can live with.
But changes in life are not always as welcome. People like things to remain "the way they are", sometimes, even when "the way they are" is not ideal. The reason is fear of the unknown, i.e., Do I have what it takes to live with the change? And, if I don't think I do, then I want things to remain as they are, because right now, I'm managing very well, thank you.
So, we try to resist change. We campaign against it. We deny it and ignore it; but the fact is, change did or is or will happen and we won't grow or mature if we don't learn how to accept and adapt to it.
Some change happens to us - promotion or loss of a job, illness or the death of a loved one, policy changes at work, at church, or civic group, weather disasters, financial loss due to the stock market failure. These kinds of changes are outside of our ability to control. They happen and we have to deal with them.
Some change is our responsibility and choice - taking a course or continuing education classes so I can be on the cutting edge at my job or become eligible for a better job; taking the initiative to exercise and eat better so I can improve my health and sense of well being; becoming more organized for progress and profit in my fields of interest. We can choose to make these kinds of changes, yet, though they are for our personal good, we often elect to ignore them because we think its too difficult, too much work or too uncomfortable.
We can kick and scream, protest until we're blue in the face, but change will come. We can ignore the opportunities to change and remain stuck in our place in life and in our attitudes. Or, we can accept the fact that change in life is as inevitable as changes in the seasons and grab a warm coat and a cup of something hot so we can get through the change as best as we can.
(photos taken from my yard today)

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Seen at a local nursery this morning
So pretty!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What Lengths Will You Go To For Morning Coffee?

I was on auto pilot this morning. I grabbed the coffee pot and was headed to the sink for water when I saw THIS in my sink ! ! ! Believe me, it put me in high-gear right away! I had to take a picture because I knew no one would believe me if I told them how big this intruder was.
But, alas, no one was impressed or appreciated my battle to regain possession of my territory!
My daughter said, "Ooooh! Gross! I didn't need to know that! I know they live in the walls, and I can live with that..." (I'm not sure how she 'knows' that, but somehow she's ok with them in the walls; at least she can't see them there.)
Then she said, "My husband better be fearless, or I'll be calling you!"
(I laughed and said, "Then you'd better be nice to me." ;)
Oh well... its amazing what a woman, who is desperate for coffee, will do!
May your day be Spider-free :)
(Gee...I hope I don't lose any readers over this!)

Friday, August 14, 2009


One of the advantages of walking and taking photos is you can get 'up close and personal' with the subject. Blackberry season is just beginning and I was captivated by this blackberry vine. It was in all different stages at once! The blossoms, some having just opened, were present with the beginning stages of berries forming and...
...there were also berries in all stages of ripening. Maybe I'm in the dark about blackberries, but this was so fascinating to me.
After studying the vines and taking quite a few pictures, I just couldn't resist picking some of the first ripened berries. What a treat! WOW!
They were HUGE! They were bursting with juice and my taste buds fairly leaped at the exquisite flavor! If I tried to describe it, I would sound like a wine connoisseur - which I am not. But, needless to say, I decided this was a 'sweet spot' to practice taking pictures! :)