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Archived Posts > Daily Nature Observations From Your Place 2018

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message 1: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
This thread is for you to post daily observations and comments about your landscape and region. A sentence, haiku, prose poem, a paragraph - share a daily snippet about your home place or region. It's fun, and a great way to share what you love- what interests you in nature with others. We'll get to know each other better too.


message 2: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) What a great idea!


message 3: by Andree (new)

Andree Sanborn (meeyauw) | 126 comments this could become unwieldy. how about nested folders? a folder for each day or week or month or something?


message 4: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
Andree wrote: "this could become unwieldy. how about nested folders? a folder for each day or week or month or something?"

Hi Andree:
Thanks for your suggestion. Let's see how it goes, because if the thread isn't used that much, it won't be a problem. In another group I moderate they have a similar thread that has run for 5 years, and people just jump in when they can and follow as they can.

I see this as an extemporaneous thread that flows along day by day, moment by moment- not so much a tracking device. If one checks it and participates, then that person will have a sense of other members' place and experience.

But-- having said all that --being an interdisciplinary humanities scholar- I have the curse- if you will-- of seeing things from multiple angles (teaching yourself I think you know what I mean), so I can definitely see the value of doing this a variety of ways--let's say --breaking the thread up by season for example. LOL


message 5: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Hauswirth | 44 comments Hi all. Sher, this idea is right up my alley! I regret not yet participating in the nature book groups but the demands of my job, freelance writing, and freelance book reviewing make it difficult, for now. But I so love nature and feel I can at least dip in and out of this.

I am perched at my writing desk here in CT and at the moment the feeders below are unattended. But earlier I took great pleasure in seeing the many juncos come for the seed, and the Downy Woodpecker going after the last of the suet cake. The yard is bright, snow reflecting the sun. Everywhere there are tracks--human, dog, rabbit, squirrel. They crisscross in random fashion.

I blogged about stuff in this vein yesterday, reflecting on the patience required while I waited to spot the birds, and on some "micro-observations" that , although quite brief, still meant so much: https://fpnaturalist.com/2017/12/31/t...


message 6: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
Andree-- On further reflection and also the fact the seasons are not the same world wide, and also looking at the "currently reading threads" and various other long running threads in others groups, I think we'll just let this thread run for a time and see how it goes. People can stop in as they like. I hope you are okay with just letting it run for some time and see how it evolves.

Katherine: Your response is one of the reasons I thought this thread would be fun- because we have a lot of members who are like you but seldom have the time to join in the book reads. Yet-- see something or have an observation they would enjoy sharing.

I appreciated your beginning with your birds. Images that I can imagine. Thanks.


message 7: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Hauswirth | 44 comments Thanks for the opportunity, Sher!


message 8: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
Oregon

If midnight blue had a personality, it would be a Stellar's Jay.


message 9: by Becky (new)

Becky Norman | 786 comments Mod
Ontario (Canada)

Katherine, your post reminded me of yesterday around here. We removed all of the soiled pine shavings from the horses' shelter but rather than throw them out at this time of year, we use them along their paths out to the pasture to provide some cushion and traction on the packed snow and ice.

The birds love this: mixed into the shavings are horse manure (which contains sunflower seeds since we feed them BOSS with their supplements), hay seeds and the occasional bit of beet pulp. We see chickadees, juncos, a variety of sparrows, cardinals, blue jays, and mourning doves spread out along the "trail" sorting through the buffet table!


message 10: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
A wonderful image Becky, and I did not know that you have horses. What a path lined buffet.


message 11: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 02, 2018 06:37PM) (new)

We have no pets, which means that wild animals feel safe and comfortable here. Out the kitchen window I've been seeing a buck. Sometimes feasting on the still-lingering huckleberries.


message 12: by Becky (new)

Becky Norman | 786 comments Mod
Sher wrote: "A wonderful image Becky, and I did not know that you have horses. What a path lined buffet."

Yes, a 17 hh Percheron (black) and a 15 hh Quarter Horse - both geldings and both over 15 years old. I usually don't regret not having a barn as they are much healthier (both physically and mentally) since we moved to our own place here 8 years ago and they've had to settle with a shelter and lots of tree cover...but with this deep freeze we're in, it's been a challenge lately - at least for the humans!


message 13: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Hauswirth | 44 comments Becky we get a similar mix of birds down here in CT. They've been a bit delayed this year but it is such a treat to watch them. I enjoy Project FeederWatch with Audubon every winter. Very interesting about the source of your seed! A manure buffet is a new one on me.


message 14: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
Oregon

My kitchen sink is positioned at the corner of the kitchen, and I have a row of windows on each side coming to the corner point allowing me an expansive view of our yard, the mile long road to the farm entrance, and the nineteenth century barn down below the farmhouse. Also, I see a huge, old elderberry shrub just feet away from the windows; I used to feed the birds in this shrub by slim tube feeders—until two years ago when this area had a terrible outbreak of house finch eye disease. A sad sight to see 2/3 of the house finch with crusty, swollen shut eyes busily feeding on sunflower seeds one above the other as the four seed tubes swung like a pendulum clock.

Now all my bird feeding is done with hanging platforms. This allows an array of birds to come: house finch, juncoes, spotted towhee, Steller’s and California Jay, pine siskin, and the occasional mourning dove. Swinging still but seed stays cleaner and the birds healthier- plus I can feed a wider range of birds.


message 15: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
shira wrote: "We have no pets, which means that wild animals feel safe and comfortable here. Out the kitchen window I've been seeing a buck. Sometimes feasting on the still-lingering huckleberries."

Shira:
Indeed not having pets can be a real blessing - as the animals that are out there live around you without that domestic predator threat. Wonderful to be able to observe without that added tension. Huckleberries? Idaho? Or Alaska?


message 16: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Hauswirth | 44 comments Good to know about the eye disease and platform feeders—thanks!!


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Sher wrote: "shira wrote: "We have no pets, which means that wild animals feel safe and comfortable here. Out the kitchen window I've been seeing a buck. Sometimes feasting on the still-lingering huckleberries...."

Dear Sher ~ Coastal Northern Califonia ~


message 18: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) A photo from the Great Blue heron colony a few blocks away from my home in Vancouver BC. I liked the lines the nests and branches made against the sky.

http://storyhearts-journey.tumblr.com...


message 19: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
shira wrote: "Sher wrote: "shira wrote: "We have no pets, which means that wild animals feel safe and comfortable here. Out the kitchen window I've been seeing a buck. Sometimes feasting on the still-lingering h..."


I see Shira-- I lived for many years in rainy SE Alaska, and we had huckleberries too. And, I guessed Idaho since my nephew picks them somewhere in ID each year and makes preserves.


message 20: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
Oregon

Farmyard -- 9 a.m.

Bone chilling -- this wet cold.

Waiting for an eleven week old puppy to piddle.

The engine of a great many wings pass overhead.

Jet black-speckled starlings.

(unlike so many areas in the country- we don't see starlings often and they are not a pest. their large numbers and ariel antics when they pass through is always a sight that stops me.)


message 21: by Andree (last edited Jan 05, 2018 12:29PM) (new)

Andree Sanborn (meeyauw) | 126 comments January 5, 2018:
Tractor won't start so husband can't plow: too cold even for block warmer. Can't get car thru 5 ft drifts. Had to miss school today. But I can bake my heart away.
Actual temp: -6°F
Wind chill: -27°F

description


message 22: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
Storyheart wrote: "A photo from the Great Blue heron colony a few blocks away from my home in Vancouver BC. I liked the lines the nests and branches made against the sky.

http://storyhearts-journey.tumblr.com......"


Story heart- I don't think I told you, but this image is HAUNTING . I keep seeing it in my mind's eye, and I didn't realize herons nest in groups like this. Is this commonly how it is done? Anyway- thank you for this image. Would make a fantastic card. I write letters - 3 - 5 a week, and I always use cards.


message 23: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
Andree wrote: "January 5, 2018:
Tractor won't start so husband can't plow: too cold even for block warmer. Can't get car thru 5 ft drifts. Had to miss school today. But I can bake my heart away.
Actual temp: -6°F..."


Andree:
This is a getting stuck situation if I ever heard one. I hope you have a wood stove for when and if power goes down. As I recall you are quite isolated... those are cold temperatures for sure. I can't read your weather insert, too small, but I think you are in Vermont....


message 24: by Andree (new)

Andree Sanborn (meeyauw) | 126 comments northeast vermont; wind chills and temps could break records tomorrow night. i realized after posting that that was too small to read. we have a wood furnace and we'll get thru this but this year will have to buy wood that isn't from our own woods and won't get thru till spring.

My son showed me a blurb, however from NYTimes that said windchill somewhere in NH could reach -100 tonite.


message 25: by Thomas (last edited Jan 05, 2018 06:06PM) (new)

Thomas Bancroft | 8 comments Three small energy balls with long tails flitted into my feeder in an instant. Each was half or less the size of the junco that had just left. Bushtits, the three became four, then six and finally seven. They hung sideways, upside down, crossways as they pecked at the cylinder of seeds inside the squirrel proof feeder that hangs outside my kitchen window. A junco tried to come back into the cage; it looked gigantic compared to these minute birds who kept jumping, twisting and turning as they pride seeds from the mass. Next thing I knew they were all gone in the blink of an eye. Seattle, WA


message 26: by Becky (new)

Becky Norman | 786 comments Mod
These are lovely! Thank you, everyone. It's not nearly as poetic as what you've shared, but I noticed this morning it's so cold the snow sounds like Styrofoam when you walk on it.

I'm beyond ready for our January thaw to start!


message 27: by Story (last edited Jan 06, 2018 07:52AM) (new)

Story (storyheart) Sher wrote: " I don't think I told you, but this image is HAUNTING . I keep seeing it in my mind's eye, and I didn't realize herons nest in groups like this. Is this commonly how it is done? Anyway- thank you for this image. Would make a fantastic card. I write letters - 3 - 5 a week, and I always use cards."

I'm so glad you liked the photo (and am impressed by the number of letters you write!)

The rookery is quite a stark sight at this time of year but in just a few weeks, the adults will return and start looking for mates. My understanding is that the great blue herons always nest in large rookeries but this one is unusual both in its size and in that it's right on the edge of a very densely populated neighbourhood of about 50,000 people living in just under a square mile. The noise the birds make is astounding and some friends who live in a highrise right next to it are driven mad by the 24/7 squawking and screeching.

Last spring and summer, there were 83 active nests and about 140 fledglings were raised...with many, many more babies eaten by bald eagles.

Right now, we have 2 adults sitting on the chimney of our building and I can see 3 more on the chimneys of surrounding buildings.


message 28: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) Thomas wrote: "Three small energy balls with long tails flitted into my feeder in an instant. Each was half or less the size of the junco that had just left. Bushtits, the three became four, then six and finally ..."

Lucky you! We haven't had our usual cloud of bushtit visitors at our feeder so far this year but I love watching them fly by.


message 29: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Hauswirth | 44 comments I am loving reading about the herons, the bushtits, the snow, etc (even waiting for the puppy to piddle—I can relate!). I got to work from home during the snow storm here in CT and took such great pleasure looking down from my writing perch at the feeders. Juncos dominating and always lovely to watch but I was especially taken with the mourning doves at the foot of the feeder. To me they look regal and the way they catch the light can be breathtaking—a pinkish shimmer. The birds always seem to get especially busy when it snows. Fueling up like we stock up at the market when the forecast predicts a snow day?


message 30: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Hauswirth | 44 comments Winter pleasure: spotting the many squirrel drays, birds’ nests, and hornets’ nests now that the leaves are down.


message 31: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
Thomas:
Wonderful! I can see the scene - right in the moment. :) I just realized these posts are so immediate they make me feel alive and happy.

We have never had bushtits visits our feeders.

Story heart: extraordinary about the herons. Tell your friends perhaps they can use the all the noise the birds make as a meditation object. :) We've had a sole GB Heron visit our big pond at the farm, and see them singly out hiking, but the roost phenomena is new. Thanks for explaining.

All these winter posts are appreciated.


message 32: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) I'm so enjoying these posts! Katherine, I share your pleasure in spotting those summer-hidden nests. Hornets nests especially are beautiful--at least when they're empty.


message 33: by Becky (new)

Becky Norman | 786 comments Mod
Katherine wrote: "I am loving reading about the herons, the bushtits, the snow, etc (even waiting for the puppy to piddle—I can relate!). I got to work from home during the snow storm here in CT and took such great ..."

Most definitely, Katherine! A couple of years ago we had another predicted deep freeze coming in (although it hadn't started yet) and I remember a large flock of various small bird species descend on our flower gardens at the front of the house. The gardens aren't large but you could tell the birds were hitting any possible food source they could find to stock up on calories before they moved onto the next bush. Even if I hadn't heard the weather forecast that day, just watching them, I knew something extreme was coming.


message 34: by Pam (new)

Pam Kennedy | 79 comments Northeastern Vermont is in a deep freeze! I have never seen the feeders so busy with chickadees, juncos, sparrows of some type, blue jays, and a dignified pair of ravens who stay near the one furthest from the crowd. Their brace forays make me less worried about my chickens who complain bitterly but will go out if I let them since it is -20 this morning I am keeping them in their coop for a bit. I have never seen red squirrels on our property but did have one around this last week. He doesn't really wipe out the birdseed and I know he needs sustenance too - but I hope he isn't taking up residence somewhere in the basement walls!


message 35: by Pam (new)

Pam Kennedy | 79 comments We face west from the eastern side of Willoughby Lake and the sun rising with pink glow on Jay Peak is a beautiful morning sight!


message 36: by Sher (last edited Jan 07, 2018 06:35AM) (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
Oregon Farm

8:30 a.m.

Another disrupted sleep.

Walking the silent frozen road to the barn.

The puppy’s check cord trailing along behind him, and the chatty chickens hallooing. Cowboy bucks, and runs, and stops to wait for me. The bellows of the donkeys make him freeze- his tail up —antics forgotten. Then we move on toward the place where the beasts await their hay.

(no sleep because of Cowboy the 12 week old puppy!)


message 37: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
Pam-- wouldn't the red squirrel normally be hibernating right now? Our gray and California ground squirrels disappear this time of year until spring. Oh the cold there!


message 38: by Pam (new)

Pam Kennedy | 79 comments Sher wrote: "Pam-- wouldn't the red squirrel normally be hibernating right now? Our gray and California ground squirrels disappear this time of year until spring. Oh the cold there!"
I haven't seen him for the last few days when our temps were -15 or worse. But he was out and about before that with temps between zero and 10 above! Hardy Vermont squirrel!


message 39: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Hauswirth | 44 comments I am still missing my walks SO much (plantar fasciitis) but this slowing down has been a great exercise in appreciating even the smallest of nature moments! I found myself stopping to admire the plump, iridescent pigeons during today's trip to Middletown, CT, and seeing the Downy Woodpecker at the suet when I got home did my heart good.


message 40: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
Hi Katherine:
I keep about 25 pigeons, so I had to smile when you mentioned your appreciation for ferals, which I agree are quite lovely in their iridescence.


message 41: by Sher (last edited Jan 09, 2018 02:44PM) (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
Oregon

Farm at night -- 1030 p.m.

Out walking the plowed and muddy fields with the two big dogs and the puppy. It's very foggy. And in the flashlight I can just make out the small bird dog twenty feet away. Then I hear a goose. Where is that coming from? We have six ponds on the farm, and one is large enough for waterfowl congregations. But, we've never had geese.

Then I hear them to the right, the left-- are they in the air, on the pond? I turn off the flashlight and stand still and listen. Suddenly I hear their wings beating and the geese muttering right above my head. Are they flying so low? Wonderful - the fog stirs with their wingbeats.

On a sombre note - these geese recall The Road the moment when the last geese in the world flew over, flying south, and there would be no where to land...


message 42: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Hauswirth | 44 comments Sher, something about the idea of feral pigeons amuses me! I have fond memories of taking our little son (now 16) to NYC and how taken he was with the pigeons above all else. Has anyone read Unseen City? The author writes really well about nature in the urban setting.


message 43: by Annis (new)

Annis Pratt | 33 comments Storyheart wrote: "Sher wrote: " I don't think I told you, but this image is HAUNTING . I keep seeing it in my mind's eye, and I didn't realize herons nest in groups like this. Is this commonly how it is done? Anyway..."
I had always thought of Great Blue Herons as dignified and solitary birds. Imagine my surprise when I came upon a large rookery and saw/heard the squabbles, screaming nestlings, raucous adolescents birds, etc!


message 44: by Annis (new)

Annis Pratt | 33 comments Keep observing: it makes climate scientists of us all!
For example, although I have done some saddening reading about Climate Change and even "The Death of Nature," I am very moved by evidences of adaption to climate change among the birds I observe. There was a Carolina Wren at my feeder one day this winter. That means (checked with my Audubon friends) that they are now wintering over. A couple of years ago, the Red-Bellied Woodpeckers arrived at our feeders from the south. Meanwhile, the Audubon Society notes that White-Breasted Nuthatches may soon move north of our lower Michigan territory. This means that global warming is causing species to change their territories rather than go extinct. In the present gloomy atmosphere I find this very hopeful. Will be posting some blogs on this at www.annispratt.com


message 45: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Hauswirth | 44 comments Interesting, Annis!


message 46: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) That is interesting Annis.

I saw two snowdrops today and heard some red-winged blackbirds. Spring is on its way to southern BC!


message 47: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
I've been in the city of Portland, Oregon for three days- mostly attending music workshops. But, when I walk from hotel to conference center-- all I see is pavement. puddles from rain, and occasional glints of sunlight.

The city seems bereft of nature! If you live in an urban area -- please share what you see!


message 48: by Story (last edited Jan 14, 2018 03:47PM) (new)

Story (storyheart) Sher wrote: "The city seems bereft of nature! If you live in an urban area -- please share what you see! "

Well, I can't speak for Portland but the city I live in (pop. 2.5 million) is certainly not bereft of nature. In any given day, we see raccoons, skunks, seals, beavers and over 230 species of birds both large and small ranging from the Anna's Hummingbirds who come to our apartment window feeder year round to barred owls on our building's roof.

Favourite visitors are the Northern Flickers who come to our suet feeder each morning. More rarely, the city gets visits from coyote, deer and black bear as well as orca, dolphins and sea lions, sea otter and very rarely, grey whales.

Today, on our walk through the park we saw this river otter catch and eat a carp, with a Great Blue Heron looking on avidly waiting for scraps.
http://storyhearts-journey.tumblr.com...

What I have noticed lacking in the city is not nature itself but people's understanding of what they're seeing. About 30 people stopped to watch the otter eat and the majority thought it was either a seal or a beaver and several called the heron a stork.


message 49: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 1083 comments Mod
Story heart- I am glad I asked this question. It's impressive all you have seen in the city. I do recall reading an extensive article = I think it was in Sierra Magazine about coyotes in cities. How they are there in numbers, but most residents don't realize this because they have figured out how to stay hidden and survive.

I know a man who delivers pizza all night in Portland, and he stays up all night and says he sees coyotes regularly when no one else is around.

I enjoy your photographs too.

Sher


message 50: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) Thank you Sher!


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