Archive for November, 2008

Foggy Days and Damp Discoveries

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

The light has been really interesting lately. We’ve had lots of dense fog during the night and mornings, with the sun eventually breaking through sometime early afternoon.

Yesterday I took this photo just as the fog was beginning to take over the brief three hours of sunlight we’ve been having in the afternoons. It makes for some interesting ambiance.

I’m enjoying whatever sunlight we get right now, because very soon the rainy season will come to us with great vigor and the sun will be a longed-for presence.

It’s been awhile since I provided a photo of how this year’s fawns are doing. This is another set of fawns who’ve been hoping for handouts. As you can see, the reddish summer coat has been replaced by a dense, fuzzy brown/gray coat that sheds rain nicely. These two were nosing around the dead leaves under the birdfeeder, hoping for stray black sunflower seeds.

Since it has rained not long ago, and since the fog keeps the wild flora fairly damp these days, there has been a profusion of mosses, lichens, and mushrooms. It seems like there is a forest of them in just a 6-inch square. I took this macro photo of these funny shaped cones, reaching up vertically. It’s amazing to think how much life exists in just such a small space – like a world within the larger one.

Time Out

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

I had a chance to travel to see part of my family for the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US. There are various stories about how the first Thanksgiving began when the Pilgrims arrived in this new world and didn’t have a clue about the native foods and how to survive well. Regardless of the real facts, it’s a great time to celebrate family – to gather together over “the groaning board,” as my grandmother used to call the table laden with good food – and laugh, reminisce, share, and love.

This side of my family traditionally gathers together an autumn arrangement for the centerpiece on the Thanksgiving table. It began with my aunt showing her children that even though the fall plant life outside looks mostly drab and dead, there are treasures still to be found.

This year’s
centerpiece contained thin branches from a tree that contained fat infant buds of next year’s new growth; graceful dried leaves; then there were beautiful seed pods of a shrub and what we call weeds. There was even a yellow rose – one of the last ones found in the garden.

But most of all, we just enjoyed and loved each other and are so glad to be alive. I hope you are too.

Preening Can Be Hard Work

Monday, November 24th, 2008

…especially if you get a piece of down fluff stuck on your foot!

I always enjoy watching my birds preen – it’s really relaxing for me. But this bit of fluff was tenacious!


Thursday, November 20th, 2008

I’ve had some photo download problems for the last 3 days, so I apologize for not posting recently. Now I’m back in business.

A couple days ago, we had a good hard rain. The next day we had intermittent sun, and this rainbow was HUGE! It spanned one end of the valley to the other.

By the time I snapped this photo, half of it had disappeared.

It was wonderful!

Good Night, Chipperoo!

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

For many years, Chipper the cockatiel has often wished me good night when I cover him up for bedtime. For awhile, he stopped. Now, he’s started again to wish me (or rather, himself) a goodnight when I cover him up for the night.

Here is a short clip from a much longer one that you may enjoy. There is nothing to see. I recorded it after I had covered him up. The other bird you hear in the background is Pippin, the lovebird, next to his cage. Listen closely and you will also hear Pippin say “Chipper-Choo!” As you can see, Chipper has many names: Chipper, Chipperoo, Little Roo, and…Chipper-Choo. They are all part of his favorite phrases.

And may you all sleep well in your various time zones. Good night!

My Sunday Walk

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

My walk began in dissipating fog and ended in heavy fog. But in between the sun tried valiantly to overcome the misty layer below it in my small valley.

The fog made everything extremely quiet and muted, with spiderwebs showing up that normally I wouldn’t have seen.

If you look closely, you can see some spiderwebs on the branches in the foreground of this photo.

During a break in the fog, I came across this scene of deer sharing grazing rights with the wild turkeys – all of which are getting quite large and rather pretty (if you don’t look at their scrawny necks and ostrich-like feet). I do hope they keep themselves scarce in the next couple of weeks!

Since I had brought my macro lens with me today, I took lots and lots of photos of many different kinds of mushrooms, fungi, moss, and lichens. There were tons of these very small, delicate, fairy-like mushrooms in certain areas of the walks. Here is one shot you may enjoy.

An Oak is Born

Friday, November 14th, 2008

On my walk this morning, I nearly stepped on this sprouting acorn. It had rolled onto the path – or perhaps a Scrub Jay had dropped it, realizing it had sprouted and he decided it wasn’t tasty enough to carry any further.

You can see the tiny tap root splitting its way out of the acorn shell.

I brought it home and placed it in a pot outside. I’m surprised that it would sprout in the late fall like this. I hope it will continue its sprouting in the spring, now that it’s safely shielded from hungry grazers and aerial stealers. Stay tuned…

Amazing Sky

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

On my way home from work this evening, I was treated to an amazing sunset.

The clarity of the air and the interesting cloud formations made for an exceptional show!

As I made my way home – it takes 15-20 minutes – I kept having to stop on the side of the road to take more photos with my cell phone’s camera.

I was so excited and amazed by the beauty!

They’ve Taken Over!

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Yes, it’s happened. Living with these four birds has done something to me. To provide more freedom and opportunities to explore, I tend to adapt my surroundings to what I think a birdie point of view might enjoy.

For instance, my chair-side table. Normally you put a lamp on it and place a book you’re reading next to it, right?

Well, I’ve taken it a step further and incorporated a birdie playpen. There is a box of foot toys and colorful bird baubles. The jar on the right is filled with wrapped Harrison’s pellets waiting for placement in Sam’s cage for his foraging activities. (I keep a container of pellets nearby and wrap them in unbleached paper as I watch a DVD or listen to music.) The cockatiels especially love this playpen.

The little “tree” is a foraging branch from Birdsafe Store. It’s been drilled with several holes into which one can place dry food or pellets for the birds to find – approximating (as much as we can make it) a bird’s foraging activity in the wild.

So, you see, these little guys have performed their magic on me and created a very convenient companion who might as well sprout feathers herself! Ah well….

Blackberry Leaves

Monday, November 10th, 2008

There are some brilliantly colored blackberry leaves outside right now.

I brought one home and took some photos with backlighting by the sun. With a macro lens, I was able to see amazing and intricate veining. It is possible to see where the colors fade from green to yellow to red.

I find this “macro” view to be so thrilling. It is fascinating to see how life as we tend to see it – a concrete whole – is also made up of so many finely-engineered tiny units that the eye doesn’t see in a cursory glance. That’s why I like to paint details. They speak of something smaller and greater than the whole.

Perhaps you have made some fun discoveries of your own lately. I’d love to hear about them!