a ‘new’ Jersey Girl   living life in the Highlands of New Jersey

Friday, February 12, 2016

Pileated Woodpecker Visitation

Yesterday afternoon I was graced with a visit from Mr./Mrs. Pileated Woodpecker! If you look closely in the photo above you can see a newly pecked big wood chip on its chest right by the claw. Its been hanging around this tree for about a week now but my camera battery always turned out to be dead. (My camera is eating battery life these days. Lack of use?)

I had noticed this tree which stands at the back of the grass yard and the beginning of the woods part of the yard some time ago and wondered at its bark loss. It stands out like a sore thumb. I had even gone down to look at it a few weeks back, thinking in my head that it was the work of a bear. But on closer inspeciton I didn't see any claw marks. It looked like it had been chiseled. A few days later I saw the pileated pecking away at it and it became clear that it was doing the damage. Here is a photo so you can see how much of tree is without bark.

This time I had my camera battery waiting and fully charged. I made my way slowly and carefully down the yard in my house slippers, tip-toeing in the snow and below freezing temperatures closer and closer to it until I dared not get any closer. The result is this set of photos. I am thinking that it was worth the discomfort of frozen body parts.

It would sit there cocking its head back and forth, intently listening to whatever bug it could hear moving inside the tree. The attack of the big beak is brutal and deliberate —and loud. What it must feel like inside the bird's head is beyond me! 

I like this last pic because you can see the wind blowing its crest.

A truly magnificent bird, and one that I will miss when we move. We are so lucky to have them in the neighborhood, and even better in my yard!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Morning Visitor & Winter Updates


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When I opened our upstairs bedroom curtains this morning this was the first thing I saw. Our resident broad-winged hawk all puffed up in the 7 degree weather, and obviously hoping to score a meal. He sat there for at least a half an hour without moving. As far as I know he was not successful in his hunt for food. Beautiful bird.

We did have two days last week that got into the 40’s and some melting went on in the yard. The snow depth went down quite a bit but we still have about 8 inches of solid white stuff firmly holding ground. What is out there is impossible to walk on (the dogs can just walk on top of it without falling through) and is glacier hard. I can only remember one year since we’ve lived here that we had so much snow cover. And, that was basically from one big storm, whereas this has been non-stop every week since the end of January. 

This week we have plunged back into the “polar vortex” (which to me sounds very much like a sci-fi film) and have not gotten above freezing. In fact, Tonight it’s supposed to go below zero. 

During our short meltdown, we had some lovely black ice on the driveway. We went out one morning to get in the truck and Bella was jumping around like her normal self and took a good fall on her shoulder. She’s still gimping around a little bit. I could barely stand! Nasty nasty stuff.

They tell us that more snow is on the way. Oh joy. Really? They were saying 3-6 inches over Sunday and Monday this morning, but now I see they have upped it to 4-8 inches. Just what we need — more snow! As it is we’ve had little squalls of snow come through every day this week or flurries flying around willy-nilly in the air. It didn’t amount to much, just a coating, but still.

In other news, we’ve been “feathering our new nest” and outfitting the T@B a bit. We got these great stackable pots and pans that I will show you soon. Very cool. They all fit together in one neat package (handle is separate). Other things include a few necessary kitchen utensils and supplies. We need to be careful because we don’t have much room for storage.

I saw on our T@B owners’ group the other day that someone has just ordered their new T@B and named it “Downton T@BBY”. How cute is that? It seems everyone has a name for their T@B. Now I don’t feel so silly that we name our vehicles. We’ll fit right in! Question is, what to name it? I hope to get the new blog up and running soon and it will mostly be things we have purchased while waiting for ours to arrive. Maybe it will help other new owners with what to buy (or not) as the case may be. 

I finished my sister’s cowl and shipped it off to her today, and I love mine so much I am making myself another one in gray.  I am (as predicted) still making my way through Kristen Lavransdatter. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dear Deer Visits

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A few days ago I stood at my front window and watched this herd of deer come down the hill next to my neighbors’ house. They were have a rather rough go of it through the deep snow. I feel sorry for the poor things, there isn’t much out there for them to eat with all this deep snow cover. They reached the road and just stood around scoping out the territory.

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They decided to come through the woodsy part of our front yard, but one small one got curious about the food on the ground that I scatter for the birds and squirrels. He/she approached cautiously.

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He/she finally decided it was safe and started eating. I know some people hate for the deer to come around because they eat down the bushes and trees, but I don’t mind at all. They can eat whatever they like. Lip-smackin’ good!

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Such sweet eyes!

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Pretty soon it took off to join the rest of the family.

Yesterday morning I looked up from computer and saw this scene out the window.

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Only four deer this time and only the one came over to eat. The other three seemed content to roam our front yard.

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She stayed and ate and ate. She must have been out there for at least fifteen minutes. A short while later I was sitting once again at the computer and caught movement out of the corner of my eye. Imagine my surprise (and delight) to see that the turkeys had joined her! Now, that was a sight to see. 

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They were not completely comfortable with each other and every time the deer raised her head the turkeys jumped back a couple of feet, but I guess in this brutally cold and snowy winter it’s share and share alike! 

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Monday, February 03, 2014

Shoot the Messenger and Bird Rescue

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The messenger being that pesky rodent-y woodchuck, Punxsutawney Phil, who yesterday predicted six more weeks of winter. He was right! It’s snowing and has been since before the sun came up. I would guess we have about 5 or 6 inches so far. More snow is predicted for Wednesday morning, which is of course the very day Rick needs to drive down to Maryland. To top that off they have been hinting at a really BIG storm coming on Sunday. Phooey on Phil! Afraid of his own shadow! Go back in your hole and chuck some wood before someone takes a pot shot at you! (Just kidding —I wouldn’t really harm him. I think they are cute.) Just sayin’ …

Yesterday as I was sitting in the sunroom with my cup of morning coffee I was startled by a loud THWACK! on the sliding glass door. I knew what it was before I even looked, but I was hoping that the bird had just been able to fly away. Not this time. I looked over to see a decent-sized gray bird doing a sick kind of dance with its head down and its butt in the air with all its tail feathers spread out. I rushed to get my gloves and went outside to try and save him. I did not know what it was since it was not a bird that frequents our feeders. It had a large black crown on its head and beautiful rusty-colored underparts. I held it gently in my gloved hands, trying to keep him warm while he got over the shock. He was not looking good, I have to admit.

It’s amazing to me that the birds that I have saved (and tried to save) let me pick them up and don’t really seem to mind being held by a giant. I held it for a while but I was getting cold since I was still in my robe and slippers so I asked Rick to get me a towel. I put the towel on our outside table and every so gently put the towel over and around the bird. I went back inside to eat breakfast. When I came out I lifted the towel to see him still in there after 20 minutes. I went to pick him up and he took off trying to fly without a lot of success. I was bending over a little to catch him when he landed on my back. Yup. On my back on my nice warm cozy robe. There he sat. Has this ever happened to you? 

Rick was watching from the door and I expected him to come and help but he just stood there like he was enjoying the show. Meanwhile, I am bent over with a bird on my back in my robe and slippers on the outside deck. Finally he opened the door and asked if I wanted him to take a picture because I kept gesturing at him. NO! I said — I want you to get this bird off my back! So he did and the bird kind of flew off and was last seen clinging to the side of the house. I went back out in about 15 minutes expecting to find him lying on the ground below the spot where he was clinging, but much to my surprise (and relief) he was nowhere to be seen. I am hoping he recovered enough and flew off. 

My bird turned out to be a Gray Catbird which I had never actually seen before. A few years back we had one that was nesting in our hedge under the window that we heard every morning, but we never actually saw one. They are very pretty birds.

Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Oh, and all those people who flew in just for the Super Bowl? I think their flights might have been cancelled today. I’m sure they aren’t very happy, especially if the Broncos were their team. They came all this way to watch the Broncs make donkeys out of themselves. 

I’m on a roll. Just try and shut me up!

 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like ... Winter!

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 (Sing to the tune of “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas”)

and yes, I made up the lyrics

 

It s beginning to

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This pretty much sums up our weather lately. On Saturday/Saturday night we got about 8 inches of snow, the last inch or so of that was a nice layer of ice from the freezing rain. Right now as I type it’s snowing again outside! I wish the snow would stick around (no pun intended) until Christmas but we are supposed to be warming up to temperatures in the 50’s with rain, so it might all wash away in a big pile of slush. Boohoo. Hopefully some of it will remain. At least it looks Christmas-y outside right now. 

These scenes are from Green Turtle Pond that I took yesterday on my little walk. The shadows were so blue.

 

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While snowplowing the drive with Johnny Saturday, Rick went over the edge of the driveway by mistake and got stuck in the snow. We had to get the Surburban and hook up a tow rope to Johnny. Rick got on Johnny and I got in the truck and slowly backed up. It worked! Fun and games in the winter weather, and it isn’t even officially winter yet by the calendar.

Like I said, today it is snowing and I am being lazy around the wood stove. Remember just the other day I was remarking how we never see the turkeys anymore? Well, lo and behold, when I looked out the front window a little while ago, there they were! Twelve of them! I was so happy to see them!

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I was thinking I could revise my little made-up lyrics yet again. Bear with me and maybe I can make you smile today. Here we go …

Firstline

Secondline

Thirdline

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Fourthline

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Lastline

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Okay, maybe I’m being a little bit silly today. Did I get you to sing along?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About

Welcome, I'm Lynne. My blog captures my experiences of living in the way-out suburbs of New Jersey through my words and through my photography. I hope that reading my blog will change your perception of my newly adopted state.

© 2006-2013 'new' Jersey Girl All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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