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!
They only happen under the most particular of circumstances: freezing temperatures (but not enough to freeze the water surface itself), wind-whipped waves, and cattails of course. From the first time I saw them form on Green Turtle Pond I have been intrigued and inspired. They cluster against the dam, frozen in a moment of time all unto themselves. Let's look a bit closer, shall we?
The Three Musketeers
The Elf's Hat
They never cease to delight. They are always in a state of flux, taking whatever form nature shapes them in. Each of them unique and beautiful.
I know—a strange mix of subjects on this Friday morning.
Finally, my necklace that we bought in Cartagena! It's turquoise and a stone similar to lapis lazuli. The ornament is a replica of a pre-Colombian nose ring worn by the native people. It is removable so I could wear the nose piece with another necklace if I wanted to. The gold beads intermixed with the stones are also indicative of what the natives would have made and worn. We saw examples of these nose rings in the gold museum first, then when walking around the town we saw this in a gallery window. Without our trip to the museum I would never have known what it was.
Funny, I am not a huge fan of turquoise having been around it so much in the west, but this particular piece has extraordinary color. I am used to the more faded-out turquoise. I tried several ways of photographing it but went with flash since it showed the true color. Here's a close-up of the ornament.
What do you think? My feelings won't be hurt if you don't like it. But I LOVE it!!
Our local paper came in the mail yesterday, and on the front cover was something very sad. Do you remember these photos of the wing-walker at the air show last year? On Saturday while performing at an air show in Dayton, Ohio, she and her pilot both died when their plane crashed doing a stunt. So sad. There is a video here of the crash and you can see that thankfully they probably never knew what happened. The video is pretty graphic, so be forewarned. Our local air show in August won't be the same without her daredevil act.
On a happier note, the paper also contained a surprise for me. If you remember, I told you that the paper published my photo of the cicada two weeks ago. I read the front page stories and the paper about halfway through when it first came and then put the paper aside. When Rick came home I was thumbing through it again and came across another photo of mine that I had submitted of the cicada in the pool. Take a look! Not only did I get my name as a credit on the photo, but they named me again underneath! I was thrilled and very much surprised. Maybe they just needed fillers! But still …
I'm glad to report that I am feeling much better all of a sudden. I did go to the doctor the other day and my "vague symptoms" were inconclusive. I do think that she figured out my cough problem: post nasal drip. Since I've been shooting steroidal Nasonex up my nose for two days now, I am coughing a lot less. She said it might all have been related to allergies. Who knew? Either way, I am feeling more energetic and more like myself.
We finally got a good old-fashioned thunderstorm last night. The only bad part was that it messed up our plans to skinny-dip for the first time this year as the pool was up to 82 lovely degrees. Maybe tonight …
So with that mishmash of topics I think I've said enough for today!
Forsythia as a background.
And cherry trees (what else?) as a background.
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Posted by Lynne on 04/26/2013 at 05:01 AM
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I love it when artists set up their easels on the grounds of Skylands …
Monday was a beautiful day!
A little chilly, but sunny. I headed out to Skylands to check on the progress of CrabApple Lane. No crabapple blossoms yet—the buds were tightly closed.
And I'm sorry I lied to you when I said the cherry tree photos had come to an end. I guess I should have said the photos of Branch Brook Park had come to an end, because Skylands was just beginning.
I'm so sorry …
I love walking around Skylands. It's peaceful, the birds are singing, and you never know just what you are going to see.
Sometimes I go for the exercise; sometimes just for taking photos.
Either way, it's always enjoyable.
Is it any wonder I keep going back again and again?
Linking to Madge's Rurality Blog Hop
Posted by Lynne on 04/24/2013 at 05:43 AM
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