Sunday, March 29, 2020

Spring Song

Do you have a special thing that tells you spring is really here? I do, and the pretty white-throated sparrow above is it. It's not so much seeing one, because they are around my region in winter, it's the song they sing in spring.  Click to enlarge.

Birdwatchers remember the song with a phrase that mimics its cadence and syllable count: Po-or Sam Peabody Peabody Peabody...   Po-or Sam Peabody Peabody Peabody...

The song is a loud, clear, attention-getting whistle that stands out among the other sounds of spring. I listen for it every year. One night this week I slept with a bedroom window open for the first time in a long while. I woke up to a sunny day and a white-throated sparrow singing nearby. Click on this sentence to hear the sparrow sing.  Yay, it's spring!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

A Special Robin Appears

I took a socially distanced walk yesterday. Saw lots of robins on lawns. This one is our standard robin model for today's blog.
Good looking, right? Then the one below came along...
It has white feathers all over its head and a white patch on its back. Not your standard robin. It's leucistic; it has a genetic condition that causes pigment processing failure in some of its feathers. Note that it's not an albino, which would be colorless with pink eyes. Click to enlarge.
It's a good look, right? I see a couple of pale splotches down near the tail. I hope this bird hangs around for the season. I'd like to see if it has spotted chicks.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Flatten the Curve

Here's a short list of things I keep seeing on TV that we can do to keep safe from and help slow the spread of coronavirus. First, remember to wash your hands. Click to enlarge.
Don't touch your face. This guy has an advantage with that.
Keep your distance.
Avoid crowds.
Stay home if you don't feel well.
And check on elderly neighbors and family members to see that they have food and supplies and are feeling ok.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

More Daylight

I am thinking back to yesterday, before we set the clocks forward, and appreciating the lengthening days. At the Winter Solstice in December the sun was setting in my neighborhood at 4:39. Yesterday it set at 6:00. Today it  will set at 7:01. That's progress! Above is a picture of March sunlight casting shadows of a fence and empty cabanas on the beach at Cape May, New Jersey. Click to enlarge.
I'm a big fan of daylight. Looking forward to the 8:33 sunsets of June.
And tomorrow's full moon will be the last one of winter. They call the March full moon the worm moon, for the earthworms that are starting to stir in the soil. Robins are celebrating on the grass around here already.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Just Crocuses

Just crocus flowers today.
Click to enlarge.

And this quote from David Steindl-Rast."A single crocus blossom ought to be enough to convince our heart that springtime, no matter how predictable, is somehow a gift, gratuitous, gratis, a grace."

Sunday, February 23, 2020

This Time of Year

I took a walk this morning. The thermometer said 28F. The sun felt warm. These Lenten roses peeking out from under dry leaves say we are balanced between the seasons. 
There's ice on the creek, but it's supposed to be above 50 degrees this afternoon. The ice will disappear as the day unfolds. Click to enlarge.
Cherry blossoms are ready to pop.
I found one precocious forsythia blossom on a bush of otherwise tightly closed buds.
This is really coming along. I think it's a Cornelian cherry dogwood.
It's still cold out there, but things are happening. Everything's on course for spring.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Year of the Rat

Lots of unusual urban wildlife was on display last weekend in New York City for the Lunar New Year celebrations in Manhattan's Chinatown. 
There were lions.
And dragons.
But mainly there were rats! 
Lots of rats.
Rats everywhere.
These stuffed golden rats with lucky red money envelopes won my best-rats-of-the-day award. Click to enlarge.
More golden rats on sticks.
The rat is the first in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac. I hear it got to be first by riding an ox to the contest and jumping off just at the last minute and rushing over the finish line. That put the ox in second place, so 2021 will be the Year of the Ox and we'll be seeing lots of them this time next year.