Sunday, February 24, 2019

Rabbits in Clover

I found a folder of photos I'd labeled "June" and put aside. One was the image above of neighborhood rabbits in a patch of clover. It started me thinking about how close we are to the end of winter (23 days to the vernal equinox) and seeing scenes like this again.      Click to enlarge.
Here's a quote from Watership Down by Richard Adams with advice for rabbits: 

"All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed."

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Synchronized Pintails

Northern pintail ducks, Anas acuta, breed in summer in Northern Eurasia, Alaska, and across Canada. They fly south to spend the winter along the east and west coasts of North America and across the southern half of the United States and into South America. Some pintails, like these two males, show up in winter at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in southern New Jersey. Click to enlarge.
Long-necked, long-tailed, brown-headed, beautiful pintail ducks.
They are dabbling ducks that feed by dipping their heads under the water, dabbling, rather than diving.
Sometimes they seem as coordinated in their movements as an Olympic synchronized swim team!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Lions! Pigs!

There were unusual urban wildlife sightings in Philadelphia today during a traditional Chinese celebration of lunar new year. It's the Year of the Pig!
There were lots of lions.

And lots of pigs.
Click to enlarge.
The lions stopped at stores and restaurants and danced to accompaniment of drums, cymbals, and firecrackers.
Here's a little one coming out of a store. 
Apparently lions can be attracted with lettuce.
You can dangle from a ladder.
Or do it like this.
Got one!
There were other unusual things out there today, too.
And so many firecrackers that the sidewalks were smoking.
It was a great celebration and a good time was had by all. Happy Year of the Pig!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Witch Hazel

I was outside today in the relative warmth of this February thaw. I found witch hazel blooming here near Philadelphia! Yay!
Witch hazel is a shrub. Its stem-hugging clusters of flowers give welcome color to the gray winter landscape. Click to enlarge.
Each flower has four long slender petals that look to me like crumpled ribbons.
Strange and lovely, no?
They come in shades of yellow, too. Reassuring to see that nature is on track. Witch hazel in February. Daffodils before you know it.