Posts Tagged With: backyard

Things are buzzing

It’s going to be an exceptional year for apples. All our trees are loaded down and a few apples are starting to fall to the ground. I see a lot of applesauce in my future.

The goldenrod is attracting many varieties of pollinators, from fat bumblebees to tiny glossy metallic critters that hover and dive like dragonflies. Even the yellow jackets aren’t aggressive while feeding. The whole patch is in a constant state of whir and buzz. Maybe they sense the days growing shorter, adding urgency to all they do.

I haven’t seen any Monarch caterpillars in the milkweed patch, though a few butterflies have visited it.

Despite the unseasonable heat this week, fall is coming fast. I’m starting to see the first color in the sumacs and in the swamp maples across the pond. My favorite season is almost here!

Categories: apples, flowers, insects | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A fine crop of frogs

We have an assortment of rain barrels outside and earlier in the summer, we were nightly serenaded by a Gray Tree Frog rattling away. It didn’t seem likely he’d manage to call in a mate, but unbeknownst to us we were hosting orgies and in a few weeks the barrels and every other container with a few inches of standing water was full of eggs and, soon, tadpoles.

They scrubbed the barrels clean of algae and as they transformed, wiped out the mosquito larvae that usually plague us.

And now they’re growing up and moving out on their own. Despite these pictures, the color of the barrels doesn’t seem to have any bearing on the frogs’ color. The ones in the dark barrels are developing faster, though.

Good luck, froglets!

Categories: the occasional herp | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Birdhouse in your soul

The new addition to my feeder collection was a gift from my friends — a birdhouse coated in seed. After it’s been stripped bare, I’ll mount it on a tree and see who takes up residence.


Notice I come from the ‘Leave the weeds standing’ school of lawn care.

Soundtrack by They Might Be Giants.

Categories: Bird photos, Feeder birds | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Poem #19

The sheetrock guy

gets no respect. But who else

conceals electrical mysteries

entombs the house’s circulation

tweaks skewed corners

into true.

Tape up the cracks,

skim a coat of serenity

so we can face the world

with untroubled surface

all that’s vulnerable

seamlessly covered over.



Categories: postcard poems, scenery | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Bleach-blond redhead

Anticipating the first chilly morning, I filled all my feeders last night. I’m glad I did. Among the usual suspects at breakfast buffet, I saw this eccentric fellow.

IMG_1488 IMG_1484

It’s a partially leucistic House Finch.

I’m always looking for leucistic birds, but this is the first time I’ve been able to get a photo. A few years ago an American Robin with ‘racing stripes’ – white feathers in its wings – visited the yard for a day, and I’ve seen mottled Robins on the Cornell campus. There’s a stunning white Red-tailed Hawk (frequently mistaken for a Snowy Owl) in the area, but it often hangs out on the I-90 bridge when I’m zipping past at 60. Maybe someday I’ll be fortuitously stuck in traffic!

Browse through Google images for leucistic birds and delight your eyes. Common birds, many of them, made stunning by a chance mutation. Of them all, my favorite is the calico red-winged blackbird seen by Nancy Nabak.

Categories: Bird photos, Feeder birds, Rara avis, What am dat bird? | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Poem #14

‘Supermoon II’


The pumpkin coach approaches 

over the crest of the hill


A rooster murmurs about dawn


We walked there, once

Can I find

the shadows of our footprints?


Coyotes howl and leap

for the golden ball forever out of reach


Categories: postcard poems, scenery | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Yard bird #110!

Wow, am I ever glad I went outside! While watching a male American Redstart atop the apple tree, I saw another bird winging in. At first I thought it was a Green Heron, but the wingbeats were too rapid, and as it neared I could see a distinctive tern-like bend in the wings. It flew right overhead, not much higher than the tops of the spruce trees — a dark bird, with — YES — white slashes on the wings! 

Common Nighthawk! I’ve been out every evening for over a week looking for them in migration. What a piece of luck — a few seconds before I’d been standing underneath the tree and would have missed it entirely.

I walked up the tower road to look for more Nighthawks. No luck with them, but I scored a serene sunset.

In case you’re curious about the view from the top of Kestrel Hill, here you go.



Categories: scenery, Species count, Yard first | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Poem #2

We are supposed to wait at least 30 days after mailing to share our poems. *sigh* It’s hard to wait!


‘storm coming’


The sodden stagnant air begins to move

leaves turning silver-side

a trace of cool against my neck

The blanket lifted, lofted, blown away

as we jolt and laugh

at the thunder-stroke


Categories: postcard poems, scenery, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

The usual suspects, part III

When I hear a Pileated Woodpecker drumming or calling, I look up. That’s not always the right direction — Pileateds are often found at the base of rotting trees, excavating the ant larvae they love so much. This handsome fellow was tossing chips about and ‘wuk-wuk-wuk’ing at top volume.

We’re so fortunate to have these spectacular birds regularly dine at the dead trees in our swamp. If you have a dead tree that’s not in a problematic location, let it stand! Who knows who will call it home?

Categories: bird behavior, Bird photos | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Wile E.

For all the nights loud with coyotes sounding their barbaric yawp, this is the first time I’ve seen one around here.


It was noshing at something in the grass — a mouse or vole nest, perhaps.

Categories: Mammals too | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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