Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sitting on the Back Porch

My favorite place in the world, my back porch, is officially open for the season.

It is in the afternoon shade. The breeze is usually perfect. There are 18 feeders and two birdbaths within view. At this momment Handsome, my favorite Red-bellied Woodpecker, is on the walnut tree. And, since I've gone wireless, I can sit here and and blog. It is a good day!

I wish I could show you a photo, but I still can't download anything. My computer guy, Kaelon, can't visit until Tuesday evening so I won't be posting any new photos for awhile. Bummer. It is spring and there are things to share. The Dutchman's Breeches, Trillium and Wood Poppies are blooming. The Serviceberry Trees are at their peak!

Reading so many blogs about the New River Birding and Nature Festival has me VERY excited about meeting everyone. I'm looking forward to meeting fellow bloggers even more than seeing the birds. I'm sure we will enjoy a tremedous, birding adventure!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Week Televison

Have you noticed a lot of television programs scheduled to celebrate Earth Week? It is exciting to see the environmental focus. I'm not sure when Earth Day became Earth Week, but I'm not complaining.

I do plan to watch Frontline on PBS tomorrow night. The show is Poisioned Waters and explores the human impact on our water supply, especially from industry, urban sprawl and agriculture. It sounds enlightening.

I want to take a moment to share that I won't be sharing any photos for awhile. A mischievous spirit has taken control of my computer - again. I can access old photo files, but when I try to download new photos it says, "program not found." #*^&!!!

I've had enough! I'm going to buy a new computer, the Photoshop software, and pay someone to get my files off the old computer and on to the new! Wish me luck.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

This morning I went for a walk before anyone else in the neighborhood was awake. The still softness held the fragrance of yesterday's mowed lawns. Bird song was the only sound. The freshness of the day was as a dreamer imagines an ideal April morning. It was perfect.

I was still in my backyard when I heard a Northern Flicker somewhere in my neighbor’s trees. By the time I reached the hillside hayfield behind our property, I found him pounding away in a maple tree. Immediately, I heard my favorite bird, Handsome, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, pounding on a tree stump at the back of our yard. It was exciting to see both birds at the same time.

As I switched my binoculars from one bird to the other, Handsome flew off the stump and headed straight for the flicker. He landed on a branch about eight feet away from the larger bird. OH! What is going on here?!

The flicker continued his work while the red-bellied started talking, screaming, complaining as much as possible. Handsome did not appreciate being ignored. He flew 15 feet to my neighbor's roof, strutted to the metal rain gutter and began to pound. The echo vibrated through the entire valley! Gosh! It was loud! I worried my neighbor was going to step out to see what was going on only to find me spying on his house through binoculars!

Handsome achieved his objective, but his plan backfired. The flicker was more than mad! He was an angry, ticked-off woodpecker! He flew to the roof, chased my Handsome away, and began to pound the gutter even more loudly! I was grateful the pounding went on for only a few moments. Satisfied that the annoying red-bellied disappeared, the flicker returned to his tree. I returned to my hike and contemplated the territorial dance between two species of woodpeckers.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

April Birds and Snowflakes

Look who visited the feeders! This male Orchard Oriole is a new bird for Allhaven! He blessed us with a short visit Sunday, March 29. I took this horrible photo through a window to save a memory of the special occasion. In the original photo the tiny speck of a bird was barely visible, so I practiced cropping to make the bird as large as possible. It visited twice that afternoon, a few minutes at a time, before moving on.

To see a better photo of an Orchard Oriole visit the Cornel Lab of Ornithology website.

I was excited and lucky to see this bird. I wasn't even supposed to be home. I canceled plans to attend a Global Warming Conference so that I could enjoy a restful Sunday. I am grateful for my decision!

Do you find yourself torn between travel and staying home? I find this a challenging dilemma. I love to travel, attend workshops and meetings, see and learn new things while meeting new friends, but I hate to miss the visiting birds, to see who is blooming in the garden and to witness the trees change colors throughout the seasons.

I will be giving up a spring weekend at Allhaven soon to attend the West Virginia New River Birding and Nature Festival. I'm sure this will be an AMAZING weekend! I will only be there Thursday night through Sunday, but I am thrilled to be able to attend for even part of the week. I decided I could NOT miss this opportunity a few weeks ago. I made reservations, completed the paper work to take a personal day that Friday and even printed my MapQuest directions. New birds and new friends - I HAVE to be there!

But, before the weekend away, there is a lot to be done. I am using every minute of the less than perfect weather to use spring break vacation to spring clean my house. There is A LOT of spring cleaning! Most of my time has been spent in the kitchen scrubbing and prepping walls for new blue paint. I will finally open a paint can later today.

Other than being super busy with the cleaning, it has been quiet. Nice. Snow has greeted us each of the last two mornings. It seems wrong to wake to a blanket of snow on flowers and buds during spring break. We are lucky that most of the buds are very tight. I think we will still have Magnolia, Lilac and, most importantly, Serviceberry blooms.

The garden is calling, screaming for attention. I must finish this painting project before the days turn perfect for working outdoors.