Friday, January 26, 2018

Cedar Waxwing Invasion

This makes three weeks in a row that I have posted about birds. I will get back to other topics, however the invasion of cedar waxwings I witnessed this morning was something I just had to share right away. I have previously had small flocks of around 25 or less land on my bald cypress by my pond and stream. Sometimes they will drop down and get a drink as you saw in my last post.

Today's flock outdid anything I have seen before. The flock on the tree at any
one time was around 80 - 100 birds. The photo above is just a portion of the flock. Click to enlarge it and see how many you can count. Let me know in the comments below. The cedar waxwings dropped into the stream in shifts of up to about 25 at any one time to get a drink. This went on for several minutes. Fewer clouds would have been nice so I could have used more depth of field and a quicker shutter speed. I did get better images than I expected though, while I was shooting.
Cedar waxwings are one of the bird species that have a good chance of being
seen during the Dalworthington Gardens' Great Backyard Bird Count event on Saturday, February 17 in Gardens Park. If you are in the area, grab your binoculars, camera and/or iOS or Android device with a bird identification app such as Merlin and join us in the community room at 10 am for a presentation before we break into small groups to count birds. After birding, come back to the community room to swap stories of what birds you sighted and make some origami birds to take home with you.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Frozen Morning - Birds Flock to Open Water

The official thermometer at the airport read 11 degrees Fahrenheit for this morning's low. Closer to home, Arlington registered 6 degrees. These are not wind chill temps but actual air temperatures. At these temperatures many still bodies of water that birds would make there way to for a drink would have been frozen over like the pond portion of my water feature as seen in the photo of the mourning dove walking across the ice. The waterfall and stream flowed fast enough to stay open and became a mecca for birds looking for a drink. I saw some year round bird species as well as some of the visitors that
come through this time of year. The photos were all taken this morning and captured many of the species that stopped for some water. Click on the images to enlarge them. With the Great Backyard Bird Count just one month away, get to know these bird species because you are likely to find some or all of them if you join the DWG Backyard Bird Count event on February 17, 2018.

Male and female House finch and Cedar waxwing

Yellow-rumped warblers with ice in the background

Male Bluebird (Do you see his reflection in the waterfall?)

Goldfinch and Chipping sparrow

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2018 Great Backyard Bird Count Event in DWG

I have participated as an individual contributor to the Great Backyard Bird Count for several years now and promoted it on this blog. This year I am pleased to also be able to promote a GBBC event that my city of DWG will be hosting. Our Park Board agreed that an event like this would be a good fit in a city whose tag line on its website is "A Rural Oasis in the Heart of the Metro-plex". Our Gardens Park has walking trails, a fair number of trees and a small lake. The photo above was taken during a GBBC about 10 years ago and it contains four bird species likely to be found this year.

The Dalworthington Gardens GBBC event will start at 10 am on Saturday, February 17 in the community room next to the fire bays. For approximately the first hour, we will meet inside to talk about bird identification, what the goal of the worldwide GBBC is and how to participate. We will then break into groups with a guide to do some bird counting in the park. Depending on the weather, we will regroup to sip some water or hot chocolate in the community room while we share what birds the different groups found. If you are in the area, I hope you can join us for this fun citizen scientist opportunity. Suggested items to bring; clipboard with paper and pencil, binoculars, mobile device loaded with the Merlin bird app, camera, walking shoes and inquisitive nature.

Your participation in the Great Backyard Bird Count is not limited to this event. The GBBC runs for four days and you can count birds on your own as well as in groups and report your sightings to provide data for scientists to use in their research. You can also submit photos you take to their annual photo contest. Check out some winners from last year's photo contest.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Catching Up and Starting Out

I came here to put up my first blog post for 2018 and I was surprised to see that between family being in town for the holidays, finishing up the last few days of my pop-up shop, hosting Christmas dinner and then freeze proofing everything just before New Year's Day, I missed posting so let me catch up a bit and bring this blog into the New Year.

First, a belated Merry Christmas. I hope you got to spend some time with family and friends.

Much of the country was bitter cold for New Year's Eve. I hope you and yours managed to
stay warm and safely ring in the New Year. The New Year's graphic color was inspired by 2018's Pantone Color of the Year, Ultra Violet. (Science types, please note the name of the purple is two words and not the word for the part of the electromagnetic spectrum just past what humans' eyes can see as I mistakenly thought when I skimmed an article about this year's color of the year.) Perhaps I need to add more purple to my shops. I have some nice amethyst in various bead sizes, shapes and slices.

While I was writing this, I heard that lovely cha-ching sound, the notification from my Etsy app that I just had a sale. Woo hoo! That is my first one of 2018 so I am starting out the New Year in a good way. I hope your New Year has started out on a positive note for you and may positivity flow through your entire year.