Been a while since we posted. We had a couple rounds of heavy winter weather and being trapped away from home for days at a time. Nice to be back home. Between bouts of wintry mix, the birds came out and did what birds do.

Weekly Photo Challenge: One

This week’s challenge is “one.” So, we have two pictures of “ones.” A solitary Eastern bluebird stands watch on a branch. Below a single ladybird beetle finds its way across concrete.

Other “ones” we liked:

12-11 BlueBird2-crop




Finally! A decent bird shot! Was out shooting a work project when I heard this guy singing something that wasn’t the blues.

BRIGHTLY SINGING -- Bluebird sat singing in a tree in the parking lot at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.


The great weight of ornithological ignorance

In keeping with our lazy naturalist philosophy, we couldn’t ever really be called serious bird watchers. We don’t keep a log, but do have the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America handy, to see just who it is flitting about in the trees. (And a friend of our Minnesota uncle and aunt who is a serious authority on birds.)

QUIET MOMENT -- Phoebe rests for a minute.

Today, we discovered how little we really know about ornithology as we struggled to figure out some of these birds. Below are terrible pictures taken today. (one of these days will have to take out the “real” cameras with the real fast glass to shoot.)

Seen yesterday or  today, but not captured in pixels: Eastern bluebird, tufted titmouse, Carolina wren, Eastern towhee, a Carolina or black-capped chickadee, dark-eyed junco and a big red-tailed hawk.

What was captured was a cardinal, and we think, a western wood peewee, downy woodpecker, an eastern phoebe, a hermit thrush and a lone female bufflehead.

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MYSTERY NEST -- About 30 feet up in a deciduous tree. We're not sure what this is.

Ornithology edition-UPDATE

The snow has hit and is falling fast. Friend and colleague Donna took  this shot of a hawk sheltering against the snow just outside her window.  Just amazing!

Red-tailed hawk in pine tree
Red-tailed hawk takes refuge from the snow storm in a pine tree.

This morning:

With a snow storm on the way, the local bird population seemed more active and visible than usual. Dozens of dark eyed Juncos came speed-grazing through the yard, from east to west, almost as if they were stocking up. Meanwhile, eastern bluebirds, wrens and crows were flitting through the bare winter branches.

two hungry birds
Two of a flock of dozens of birds peck their way through the winter landscape.
Wrens fluff their feathers against arctic air.
Wrens fluff their feathers against arctic air.
bluebird pair in trees
Male and female bluebirds -- hard to spot amid the gray tangle of branches.
Goldfinch looks for remaining grass seeds.


Bufflehead cruises its winter home
A lone bufflehead cruises the pond that has been his winter home over the last few years.




Another winter birds scene, 1,700 miles west — this purple finch was enjoying a pomegranate on a cloudy December day in San Diego.

Purple finch
Purple finch enjoys a feast of juicy pomegranates left on the tree.