White wildflower holding its head up after a heavy rain and after the peak of its blooming.
Anyone who has a hummingbird feeder is familiar with the rigidly enforced pecking order of the birds who feed, or try to feed, there. This morning it was somewhat was amusing (OK, satisfying) to see the boss bird being chased and herded away from the sweet nectar by a red wasp and another tiny black flying insect.
On a sad note, there was a recent changing of the guard at our feeder following the death of Napoleon (We found a little hummingbird body back in July that we believe to be his.)
It seems red-heads or “gingers” get a lot of grief. I suppose it’s because they stand out, as does this little cedar tree.
We never tire of the skyline out here in the woods. Here’s what we saw this evening:
Rain has returned to the Ouachitas, and even the trees look happier and plumper for the moisture that’s soaking into the soil. Arkansas is far from being out of danger, with rainfall for most of the state is running 12 to 16 inches below normal. However, the rain has given the state’s firefighters a much-needed break from wildfires and the rest of us a much-needed break from 100-degree temperatures.
The rain was too late to stop this tree from shutting down and losing its crown. Compare the shot below to one from an earlier post on July 1.
Sometimes, beauty is skin deep. Our under-the-porch friend left a present for us — a long, robust snake skin in two parts. The final few inches that included the head scales was still stuck in the entrance to his lair. Decided not to stick my hand in to retrieve it.
Cardinals have been a family favorite bird. In the northeastern U.S., they brighten up a winter landscape like no other.
This morning, our local cardinal and his mate were whooshing through the small pines at the back of the house. Himself decided to take a commanding spot in a leafless tree.
Grabbed the camera between fixing Sunday morning espresso and popovers and fired away through the kitchen window.
In unloading the shots to the laptop, noticed something alarming about the bird — he appears to have a hump of some sort on his right shoulder. At first it appeared that he was just balling up, as birds do, against the cold. But on closer examination, the hump is very distinct and stands out no matter how he carries himself. Fortunately, the growth doesn’t appear to impair his ability to fly or do other cardinal things.
On a somewhat lighter note, in going through the Peterson Field Guide to Birds, there was an interesting fellow included in the pages for “Cardinals, Buntings, and Allies,” called Pyrrhuloxia. What he looks like is a cardinal that’s gone through a bleach bath. It reminded me of a photo that colleague Donna shot back in the spring of 2010. Too grayish to be a female cardinal. What she did shoot appears to be this Pyrrhuloxia — quite a bit east of its normal range which appears to be SW Texas, New Mexico and Mexico, with the occasional wandering as far north as the Texas Panhandle.
Check out her photo.
The nano-climate of the deck holds all sorts of life. Its grout and cement have provided a foothold for a tenacious strip of moss, which today radiated a springlike green in the wintry backlight.
For our 300th post, here’s a look at one of our favorite things: the sky.
Plenty of yellow in the landscape. Not pictured are the yellow mums that are hanging on in the shallow soil of the sad northside garden. The deeper soil that holds a small garden in the middle of what used to be a bermudagrass lawn has brought forth two seasons of floral and insect delight.