Just after the remaining bits of snow finally melted from the lawn we got a couple inches of fresh powder last weekend. At first I was discouraged by this, but soon realized that the new snow provides better footing on the icy hiking trails. So I’m cool with the white stuff for now. (But it had better not stick around too long or my fresh perspective will fade…)
Things are really picking up in the birding world right now and I’ve got a backlog of pictures to show you. I’ve been spending lots of time outdoors getting exercise in the fresh air, soaking up a bit of sunshine (when it’s available, that is), and taking bird pics. I feel a bit overwhelmed with everything, but in a good way. In the past week I’ve seen my first Northern Saw-whet Owl (which I showed you in my last post), a Bald Eagle on her nest, our first Northern Flicker of the year at our feeders, and a close-up view of a Turkey Vulture.
Many people think vultures are ugly birds, but I can see a certain dignity and utilitarian beauty in their bare red faces. It’s not often I get close enough to see them like this, but yesterday I was driving along a rural road and spotted two of them right beside the road. They were being mobbed by a couple of crows, so I quickly handed my camera to Eric and turned the car sideways in the road to give him the best angle for a quick shot. He snapped a few frames before the birds flew up and soared in a big wide circle over us, trying to evade the pestering crows. They must have been arguing over who would get first dibs on a carcass in the nearby field.
And as if that wasn’t cool enough, we also were tipped off to the semi-secret location of this Bald Eagle nest just a few miles from our house.
You can just see the white top of the female’s head in the nest. It’s going to be amazing to watch the progress of this nest over the next couple of months. I’m told there will be motion detectors set up to monitor the traffic near this location, to make sure the eagles aren’t disturbed enough to abandon the nest.
The next thrilling sighting came right here at home. We don’t get Northern Flickers at our feeders very often, but this gorgeous male gave me quite a show. After grabbing a bite to eat, he perched nicely right outside the dining room window. Flickers have very interesting markings, but the real show comes when you see them fly; the golden underwings are beautiful, even in this shot with part of the bird behind the tree.
Flickers are members of the woodpecker family, and are the only ones in North America that feed on the ground. I’ve got some other very interesting woodpecker photos and stories to tell you, but will save them for my next post.
Finally for now I wanted to share these amazing word clouds that I made at Tagxedo.com. It lets you enter your blog URL (or any URL) and it instantly makes a word cloud using the most common words it finds. You can choose various shapes and colors for your word cloud, and even tell it to ignore certain words and rescramble them until you get just the look you want. I had tons of fun playing on the site when I discovered it several weeks ago. I like these so much I might even get them printed on t-shirts.
I think these give a pretty good representation of the content of my blog. Notice the larger words: nature, healing, sensitive, birds, trees, share, reading. I also noticed that the word “look” made it into the large font size. At first I wondered about that, but it makes sense when I think about it. This blog is all about looking at the wonders of nature all around us. I think of these word clouds as a sort of confirmation that my blog really IS about what I want it to be about. And that makes me happy.