Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cedar Waxwings, Part II

In the neighbor's holly tree:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cedar Waxwings

We've been hearing big flocks of these guys for days now, and seeing them from afar. But this morning a big crowd decided to visit our pond.
You may have to click on the picture above to see the lovely yellow and red markings. Apparently the red bits are wax, giving these birds their names.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What's Blooming in the Yard?

So many things, all at once. In this shot: bleeding hearts in the left foreground; columbine and a few remaining bluebells in the right foreground; wild blue phlox, more columbine, and golden groundsel around the big oak tree; stonecrop sedum around the pond; and further back where you can't really see in this picture, wild geraniums, shooting star, creeping phlox, star chickweed, dwarf iris, and probably things I am forgetting. Happy Spring!

geranium maculatum with newly hatched swallowtail butterfly

shooting star - dodecatheon meadia

Friday, April 24, 2009


Another frequent sight in our yard is woodpeckers...sapsuckers, downies, flickers, once or twice a piliated. But the most common are red-bellied. We think they are nesting in our neighbor's silver maple.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Earth Sunday

A few pictures from Earth Day (observed) Sunday at All Souls...

"In my vision, I saw wheels on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each living creature. Their rims were tall and awesome...When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved beside them...Wherever the spirit would go the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels..." Ezekiel 1:15-21

"May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back."

With Gordon Kent on ukulele and Jodi Hammer's hilarious lyrics, even a song about recycling can receive a standing ovation.

For the Earth forever turning
For the skies, for every sea
For our lives, for all we cherish,
Sing we our joyful song of peace

For the world we raise our voices,
For the home that gives us birth;
In our song of joy returning
Home to the blue-green hills of earth

Photo credit: Clark Weaver took some of these pictures.

More Signs of Spring

The morels seem a little slow this year, by multiple accounts. We've found about 7 so far. But I have faith that they will come.

After giving up the hunt for any more mushrooms, we walked down to the Pinehurst Branch. It took us a while of hanging out listening to the frogs along the creek before we found them, or should I say, before they came back out despite our presence. And then a while longer before we found this spot where several couples were mating and there were tubes and tubes of eggs. Which, come to think of it, means they were probably toads and not frogs (frogs lay their eggs in clumps). It looks like bufo americanus, in fact -- an American toad.

Animal Diversity Web has this amazing fact: "The females lay their eggs in the water, in long spiral tubes of jelly. They lay 4000 to 8000 eggs in two rows. When each row of eggs is stretched it generally measures between between six and twenty meters long (20 to 66 ft.)."

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Spring Ephemerals

Every spring a wonderland of tiny woodland flowers emerge before the trees leaf out, to take advantage of the sunlight. In a couple of weeks the flowers will be gone. By summer most of the foliage will die back to the ground, having stored up enough energy in this little window to hunker down and wait for next year. It is a delight to see them every year -- and their names are delightful too.

Twinleaf - Jeffersonia diphylla

Trout lily - Erythronium americanum

Squirrel corn - Dicentra canadensis

Early saxifrage - Saxifraga virginiensis

Hepatica - Hepatica nobilis

Bloodroot - Sanguinaria canadensis