Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sights and Sounds


A sad sight. Directly across the road from the entrance into my neighborhood, six acres of a refuge for wildlife has been flattened, quickly. Oh how we need another strip mall! I understand that growth has its advantages but I regret that I’ll never see a Loggerhead Shrike there again.


I’d rather believe the trash flew from a refuse vehicle than to blame it on people who don’t care about the landscape. Won’t be long before this parcel of land is flattened just like the photo above, located on the other side of this former country road.

To live on the countryside or in foothills of the mountains sounds divine to me right now. At our age, I wonder if there are assisted living residences tucked away in scenic, natural surroundings. HA! Probably not ;-) My tiny 1/3 acre habitat needs more work. More native plants, flowers, and more bird feeders!

I can recognize birds by sound this year and how they change with the seasons.


Aaaaaack! Belted Kingfishers have reflexes that might drive me to drink. It’s unusual to see her before I hear her mechanical voice. I dream of a nice portrait…

When I listen to my backyard birds, I know who is waiting in the wings.


The feeder King has relaxed. I enjoy the Mockingbird’s voice - a beautiful range of melodies. Still demands to be fed and tends to drive most birds away from his feeder cups, but not as vehemently as before. There is only one other bird who defies him and wins,


I admire this chatty little bird. They make me smile.


Cedar Waxwings have been landing before sunset a few times a week, only for a brief visit and a drink on the pond. I don’t recognize their sound yet.


Red, grumpy-looking old men are loud lately,


and their nags are grumpy, too.


Speaking of grumpy… There was a bird fight low inside the evergreens. A Starling squabble pales in comparison to what I saw. When ten of the terrorists emerged from their battle and perched in a nearby tree to compose themselves, I reacted swiftly by raising Bella’s hula hoop, crashing it against the fence, and sending them on their way. And I growled. I don’t regret it, either.


I’m glad for the sweet-natured.


My scissor-billed White Breasted Nuthatch loves the Zick dough and when it’s gone, he relies on the nuts. He’s a constant visitor and is doing well. A female visited only once…


The Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers always excite me and they know it! I hear his cronk for a while before he arrives. He doesn’t like my hair. It’s too bright, even when I think I’m camouflaged behind the wax myrtle. There’s a dark green hat on my shopping list.

I’m seeing some hints of spring.





It’s only February. The weather changes overnight. There could be ice.
I'm already thinking of hummingbirds…
I'm so glad to end this post. I need some caffeine now. Maybe it's the season, but I just bored myself to tears. Heck, I couldn't even think of a decent title for this post. If you're still here, pour yourself a diet Coke or a cup of coffee. I understand...


nina at Nature Remains. said...

Oh Mary--
I'd have had enough stimulation with that first shot of the leveled lot!

YOU see it as a tragedy because of the value you see in the other photos.

It's those who haven't YET seen those beauties that see no loss in bulldozing a natural area.
The showing and sharing of what you find naturally beautiful with as many as can see is important to its preservation.
Ya done good... There's a world of unseeing out there.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Bored to tears?! No WAY! When I finished reading this post I felt like I'd just had a conversation, walking aound the yard, with a good friend- you dear May!

I share your grief about the bulldozing of the wild area. The rate of development sacres me here too.

I'll build an assisted living residence up at Hasty Brook! Bird-loving bloggers only! We could all line our walkers up to the windows and yack about the birds.

Mel said...

Sad pics the first two, I know how you feel, I've seen that too many times (that's one of the reasons I'm joining a Wildlife Brigade and trying to learn and teach about nature, flora and fauna)
May your 'revenge/rebelion' be the creation of an amazing habitat, a sanctuary for your regular and new visitors. Cheer up, Mary! if THEY do wrong WE'll do right! :)
Hugs from Peru,

thailandchani said...

Not bored at all. Just a few moments of peace. :)

Ruth said...

I saw your pictures on Flickr earlier and have been waiting to read the story that went with them. Definitely not boring. When we were out yesterday, I saw an assisted care facility literally in the middle of town, just the river in front. I told my husband that is where I would choose to go if i had to ;-)
I love the red-bellied woodpecker. One was seen here this week and I have to find it too. They are not common here like the Downy and Hairy woodpeckers are.

Carol Michel said...

Too soon to be thinking about assisted living facilities, in the country or in the city, but it is sad to see more development and more trash overtake our countrysides. I wasn't bored by your post, you have the best bird pictures I know of. Although, more sheep pics would be nice, too. Try to get them to trust you, Mary, like the birds do, so we can see their faces.

Unknown said...

Bored? Never
Love seeing the birds but your scissored billed nuthatch takes the cake for me.
I feel for you about the land being grazed down. The same thing is happening here just down the corner from me. Only they want to put in a tire burning plant.argh
Well I'll save my fight for local ears not here.

Anonymous said...

I, too, am seeing open land around us being developed, and I know some of of what's in near view is also in the developers' sights. So I really do feel your pain.

It's also why I built a backyard habitat in Virginia and am working on one in Michigan. Never underestimate the value of taking a stand, setting an example, and doing what's right in your sphere of influence.

And keep blogging - your pictures are great (the mocking bird is my favorite) and you are an ambassador for nature, and for the birds.

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

Boring?! Ha! I came here to escape boredom and found something interesting. Sorry about the land. It's happened so much around here that I'm surprised when I don't see another Dunkin' Donuts on a corner lot.

Love all your birdie pix and the great captions!

Anonymous said...

Amazing photos and glad that the bird songs are coming much easier to you! Bravo with your spring arriving and you are probably a month ahead of us (or more) with your birds and signs of spring! Great to know there is hope on its way!

Anonymous said...

So sad to hear about the bulldozing..the same thing happened near me about 6 months ago.

Your bird pics are great! I'm about 95% sure I saw a tufted titmouse today but after I jumped the ottoman to get to the digital camera and got back of course he was gone.


beckie said...

Mary, I second, third and fourth the reviews! Your blog is never boring. I don't suppose anyone informed the area residents that the land was going to be leveled. There should at least be an impact study done with input from the community allowed! Talk to city or county officials and voice your displeasure!

Naturegirl said...

Mary each and every birdie photo was a delight to see!
Your opening photo is disturbing to see...I just hate urban development..enough already..leave the woodlands be!!
Mary should you find an assisted living home in the foothills..count me in I'm there with you!How FUN that would be!
Oh how wonderful your pond looks!
Great photos! hugs NG xo

Peggy said...

Hi Mary! I've had your site bookmarked for a while and have been reading regularly--I love coming here! And this time your bird photos just took my breath away.

I'm so sorry about the wildlife refuge. How sad.


Susan Gets Native said...

To Hell with all bulldozers.

But hooray for all your birds. Make big plans for the birds still have somewhere to go.

Anonymous said...

Living in a farm-community-turned-artsy-community-turning-strip-mall-community I understand exactly how you feel. We have our 12 acres, but around us the barns fall to ruin, the families sell because they must, and another supermarket, car dealership or strip mall will arise as if from a type of fertile ground that could not sustain a corn field or a dozen cows.
But ahh.. the birds do keep you sane and hopeful! We had a snow storm this weekend which kept us at our window taking shots of birds at our deck feeder. Stop over and take a look!

BirdingMom said...

P.S. No, I was not at all bored!

Nora said...

Hi!! I gave your blog an award today, check out my blog and pick up your Academy Award! Cheers

Unknown said...

What lovely bird shots! It must require patience and a good zoom lens, so I'll leave the birds in your capable hands.

I too understand the importance of development, but what is upsetting is that development is usually flat, taking up as much land as possible.

Jayne said...

Mary, your posts are never, ever boring, trust me! :c) I am impressed that you can hear so many of your visitors before you see them. A honed skill! All your photos are lovely, and leave me smiling. Hugs!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Mary, I feel your pain in regard to the strip mall coming in. Our little sub was on the edge of town. It is now just about surrounded by mall strips and restaurants. A sad thing.

Your winter/spring thoughts are not boring. Just a sign of the season.

It is good to have a goal...good picture of a Kingfisher.

Peg Silloway said...

Mary, you make me laugh! I love your good-natured and oh-so-real occasional grumpiness. Seeing habitat razed for another pile of concrete and exhaust fumes should make everyone grumpy! Despite your qualms, I find your photos absolutely entrancing. And you are NEVER boring. I always feel as if I've just had coffee with a friend when I read your blog.

And yes, I'll be posting soon - thanks for the nudge.

Cheryl said...

Hi Mary,
Great and I must have walked together in a past life. I was driving along one of our lanes today and thinking why is a fridge parked beside a 200 year old bridge with a lovely stream. Yes someones dumped it.
Why has a 400 year old farmhouse with beautiful grounds been pulled down and 100 houses put there. I like you hate to see the changes.

People like us who care about nature, I beleive, make a difference and the more we can convince people to look after wildlife the better.
I have been campaigning for over 30 years now for wildlife and belong to several charities. I know it all helps.
Your birds are fabulous BUT you are naughty with those starlings!!!

Bored Mary, you are never ever boring.

Heidi said...

well, i wasn't bored! I love cardinals... sooo pretty... I wish we had them here... although I discovered our finches and juncos got a lot prettier after the rainstorm we had. Too bad they're not fond of me and no matter how long i sit still, they won't come back to the area for their closeup from Ms. Demille ;)

BTW... i discovered that you won an award here!

I was just blogsurfing and recognized your name. Congrats!

Alan Pulley said...


Wonderful photos - as usual. I feel for ya concerning the House Sparrows. They can be hard to deal with...

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mare,
Your pictures of habitat destruction made me so's all around me too. Keep developing your backyard habitat--I've found at my place that "if you build it, they will come!" I don't have as many cardinals as you do, but I'm up to about 7 pairs now....8 years ago, I was happy to see one pair, so it's working.
P.S. your pictures aren't boring! Never stop appreciating and noticing the everyday birds, for they are the reason you fill those feeders each day and they make it easier to notice when new & unique birds stop by to visit your backyard.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
My husband and I were dicussing a non-growth economy last night at supper. At the rate we are consuming natural resources they will be depleted. It will happen.
I am so sorry you have to witness the destruction of habitat. I live in an area that was developed 50 years ago. At that time people thought old growth trees were beautiful and added value to their property, so many were left as houses went in. I wonder as I drive about and see all the strip malls, "who shops in strip malls?"
I love all your bird photos, but I must say my favorite picture is the dandy with her bee.
I almost fell over with joy! I have not see a bee for so long. Dear sweet bee. I think dandelions are lovely little flowers, the flower of the poet. Good for you for encouraging and growing native plants!
Spring has come to you, the birds and the bees. Soon butterflies will grace your gardens.
The hummers will be back too.
Birds, bees and blooms are never boring. You, my dear, are a delight. I am watching for Waxwings. Beautiful birds.

KGMom said...

Oh Lord, not another strip mall. I fret and fume at all the destruction of little bits of land--6 acres here and there.
When will we wake up? Did anyone think of the birds who made that 76 acres their home? Or the bunnies, mice, or whatever other little critters?
Seriously, we have to figure out a way to say--enough with the inane "development" (I use the word advisedly).
Makes me furious.

NatureWoman said...

I LOVE your posts Mary and I'm not bored at all! Signs of spring coming are wonderful, and I love all of your photos!

Cathy said...

Years ago I watched the same bull-dozing at the end of our street. It really tears your heart out.

Chances are you won't hear those waxwings. Their sound is very very high-pitched.

Put me on that waiting list of Lynne's. She may have a really good idea there! What a pleasant thought . . . birding right through the sunset years in the company of other fanatics :0)

Donna said...

Not bored at all Mary. Your photos are fabulous. It's too bad about all that bulldozing going on, that's the price we pay for progress, right?
Love those signs of spring, I'm SO ready for it!

Susan said...

I'd been thinking about your nuthatch with the crazy beak - glad he's still around!

Mary said...

Hi All,

You might not be bored, but I could barely finish this post...put my head next to the keyboard a few times and closed my eyes. What a struggle. Don't ya'll have days like that???

I love Lynne's idea on assisted living - "Bird-loving bloggers only! We could all line our walkers up to the windows and yack about the birds." Let your imaginations run wild. Heaven on earth. LOL!

LauraHinNJ said...

The cardinals are singing here too Mary. Not grumpy tho, they have love on their mind!

Do you know the name of that mossy stuff? It's very pretty, whatever it is!

dmmgmfm said...

I feel your pain about the development, Mary. Even though our area isn't developing like that, Billings sure is. I go every other weekend and sometime during the two weeks, they tore up an area where I used to play with my cousins as a child. It about broke my heart.


Kerri Farley said...

Mary Mary are NEVER boring!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE your posts! I am VERY sorry about the development going on near you! Too bad that area couldn't be saved. There is a lot going on around here too....although still lots of "country" left...still maybe not enough!

I would LOVE to see a kingfisher in person! And I'm so glad you share your shots of him with us!!

Keep those wonderful posts coming!!

dguzman said...

Oh Mary, I'm never bored by your posts or your pics. The only sign of spring I've seen at the Marsh House so far is the daffodils have sprouted. Still no RW blackbirds or frogs or anything, though others are already seeing them around central PA. Come on, spring! I'm so bored and wintered out that I can hardly stand much more. I've already ordered my garden seeds, in the hopes that I can start planting a few things around St. Patrick's day.

PJ said...

Oh you hit the nail on the head...about the flattening land..I drive by many areas like that to work. I tried to find your email address to respond to your comment on my blog, but couldn't see it in the profile (understandable) and since the blogger is coming in my email as 'noreply-'comment I can't see it there. Mine is ljpj4 at yahoo dot com I'd love to respond :)
The birds are absolutely AWESOME so many different types- I love them all. I agree with everyone else..bored? How could we be? I'd be pouring a D. Coke to see MORE!!!!

Annie in Austin said...

Mary, a visit to your blog is an event - you said one reason you blog is because you like to make us laugh and make us cry - you're succeeding with me! You make me laugh, you make me cry and by opening a blog window on whatever happens in your world, you make us all think.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Kathie Brown said...

Mary, I just gasped when I saw those first pictures. Though I've never been there it just makes me want to cry. You and I have had this converstaion already. All those poor birds! And instead of a natural view, now you get to see buildings and asphalt! UGH! By the way, cedar waxwings don't exactly sing. The sound they make is more like a buzzing or whirring. I was amazed the first time I heard it. I, too, am trying to learn the bird voices here in AZ. So far I can identify about 10 to 12 species by voice. I have a long way to go for sure!

Alyssa said...

Hi Mary - I think we've had just about enough of growth and "developing". (A strange word for tearing down and ruining things!) We could go for many years without anymore of it and things would be fine! People never learn!!! Enough of my ranting. You took some excellent pictures and they make me yearn for Spring. We had more snow last night and cold temps are predicted. I do need another Diet Coke!

sonia a. mascaro said...

Wonderful photos as always, Mary!
A visit to your blog is a pleasure to me!

Have a nice day!

Dorothy said...

I am going to leave the 43rd post to your blog today and tell you that YOUR BLOG IS NEVER BORING!!!!!!
The land being "developed" is a sin..I can imagine how sick this must make you feel.
Your pictures show Spring, though, and that is heartening.
Love the little bee photo!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Mary, I always enjoy your posts. You are so real and genuine and it shines through.

I wish we did a better job at protecting wildlife preserves.
I do think that the needs of people should come before animals, but not for more strip malls and such unnecessary foolish things.

Larry said...

It is terribly discouraging to see a nice natural area flattened out like that. I have a hard time getting close shots of Belted kingfishers. They always seem to rattle away as soon as I pick up the camera.-That scissor-billed nuthatch is freaky to look at but interesting.-Glad its doing well.-That's a great array of nature photos at the end.-

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is such a wonderful blog!!! I've recently started feeding birds in my backyard, and I have had so much fun watching the different types.

Right now, the Starlings are causing trouble. Ughhh...things were so peaceful before they arrived!

I love the photos. What type of camera are you using?

Mary said...

Hi Maddie! Welcome! I'm using a Kodak EasyShare Z612. It's quite automatic and easy to use. Nice to hear from you :o)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mary!

I did a google search for "starling and trouble" or something like that, and your site popped up! lol

I've always loved watching birds, and finally decided to start feeding them properly. I visited our local Wild Birds Unlimited more than any other business. :)

This has been a real treat for me to find your place.

The first thing I do every morning is to look outside and see what's going on in my backyard. I have a little Carolina Wren who's always waiting patiently for his worms.

In order to get rid of the starlings, I filled my feeders with a feed (can't remember the name, but it's white) that was recommended at WBU and the starlings do not like it. They look at me like..."What's up with this? Where's the regular buffet?" lol

Mary said...

Maddie! LOL! Those starlings are very challenging, along with Common Grackles. I offered Safflower (the white seed) for a few months last Spring and they developed a taste for it. It's more expensive than the black oil sunflower so I stopped buying it.

I'm glad you enjoy the birds. It's a hobby you can enjoy at your leisure, all day long, in your own home. Carolina Wrens are sweet. I had one try to nest in my garage lately. They like to be close to a house.

Enjoy the birds and feel free to visit and comment anytime!


Mary said...

Maddie - you can get to my current page by visiting:

Anonymous said...

Thanks. :)