If I’m watching the birds during a couple months in the spring I notice a huge variety of bird species that I never knew visited my area, or at least don’t visit often. Among them this spring are:
Well, with the foxes gone AWOL, I’m looking for new things to write about. In the meantime, here are some of the first flowers of spring in my area.
A pair of these guys used to have a nest in a yard a few blocks from mine, but they haven’t used for the last two years, as far as I can tell. On a similar note, I haven’t seen the foxes for a few days and I’m worried the mother might have moved her kits to another den. Why is anyone’s guess.
It surprised me that more people don’t know about these kits, until I realized that most of the times I see them are after dark. Even if they come above ground in the day, they’re not nearly as active. But now they’re starting to get spunky and Mom has a bit of a job keeping them in line….
More on the foxes…
The next day the dead possum was gone – I assume they ate it later but why they would let it get soggy first beats me.
So yup, a whole litter of red foxes right in my alleyway! It’s interesting that they chose such an urban area to make a den when there are some densely forested riverbanks a block away, but they seem to be doing pretty well.
More to come!
Happy Earth Day!
I would say plant a tree, but it just so happens to snowing pretty hard outside right now, and um, whether or not we have only 9 days until May, spring has apparently quit the job.
I’m feeling pretty bad for those geese I wrote about last time – poor confused little guys.
So, in short, there’s not much news here; but I promise to say if it ever warms up.
Well, wish all us poor cold Minnesotans luck.
A huge snowstorm blew into MN this week – it certainly still feels like winter, with so much snow on the ground. But since I spent all that time outside shoveling, I counted 3 flocks of canada geese flying overhead in just half an hour. I’d nearly forgotten about the geese, but when I heard their familiar honking I realized how few birds there have been around here; especially waterfowl. Well, they’re back, along with budding maples and daylight lasting until past 6 o’ clock.
This summer has been amazing for eagle watching. With the Mississippi becoming cleaner, eagle numbers have skyrocketed in my neighborhood, and the nest a couple blocks away had us spoting these birds almost every day. But during the fall and winter almost all of the wildlife I see during the summer become harder to spot, so I was pretty excited to see a full grown bald eagle swoop down into the road right in front of my house yesterday. It was probably picking up a squirrel – during the fall the squirrels get so crazy about their nuts they get hit by cars right and left, making meals pretty easy for the other animals. Anyway, I followed it into a tree, and got some pictures, although it was really hard to find. I hadn’t noticed before how perfectly their feathers blend in to the brown of the tree trunks and the gray of the winter sky.
We also had our first decent snow fall. Not just a flurry – the snow’s still hanging around, but I don’t know how long that will last.
Well, I guess we’ve officially begun our 6 months of winter – it snowed yesterday. At least it’s not looking like last winter, with no snow at all. But it’s not even halloween yet… (I predict of lot of hockey player costumes.) The snow’s melted by now, though. *keeping fingers crossed for nice long indian summer* Ahh, Minnesota. 😉
I found this little orange fruit growing on a tree nearby. (Not a great picture – my camera broke and I had to scan it. :-() I was convinced it was a tiny nectarine at first, but not enough to eat it and find out. Plus, I don’t think too many people grow nectarines in MN. After a lot of scouring the web, I began to suspect it was an apricot tree. Weird, since the little fruit was absolutely not fuzzy. But, it had an apricot-like pit, it smelled like an apricot, and, it tasted like a rather unripe one. Yes, I finally worked up the courage to try it. Hasn’t killed me yet. Probably not a super smart idea, though. Anyway, I’ll have to watch and see if they really do turn into real-looking apricots in a couple of weeks. On that note, I’m going to be heading to the east coast soon, so you probably won’t hear too much from me. But maybe when I return I can write a post on great white sharks. If they don’t eat me first.
I have Candytuft flowers growing in my garden. I was looking at them yesterday, and I noticed how the petals on the flower all look like teeny little pink butterflies, bursting out of the stem (their bottom wings all point in). Seemed cute to me. Has anyone had candytuft in different colors? I thought they could be any color, but mine are all pink.
I was out late the other night, when I heard a rustling in the bushes behind the garage. I froze, not sure what I’d see, and found myself 10 feet away from a large, gray, moonlit opossum. We had an intense staring contest that lasted about 2 seconds before it turned and disappeared. I know there is a good number of opossums living in my neighborhood, but I’ve only seen 3 or 4 ever. They are so secretive, so shy, that they leave almost no trace of existing, and when you do see them they scurry away in a heartbeat. It also doesn’t help that they are nocturnal, and seem to avoid not only daylight, but street- and lamp-light as well. I don’t know much about these little guys, but they’re awfully exciting to see!
I found all of these cool, mostly-decayed leaves lying on the ground. I don’t know if they were only in that spot, or if I’ve just never noticed them before, but they caught my eye and I thought they were really beautiful, like gossamer, even though they’re decomposing. I’m pretty sure they’re created when leaves fall and start to decay, but since the leafy part decomposes faster than the veins, you get this cool leaf-skeleton. Voila!
A cornflower grew in my garden.
I love this poem about cornflowers by Cicely Mary Barker:
“‘Mid scarlet of poppies and gold of the corn,
In wide-spreading fields were the cornflowers born;
But now I look round me and what do I see?
That lilies and roses are neighbours to me!
There’s a beautiful lawn, there are borders and beds,
Where all kinds of flowers raise delicate heads;
For this is a garden, and here, a boy blue,
I live and am merry the whole summer through.
My blue is the blue that I always have worn,
And still I remember the poppies and corn.”
This is a leaf from a ginkgo tree. First word that comes to mind: funky. This is a tree with an attitude. I didn’t know they grew this far north, but apparently they do. I love ginkgo leaves. They make me think of a fan, or an umbrella, or a bird with a long beak seen from above.
I was taking pictures of this little prism on my window, when I realized that if I shifted around just a tiny bit, I could capture all the colors of the rainbow in it, one by one.
Have you ever noticed the shape the border of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Lake Superior makes? Looking at a map yesterday, it struck me that it was clearly a face. Made me think of a troll.
I found this red-tailed hawk’s feather yesterday when I was sweeping the sidewalk. Pretty cool, eh? I guess there’s a new visitor in our neighborhood. I haven’t seen any red-tails around, though. Earlier this spring there was a Coopers hawk hanging out, and though I haven’t seen him in a while, I s’pose it could have been his. It’s hard to tell with just a single feather. I also found a blue jay feather right near it. I don’t know that they were related, but if they were, it was probably a red-tail — I don’t think a coopers is big enough to go after a jay.
I’m Back, and better than ever!
This last month I was on vacation all over America. Here are a few pictures: