Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Wishes

It's nice to take a break from Christmas shopping and cleaning and planning, and go birding instead. December is a good time for birding, since the birds are easily visible in the bare branches, but quickly moving weather systems make photography a challenge. The sun comes and goes on mountains of clouds.

Louisville set a record for rainfall in 2011. Can you tell what this photo is? Small trees reflected in the standing water look like some abstract art to me.

Some times a variety of ducks float on the temporary ponds at Garvin Brown Preserve, but today only Mallards were there, cruising in for a landing.

This little Kestrel can be seen often, but he's wary of people, and flies off whenever I try to sneak up for a closer photo. The gray sky reduces the light available, so I get good silhouettes, but not much for closeups.

As I followed the Kestrel across the field, a Red Shouldered Hawk called from beyond the fence row. He must have felt more self-confident and didn't fly off till I walked completely beyond his perch. I always hope that none of the raptors I see flying wild will end up at the Rehab Center.

Robins are not deterred by bad weather, and large numbers of them ate the crab apples. Apparently the fruit was just ripe enough for them!

Finding enough to survive the cold must be a high priority in the life of a bird, no matter where they live. I read that Chickadees can lower their body temperature from 108 degrees Fahrenheit to a low of 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night. It takes a lot less energy to keep a chickadee's body at 50 degrees than at 108 degrees. The birds in my neighborhood make their rounds of the feeders together. Either I have no birds in the yard, or lots of them! I fill the feeders with good sunflower seeds and peanuts, and by the next morning most need filling again. I saw a mystery bird and the field guide identified it as a tan morph White Throated Sparrow. Don't think I've ever seen one of those before.

Earlier this month I bought a wreath with fresh greenery from Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve. Weeks later though, much of it dried and fell out, so I cut some new from our yard - pine, coral bell seeds and oak leaf hydrangea!  All my other decorations are artificial, so I'm very pleased with this wreath.

I hope you have enjoyed this break from frantic holiday preparations. We are so blessed and all our family will be home this year, including our new grandson and a new daughter-in-law to-be, along with Brian's mother and brother. I wish the best to each of you too!

There's more, much more to Christmas
Than candle-light and cheer;
It's the spirit of sweet friendship
That brightens all the year;
It's thoughtfulness and kindness,
It's hope reborn again,
For peace, for understanding
And for goodwill to men!
                                                       - Anonymous

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