Friday, January 30, 2015

Robins Take Over the Universe!!



Or at least our little portion of it.

I was walking to work this morning when I heard a near-deafening cacophony of cheeping and chirping, an overwhelming waterfall of bird sounds.

To my astonishment, I saw a cloud of robins rising from and perching in a holly tree ripe with berries. There were simply too many birds for the holly to support them, so many more were perched on the bare branches of nearby trees or the ledges of houses.

[because this is a poor-quality phone photo I've circled the visible robins--more are too blurred by their motion to be seen. I count at least 80.]

I’ve seen vast murmurations of starlings forming and reforming patterns in the air like plumes of smoke, huge clusters of cedar waxwings gorging themselves silly on wild cherries, bushes dense with sparrows like feathered fruit. I have never seen this many robins in one place, and I’m a little worried.

Does it presage some disturbing, bitter shift in the weather? An extra-long winter during which we’ll all need as many berries as we can eat? Or…the beginning of a vast avian conspiracy to overcome the globe?

Only time will tell.


{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, December 5, 2014

Flamingo Friday: Angles





{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Crow Days



The apartment building next to our condo is one floor shorter than our own. Our windows look down on its roof, which is in such a sad state that deep puddles collect during any rain and remain for days afterwards.

This is a shame for the buildings’ tenants but a boon for birds. Almost every morning starlings gather on the roof to drink from and bathe in the puddles. One afternoon I saw a whole flock of robins doing the same, their bellies in the falling light as russet as autumn leaves.

Today I saw a crow bending to the surface of a puddle and was able to get a couple of pictures.

The pictures weren’t terrific, but they did let me see that the crow, unlike the other avian visitors, wasn’t just drinking: it was dipping a piece of something—bread, popcorn, or some other scavenged food—in the water, presumably to soften it before eating it.


Crows are smart.

They’re also fascinating. I love the way they move, the calls they make, and the challenge they present to photographers. This time I was at least able to capture more of its plumage than unyielding blackness—this time I was able to see the beautiful pattern on its back, almost like iridescent scales, and the metallic charcoal color of its beak.


It was the only crow I saw, but I’m sure I heard more of them. I regularly see a murder of five flying from tree to tree or harrying a red-tailed hawk. Once I counted 20 of them flying by, to what destination I couldn’t say.

If I had a lot more time, I would make it a year’s project to just photograph and draw crows. I don’t think I would get tired of them.

What animal do you think you could devote a year to?


{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, November 21, 2014

Flamingo Friday: Shy






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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Full Moon Sinking



The moon set into the sunrise, and as the light grew stronger the moon dipped towards the horizon, growing larger yet ever more insubstantial, like a sphere made of gauze stretched thinner and thinner.

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}
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