Sunday, February 12, 2012

Birding










Circling overhead in search of a meal.
Even the most common birds are beautiful.

As with the ocean, a scene with birds is always changing.
1. Hawk dives into the pachysandra...


2. Hawk flies off...


3. ...with a snake for its young.


And sometimes they even look a bit ominous.

A hawk eyes the chicks.  
Birding takes one to some beautiful places.









Loons are in the salt water this time of year but when the warmer weather arrives they will be back and closely monitored by the volunteers at the Loon Center.








An  old Gokey briefcase now carries our birding supplies.





, Dave Parsons, the taxidermist at Yale's Peabody Museum in New Haven.



Although this one has seen better days, it now has its own charms.


.












Even Christmas stockings (for both humans and pets) reflect an avian love.


This time of the year, with the leaves gone, it is a great time to be on the look out for some larger birds.

 

And, even if all you see are "LBJs" (little brown jobs), you can't beat the views.


36 comments:

Zenas313 said...

Hurrah the first comment! I grew up with grandparents who loved birding as well. They were older and their legs no longer allowed them to range too far afield, so birding meant watching through the kitchen picture window and a half a dozen or so different feeders that my grandpa always kept full. I learned to identify by sight and by call and love birding to this day. I would like to write more, but its time to go fill the feeders.

Thanks Muffy!

Marie said...

There is nothing more relaxing than watching all sorts of birds: our feeders are outside of our dining room and give pleasure year round. Like you I spent my youth enjoying nature's beauty by watching birds.
It was exciting to hear and see an owl one evening a month ago - a first for me in Nassau County.

Mags said...

What a timely post! We are seeing the return of Eagles to the river near by the city. A motley bunch I saw perched, quite near the 8th St. bridge. An adult eagle, a youth, a raven and a crow, just hanging out. If I can get a good shot, I will post. How blessed we are to have birds among us!

Courtney said...

I'll never forget when my son, Bryan, was little and we were down by the Eno River near our home in NC. He wearily exclaimed, "I'll never see a Belted Kingfisher!" as one swooped by, landed on a branch near us and gave my boy a nice, long look. One of our best shared memories.

JDSprouse said...

Thanks for your pictures of "birding". We have a lot of song birds on our 3/4 acre, along with a red tailed hawk and 10 or more deer in our back yard at times even though we live less than a mile from a mall. I also enjoyed the picture of your Father with the MG TD. A '52 was my first car. It brings back a lot of memories. Carpe Diem

Michael said...

Terrific post, Muffy. Birding is a moveable feast. I've been lucky enough to live in three corners of the country, and each spot was wonderful birding territory: the wetlands of Southern California; the Northwest mountains; coastal New England.It is hard to explain how deeply birding can affect one's life, but your photos and comments come close.

By the way: I love your husband's old briefcase--now that's patina. That same briefcase is still being made by the original manufacturer, J.W. Hulme of Minnesota. Mine isn't nearly as broken in as yours, but it is aging with grace. Gokey and Orvis both relied upon Hulme for their luggage lines. A great heritage company, well worth supporting.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post. I never heard of birding until I met my husband. Now, I've become a real birder myself. A few weeks ago we spent several hours standing in freezing temps waiting for a gyrfalcon to make his presence known. In the meantime we saw a barn owl and short eared owl cruising around the marsh like a harrier. Last weekend on another birding trip we saw a pair of great blue herons, a pair of great horned owls, and a pair of bald eagles, in addition to a pair of coyotes. This particular outing was especially enjoyable due to the enthusiasm of a couple of preteens who were real birders in their own right.
What would make my life complete would be if a snowy owl showed up in our area. We live in one of the northern most states without a snowy owl sighting.

Greenfield said...

So glad to see that the younger generation is involved; CT Audubon has just devoted their annual "State of the Birds" report to the importance of getting young people out to interact with wildlife in the natural setting. If there is to be a continuation of the work of all our great naturalists, it's up to all of us to make sure our kids and grandkids can have these wonderful experiences so many of us took for granted growing up!

Chris from New Hampshire said...

I love the three Robert Bateman prints. I also liked seeing more of your books. I have picked up quite a few from this entry - http://www.muffyaldrich.com/2010/02/top-10-books-define-modern-preppy.html!

Grace said...

These photos are awesome, Muffy! Looks like quite an interesting outing.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post and great photos! Birding is one of my favorite pastimes, which I enjoy even in my own yard. We, too, have a hawk and I know he’s around by the sudden silence of the songbirds. He often stops by for a drink in our little garden pond. I’ve yet to capture him in a photo, though. This time of year I also enjoy seeing the grebes as they spend the winter here – on cold days you see them on the bay, bills tucked under their wings like little sleeping cats bobbing around in the water. And I even enjoy the seagulls!

Cheers,
Bitsy

WRJ said...

Birding is a big part of my family, too. I can remember as a child making fun of my mom when she would grab her binoculars and run to the window with a Sibley guide in hand. (Then making note of the date of the sighting.) I particularly love the birds that return, faithfully, every year. My parents live right on a coastal inlet in Connecticut, and each year a group of four or five buffleheads take up shop once it gets cold enough--perhaps my favorite bird (I'm a duck person).

Wharf Rat said...

Their instinct as to when to migrate, and how to navigate from Canada to South America seems to have continued to be a mystery to the experts.

The thrill of watching Canadian honkers in tight formation is tremendous. One leads and has the hardest job for about 20 minutes, and then is precisely replaced by another. A real miracle of nature in action.

Just a personal quirk, but I could never understand the thrill of killing these beautiful creatures with a high powered weapon.

Anonymous said...

Birding is a wonderful pastime that will never cease to be fascinting. We as the "intelligent" beings on this earth need to be respectful of these amazing creatures, both great and small. I, too, could never understand why someone would enjoy hunting birds for sport. The only high powered apparatus to shoot nature's flying machines should have a lens attached to it; no ammo. You can't love birds and kill them for sport. It doesn't work both ways.

Parnassus said...

Taiwan has a huge bird density with lots of sanctuaries and opportunities for viewing. Even in the city, decorative ponds and gardens attract many unusual birds.

Although I didn't mention them in my recent post on Chinese good luck charms, carved and painted birds are everywhere; when you spot a dragon, an immortal phoenix is probably right next to it!
--Road to Parnassus

ANH Style said...

The photos with the hawk grabbing the snake are amazing! What a moment to catch on your camera.

A dear friend of mine loves birding and is always counting hawks on the way to the lake or spotting owls at night. I'm oblivious, so it's fun to have her point them out to me.

Ben said...

Muffster - Off-topic, if anyone here wants to either pile on or defend Mr. Castleberry's costumes, take a look at Yankee Whisky Papa's new entry: http://yankee-whisky-papa.blogspot.com/2012/02/5-steps-to-being-stylish-and-awesome.html.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @10:30
I too will never understand how humans can kill
living creatures for the sport of it. Cruelty disguised
as "sport" is still cruelty.

Bradford said...

Dear Muffy, Thank you for your always interesting blog, I have a question about the great shoes you are wearing in your December 11, 2011 blog, where did you get them and what information can you give me about them? My wife has been trying to find a pair like these for a long time, any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

Zenas313 said...

I am sorry, but every time I scroll through and see that owl mount I laugh out loud. Better days indeed!

Rachel said...

Oh please has anyone else eaten a bird? Good Lord you have to kill them first they don't commit suicide and just show up at the market. Hunting birds is quite normal to those of us in the country.

Anonymous said...

Good Lord, not everyone wants animals killed to provide
their food source.

Courtney said...

Goodness. Brouhaha over a long-ago photo? Animal welfare activism needs the energy of people who spend their time making a real difference. Trolling blogs for pictures of dads hunting seems like the least inefficient way to volunteer for the welfare of animals.

Knot Just Nautical said...

Happy Valentine's Day, Muffy & TDP readers! xxx From Knot Just Nautical

Wharf Rat said...

Calvin Trillin coined a handy index that you may be familiar with, that he calls an API. The last two words are"prediction indicator".

EG, a man who bores others with his extensive knowledge of wine, has an API of 9, in Trillin's rating system.

I have friend here who belongs to a very exclusive and expensive shooting club, here.

Their sole club function is to gather at a wooded estate nearby, bearing very expensive shot guns.

They stand under trees, with a cage of birds nearby. In the fullness of time, a servant comes along, releases the birds, and the guys under the trees shoot them.

People like this have earned a perfect 10 on the API scale, IMO.

I don't think that these guys have the slightest intention of actually eating the birds that they shoot.

If so, my fondest hope is that imbedded shot pellets do extensive dental damage.

Rachel said...

We are guests here of Muffy's and where I'm from one does not insult the host or their family.

Anonymous said...

I live in a small city and have a question about hawks. (Your picture of the hawk with the snake is amazing.)

In recent years, the hawks here have more than tripled in number. It's scary when they swoop down into the yard to get their meal; I'd like to keep them out of it because we often have small dogs and small children in the yard - and I've had to take down my bird feeders because that was providing a buffet for the hawks.

Any suggestions as to how to encourage the hawks to hunt elsewhere?

Beth said...

@Wharf Rat
Thanks for sharing Calvin Trillin's AIP index .
Perfect.

Anonymous said...

Muffy, I love this post. And those are great old pictures. I wanted to say that I started reading this blog perhaps a year ago, a little before it became a "contender" in the world of prep publications. :-) This was before you posted so many visits to preppy companies, or "travel posts," (for lack of a better term.) I really appreciate those posts, but I must admit to being most interested in the sort of posts you used to write. I love seeing how you have your house decorated, and things you do around town (for instance, creating Christmas wreaths.) I like the posts about your garden, and composting, etc.. As someone who lives in an environment similar to yours, I like to see the complete "lifestyle," so to speak.

I guess I wanted to say, only to express one opinion and not to criticize, that I somewhat preferred the more personal posts of your earlier days, and this reminds me of those. Of course, for every person who prefers the personal posts, I am sure there are others who prefer the more "professional" (again, for lack of a better term) journalistic posts. There is another blog I frequently read, and the author of the blog completely changed her focus about a year ago. It became more narrow, and at the same time, less personal. Some lamented the change, some embraced it wholeheartedly as a wonderful evolution.

I wanted to ask for more personal posts! This is just an expression of interest in those earlier posts (a compliment), not a major criticism of your newer posts, which are also interesting and informative. I know you want to protect your privacy and maybe feel the need more strongly as your blog has become more well-known.

Anonymous said...

My bird highlight last year was watching Pelicans feed in the surf in Bay Head NJ. They no longer are accidental visitors. Eat and Fly!

Elizabeth said...

I love the photos, especially those of the hawk getting the snake. We have recently seen a goshawk around our farm in central Massachusetts. Unfortunately for us, it got one of our ducks!

Muffy Aldrich said...

@Bradford - These are older Cole-Haans that I do not believe they are making anymore. When I heard that they were being discontinued I bought what they had left - three in navy, three in black and one in sort of a chestnut color. I am so glad I did - I wear them all the time.

@Anonymous - I so appreciate the pains you took not to sound critical! It is funny, in that I do not think of my more recent posts as any less personal than my older ones. Really, I don't give entries much "pre" thought. We do what we do and take pictures. But I will definitely keep this comment in mind as I go forward.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the response Muffy! I guess I should clarify and say the older posts seem, more often than not, to be more related to your home life (at your primary home or a vacation residence) and life around town. All of the posts are of you doing something, so in a way, they're all personal. You're not completely detached from any of them. But I assume that pre-blog and early in your blogging life you would have visited fewer manufacturers in your daily life. That seems to be done more as a service to your audience which is interested in preppy clothes and the few remaining American manufacturers. The older posts are more you-oriented. :-)

caw said...

I love to bird, have since my early 20s, and am consistently mocked by my friends for it. But living and working in SW Florida, southern Africa, and Cornell University make it impossible not to take up the habit. Such a good habit too! Can't wait for my friends to catch up. Let us Ithacans know if you ever visit the Lab of O!

Anonymous said...

The Sibley bird books are wonderful. I liked them so much that I bought copies for the rest of the family, so each person's home will have a copy to hand.

teaorwine said...

Loved this posting. I also "bird" as my binos rest in the back window which overlooks the woods behind my house. Currently, I have a Cooper's Hawk which comes daily in search of a scurrying mouse or squirrel to his liking. At night, I can often hear an owl of some kind which I love listening to!

best, teaorwine