Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Tits - Winter Birding 2

Among the wintering birds, the blue tits and great tits are the most common.

They're everywhere, flying as a "gang" or solo.

They gather amongst the spruce and pine foliage, and hold their unseen yet audible "conferences".

They perch on bare twigs, basking in the sun, showering in the snowfall, singing, calling.

They snuggle among the fluffy cushions of snow that settled on the clusters of pine needles.

They swarm around the feeders to dine in or take out a seed, a nut or a bit of fat. They come to our balcony feeder everyday, so I have several chances to observe and photograph them.

The coal tit is a lifer for me this winter. Since they are not so common around here, I was so glad when I spotted my first one.

Later, one came to visit our feeder a few times but it was moving the whole time so I had difficulty capturing it. One dark day it perched on the tip of the spruce tree beside our balcony and I had the chance to shoot it through our window pane, which accounts for the blurry and grainy images.

The willow tit is another lifer that I unexpectedly spotted in a pine forest while waiting for the gray-headed woodpecker to show up. It was quite hard to find it as it perched among the frosty pine needles.

There are other tits spotted around here that I desperately want to see but they're quite elusive to me. Someday though, I'm going to find them.

Aren't the little common birds beautiful too? They are definitely worth our notice and admiration!

Hopefully, my limited tits collection will expand. And so will my life list.

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

A Day Filled With Wonders

The month of March began superbly!

The morning sun ascended across the cerulean sky radiantly, splashing iridescent colors onto the thin clouds that escorted it.

I stopped by the city river for some minutes to watch the unfolding of natural wonders before going to work.

I stood on the snow, gazing at the shifting prismatic colors of the cloud strips, being entranced by their gauzy elegance and keeping my camera busy.

Back to earth, my eyes were caught by the steam rising off the unfrozen edge of the river and then floating and swirling over the the snowy river bank. The visible "breath" of winter seized my fancy.

It was a perfect day to carry out an experiment that didn't go well in my previous attempts - soap bubble freezing in the snow.  It didn't turn out well either. I'd thought that it was too cold so that the entire bubbles instantly froze the moment they settled on the snow. I learned later that it has to do with the soap bubble formula, of which I had no idea at all. I just used a simple kid's ready-to-use bubble blow.... ha-ha-ha!!! Nonetheless, the whole globule turned to frost with iridescent feathery patterns. I think they're charming too!

Ah! The magpies were also basking in the "cold sunshine" on this lovely day!

Passing by a creek along the way to my work place, I espied these floating ice disks with lacy edges and the resident ducks meandering through them. Such simple things can make my heart leap with joy!

Coming home after work at around 5:00 pm, I perceived a golden face peering through the bare twigs. I searched for a spot where I could see it clearly. There it was! The moon beamed at me as it mounted into the hazy lilac sky.

On this day, all these beautiful creations harmoniously declared the glory of the One who brought them into being.

"For his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world's creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship."
(Romans 1:20)

And the day faded into night, but the marvels that it brought have been preserved to be viewed again and again with delight.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time." 
(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Winter Birding 1 - Woodpeckers And Others

I've never imagined that it's possible to go birding in winter, especially in a place where thick snow and frosts blanket the ground and coat the trees.  But a friend said that it's a good season for birding as the birds would be out looking for food, making it easier to spot them.

And so I'm often out with hubby and a couple, searching for new birds in the ideal environment such as the woods. As I've said previously, I can tolerate the painful freezing sensation in my fingers and toes as I stand in a corner of the forest waiting for the birds to perch on some pine or spruce trees. Later on, we found out that we could buy hand and foot warmers for a more comfortable stay out in the snow and cold.  They work! And I'm so glad for that!

So far, I haven't found the birds that I'm dying to see, which have been reportedly spotted in some places. But I saw a few lifers. The hunt goes on though.

I will be posting in a series some birds that I "gathered" this winter. This is actually my first winter birding, and it's exciting!

This first post focuses on the woodpeckers which I often spot these days. I've taken lots of photos of them, so much that I almost stopped capturing them except when the perfect ambiance presented itself.

I took these great spotted woodpeckers on sunny winter days when the skies were clear blue while the ground I was standing on was blanketed with thick snow that glittered beautifully. 

Here's a regular customer in our balcony bird "restaurant". It's eating here mostly twice a day.

It perches on the top of this spruce tree beside our balcony before plunging down to the buffe table that we arranged for our winged guests.

Here's one in a forest feeder. Woody shares a "table" with others too, such as this spotted nutcracker and this great tit.

The grey-headed woodpecker was one I was hoping to see in this pine forest. Guess how excited I was when it came along with some other lifers. I had three other companions that time, but they missed this one because they were distracted by the other birds. 

Some weeks later, I was alone in this same forest in hopes to find another one I was dying to see which unfortunately didn't show up. Instead, I was treated with a surprise show when two woodpeckers came, the great spotted and the grey headed, pecking at the same time on two adjacent trees equipped with feeders by an ornithologist. 

Now, it's a contest! Who pecks best? 😊😊😊

Other new birds for me that I've come to be fond of are the nuthatch and the tree creeper. Both crawl up and down the trees, but the tree creeper is harder to capture as it moves quickly the whole time as seen from the mosaic below with blurry shots.

This nuthatch is also a regular customer in our balcony.

These are all for this post. Watch out for my upcoming winter bird posts.