Bird Brain

No one needs an excuse to walk, but I find I’m more motivated to do so if I have a reason to go out. My little dog hasn’t been well, so he can’t walk very far anymore. It’s been wintery and I find it hard to make myself go out and trudge around in the snow. Sometimes I put on snowshoes and head into the field and nearby trails. Often I just march down the sidewalks and roadsides listening to podcasts. .

But now that the summer birds have started to return, I’ve been walking down to the ‘pond’ and counting bird. I use the eBird app to record how many species I see, and how many of each there are. I hadn’t really paid much attention to the pond before I realized that it attracted some interesting birds and wildlife. Although my personal life list is a bit larger, my life list on eBird currently contains forty-five species. About a dozen different species I’ve recorded from my backyard. Others as I’ve walked through the nearby fields and forest. But most I’ve sighted at the pond.

I hadn’t really paid much attention to the pond before I realized that it attracted some interesting birds and wildlife. Although my personal life list is a bit larger, my life list on eBird currently contains forty-five species. Some I’ve recorded from my backyard. Others as I’ve walked through the nearby fields and forest. But most I’ve sighted at the pond. Recently, there have been several varieties of swans sighted in my area.

We often hear Canada Geese flying over. But the Trumpeter Swans have a deeper voice. When I hear them, it’s a scramble for my shoes, phone, camera and binoculars. I’ve yet to get a really good photo. But, I did get a picture on my phone of three fuzzy white lumps out in the water. I know where to drive to get really up close to these birds. But, having them hanging out in the neighbourhood is more exciting.

I first started recording my bird sightings in eBird in March of 2015. I don’t drive or fly very far to see a bird like in the movie The Big Year. I find it gratifying to know these creatures share space with me near my home.  I’ve marked these with an *.  Here is my not-very-impressive list to date:

Canada Goose*
Trumpeter Swan*
Wood Duck*
Mallard*
Northern Pintail*
Bufflehead*
Hooded Merganser*
Common Merganser*
Red-throated Loon
Common Loon
Double-crested Cormorant*
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron*
Turkey Vulture*
Sandhill Crane
Killdeer*
Greater Yellowlegs*
Bonaparte’s Gull
Little Gull
Ring-billed Gull*
Herring Gull*
Glaucous Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Rock Pigeon*
Mourning Dove
Barred Owl
Belted Kingfisher*
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker*
Pileated Woodpecker*
Peregrine Falcon
Blue Jay*
American Crow*
Common Raven*
Black-capped Chickadee*
Red-breasted Nuthatch*
White-breasted Nuthatch*
American Robin*
Dark-eyed Junco*
Northern Cardinal*
Red-winged Blackbird*
Common Grackle*
American Goldfinch

Three swans, one of them an immature with grey-ish feathers. Dull day, bad camera, bird brain photographer.

 

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Happy New Year 2017!

I don’t know why, but I always feel that new year comes too closely after Christmas. There was a time when the new year was celebrated in March, and that sounds like a good idea to me. Spring, after all, truly feels like the beginning of a new year after the cold, sleepy months of winter. Or, perhaps Christmas should be moved to the end of January, to give us a bit of a breather between holidays, and ensure that we will have a white Christmas. That would end that stress!

The worst part of this time of year is putting all the little decorations we’ve accumulated over the years. Especially this sort of thing:

IMG_20170103_080610223 

It will be about eleven more months before we see them again.

Again, or perhaps still, I’ve been making stuff. Hats, scarves, thing as made of paper, fabric and yarn. My spinning wheel still sits in the corner, waiting for me to learn how to use it. Bags of alpaca fiber are sitting in bags, waiting to be made into something. While I figure out my next move, I’ve been wet felting, more or less successfully. 

New Years eve was very quiet here, and we were in bed by 10. That meant I was ready for a ride on New Year’s day. No pictures, I was too busy going around in circles. We had planned to spend some time with some of my husband’s family, but the weather got in the way—I’m a very nervous driver and when two snowflakes fall, my courage does too. So we still feel like we have a bit of holidaying to catch up on.

I hope you have a happy 2017.

Quick Update

Not very good at updating my blog right now! You read that all over the internet of course. We’re coming down to the final three months before my daughter’s wedding. I was talking to someone yesterday about taking a watercolor class. Not until fall, I told her.  Yes, weddings are all consuming, she said. Well, we’re trying not to let it get that way with some good planning, but it does seem a rather large event looming on our horizon. A bridal shower is being planned in about three weeks time, and although I said I’m not getting involved, I lied. I’m starting to bake this week, keeping in mind that I’m hosting a family dinner on Friday and attending another three hours away in Saturday. Thankfully, my family is very forgiving and unlikely to bat an eye if I do something like forget the main course. A few Christmases ago, I made a turkey dinner and found the dressing untouched in the oven a few days later. I don’t know how that happened because for me and a few other people, dressing is the main event. Anyway, I’m living by the pen and notebook and looking forward to everything.

The knitted dress? Even machine knitting takes time to learn as I’ve come to realize. While you can make large rectangles of plain knitted textile very quickly, making a garment to fit right off the machine bed, along with patterning at least part of it so it’s not so plain takes a longer. So far, my experimental sweater has two sleeves, two backs, and one badly made front. I’m starting  a new front. The discarded front and back will probably turn into something like a cut and sew hot water bottle cover. The road to the actual dress is much longer than I anticipated.

I’ve also been doing some paper crafting. I love the box cards I’ve been seeing all over Pinterest and took a swing at making some. The first was made using a purchased project from Cricut. The second, is made from scratch using a box card base template from The Non-Crafty Crafter. The box cards fold flat to fit in an envelope, but open to display the details within. I’m  inspired to make more, bigger and better!

Boxcard1

All Occasion Box Cards by Lori Whitlock available through the Cricut Design Space

boxcard2

Box card made with The Non-Crafty Crafter template and Cricut DS images.

I also have to fit a little work in. Over on Ponybox:

And on About.com, things keep rolling along.

And now, I’m sure I have something to do…