The Garden Worm blog Digging up the best dirt on gardening!

January 30, 2010

More Winter, and More on Birds

Filed under: Creatures,Winter — Tags: , — Judy @ 6:27 pm

Ol’ Man Winter has come back again! We have single digit temperatures now and the thermometer dipped below zero last night. Brrr! The thing about snow and cold now though is that you KNOW that Spring is only a few weeks (OK, months!) away, but you feel like maybe you can get through it. The sun has a tad of warmth to it, and the fresh snow sparkles with its brilliance. Oh, I know that there will gray days with gray slush and gray clouds and gray dispositions, but still . . .

Today was a great day for watching the birds too! They were very hungry, trying to stay warm with this cold weather. Both mama and papa cardinals (we counted 12 of the males all at once!), blue jays (squawk!), chickadee-dee-dees, tufted titmice, busy nuthatches, silly mourning doves, tons of little brown birds (mostly rusty-capped sparrows), ugly starlings, cute little juncos, and the most fun of all – a red-bellied woodpecker! Why they call him red-bellied when it is his head that is red is totally confusing to me, but that’s what the book says!

So, how many birds can you count in this picture? (Hints: 1) Click on the picture to open it larger. 2) There are 3 different species in the picture.)
Count the birds

January 29, 2010

Great Backyard Bird Count 2010

Filed under: Creatures,Miscellaneous — Tags: , — Judy @ 1:12 am

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is an example of “citizen science” at its finest! Over four days in February (Feb 12-15), participants of all ages and bird-watching experience anywhere in the United States and Canada count birds. This creates a real-time snapshot that helps researchers gather information about birds and their wintertime habits.

It’s easy and fun – and it’s free! You can count for as little as 15 minutes on one day or count for as long as you like on each day. Count the birds at your backyard feeders or, if you don’t have a feeder, just in your backyard. Or take an outing to a local park or wildlife refuge.

The GBBC is a joint project between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Audubon Society, and Bird Studies Canada. On their website (click here or on the bird picture link in the sidebar), you will find more information about the count, how to attract birds to your feeders, and help on those tricky bird IDs. You can also download tally sheets to help you keep track of your counts. Then, post your results and watch the counts come in on their map. What kinds of birds will you see?

Some birds seen in my backyard this year:

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Young Hawk

Young Hawk, unknown variety

Mama Northern Cardinal

Mama Northern Cardinal

January 24, 2010

The Colors of January

Filed under: Our gardens — Tags: — Judy @ 7:43 pm

What do you think of when you imagine winter in upstate New York? Lots of snow? Lots of white and gray? Yep, sounds about right . . . usually! But today was another beautiful day in the high 40’s with the snow melting rapidly. I took a walk to get some fresh air and see what interesting sights I could find out there. The garden beds are still snuggling under their leaf and bark mulches, but the lawn already looks greener to me after getting a good dose of that “poor man’s fertilizer.” I can see that the primroses, Jacob’s ladders, and other early bloomers show promise of things to come, but almost everything else is sleeping like it should. I really didn’t expect to see much as we still have about 2 more months of winter to get through, but look what I found! See? Winter here is not all gray!

The Colors of January 2010 Slideshow

January 22, 2010

January thaw

Filed under: Miscellaneous — Tags: , — Judy @ 6:58 pm

January sky

This week definitely qualifies as our “January thaw.” Temps in the high 30’s, low 40’s with brilliant sunshine have melted most of the snow. I worked outside today savoring the warmth of the sun, listening to the birdies, and generally enjoying Mother Nature. The Cabaret grass was starting to disperse its broken blades hither and thither so I cut that back and found a few more things to take care of that got missed in the Fall cleanup. It was good to breathe the fresh air and get some of the cobwebs out of the brain. The picture above shows the evening sky here tonight with a promise of another pretty day tomorrow.

Downtown FlagstaffMeanwhile, relatives down in Flagstaff AZ are experiencing some real winter weather. This picture was taken Thursday before it started raining, followed by a possible 2-4 feet more of snow. They are celebrating with a “snow-pocalypse” party!

Then, family in California are deluged by rain with mudslides and mandatory evacuations in their area, and my sister in Texas has had record low temps with frost damage to her plants. Seems like Mother Nature is not happy elsewhere in the country!

What is going on in your neck of the woods?

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