Snowflakes And Feathers

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little bird shivers
crystal falls on beak and down
feathers fluff to warm
surrounded by frosty white
weathering strong winter's storm

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I took the photo above from my kitchen window on one of the few days that we had snow this year. So far it’s been a disappointing winter for scenic snowfall. What little we’ve had here in Orange County, New York has not lasted for more than a few days.

Last year was another story. We had several really gorgeous snows. There was one day in particular when the activity at my bird feeders was absolutely spectacular. Throughout the day, a variety of eight or nine different types of birds swooped around the feeders. They were joined by squirrels, chickens, and even dear, all snacking on sunflower seeds in the falling snow.

I took the photo below on that day. Visit my post,  A Day Of Memorable Moments to see the rest of the lively, colorful, flurry of activity by clicking here. Seeing those photos and remembering that delightful day still makes me smile! 🙂

Black capped chickadee.
Black capped chickadee. March 2015.

This post is my response to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Things That Are Cold.

A Day Of Memorable Moments

This post is in response to the Photography 101 prompt “moment.” I had intended to post it Friday and include only this first photo, which I took a few days ago, of a fun moment of motion captured in my backyard. I sat down at the computer, edited the photo a bit and uploaded it.

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That’s as far as I got before I became distracted with the activity outside my kitchen door.

My neighbor’s chickens wandered over to peck under the bird feeders. Then a squirrel joined the party and began going through his gymnastic maneuvers to steal lunch from the feeder.

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Neither of these things is an unusual sight in my backyard. What made it unusual was that even though it was the first day of spring, there was a steady picturesque snow falling.

How many more opportunities this year would I have to look out my door and see this scene highlighted by large fluffy flakes drifting down? Probably none, so of course I grabbed my camera.

I took some photos, did some work, and then began to process a few of the photos, but new and beautiful moments kept presenting themselves in my peripheral vision.

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Time after time I found myself wandering to the door to take pictures. Throughout the afternoon I was constantly distracted by the activity outside. It just kept getting better.

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When the deer wandered up to the feeder I was ecstatic. This is something I only get to see every now and then since they usually raid the feeder in the dark of night.

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The  falling snow made it all the better.

I quickly corralled the dogs in the other room so they wouldn’t scare the deer by jumping at the glass door, and gave my son, who was about to walk outside, strict orders to stay put until I was done capturing the visitors with my camera. I was extremely pleased to get a few nice shots before an unknown something caused the pair to bolt.

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Not long after, the red winged blackbirds showed up along with the grackles.

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Grackles are scary, wary birds.

Now you see them…

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…now you almost don’t! It’s amazing how the sparrow and cardinal are completely unperturbed by the sudden explosion of grackle wings that turned those three birds into vague black blurs.

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Varieties of birds sighted throughout the day included the cardinal, purple finch, goldfinch, downy woodpecker, blue jay, chickadee, sparrow, tufted titmouse, grackle, red winged black bird, morning dove, junco, cow bird, starling, and of course, chicken! Missing was the nuthatch, red bellied woodpecker and northern flicker which I sometimes see.

I’m very fortunate to have this show of splendor outside my kitchen door, and for that, I’m most grateful!

Click an image below to start a slide show of all the photos I’ve included from that snowy first day of spring.

 

Photography 101: Swarm

Milkweed silk and seed

I wasn’t sure what to do for day fourteen of Photography 101. The theme is Swarm.

“It’s a swarm! Show us something that overruns your scene, but observe and compose carefully before you click the shutter.

Swarm: to fly off together in a group, as bees; to move about in great numbers, as things or persons.”

It’s November and there’s not much swarming here in the north-east US. It’s too cold for bees or ants. The geese have gone. We were overrun by fallen leaves, but now those have been cleared from the yard. My husband used a leaf blower to gather them. That would have been a nice scene to photograph, a swarm of leaves in flight, but day fourteen’s theme had not yet been announced. The leaves are now in a pile. They’ve lost their individuality and sit wet and dank, more like a lump than a swarm.

I guess I could have headed for the train station, the commuter park and ride, or the highway to photograph swarms of people or cars, but I opted for the following instead.   Continue reading