Bufflehead Sunset

A Bufflehead churns those legs and flaps those wings as the sun sets on the Hudson River this evening.

“You can’t see the whole path ahead, but there is usually enough light to take the next step.” – Henri Nouwen

Animal Instincts

A Short-eared Owl hunts for food at the Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge.
A Northern Harrier, with its long wings and tail, was also seen flying low over the grasslands.
A Short-eared Owl confronted and chased away another in, what appeared to be, a territorial dispute.

“Physical bravery is an animal instinct; moral bravery is a much higher and truer courage.” – Wendell Phillips

Bufflehead

This is my favorite duck. And it’s not just because of its name. Okay, it’s because of its name. Buffleheads get their name from their large-headed appearance – apparently, like a buffalo. These beautiful ducks, the smallest of the “diving” ducks, are also quite skittish. If I get a little bit too close, they’re off, in a hurry, to a more secluded spot.
See what I mean? But I do love Buffleheads.

Christmas Visitors

It took me a while to find it, but after a couple of helpful birders pointed the way, I was able to locate this beautiful Snowy Owl sitting, just above the horizon at Jones Beach. I was about one hundred yards away when I took this photo. It was just me and the owl for a little while.
Last week’s 121st Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count resulted in over 90 species seen in the Peekskill, NY area. This Barred Owl flew right over our group before landing in a nearby tree.
This little sparrow created quite a lot of excitement among my fellow birders when it appeared at Croton Point Park this week. It was the first time a LeConte’s Sparrow was recorded as seen in Westchester County. I photographed the LeConte’s on the day of the Winter Solstice.

“If we stop long enough to gaze at what is laid out before us, to let the mystery of beauty and the wonder of the seasons sit deeply in our soul, our hearts cannot help but burst forth in thanksgiving and gratitude to life itself.” – Deborah Adele

The Silent Waiting

After seeing this beautiful barn red building at Croton Point Park today, I thought it would make a beautiful background. I didn’t have to wait long before I an American Tree Sparrow landed on a perch

When I saw the beautiful “barn red” color of this wooden shed at Croton Point Park today, I knew it would make a nice background for a photo. I waited in my car for a little while before an American Tree Sparrow landed on a perch just as the first snowflakes of the season began to fall.

“We find quiet minds as we sit still with our breath, as we make small jottings in our books and as we practice silent waiting. Then one day, “the little ways” open, into broad expanses.” – Mary Hiles

just as the first snowflakes of the season began to fall. Thank you sparrow. Thank you snowflakes.

“Look! Look!”

“Look! Look!” shouted a small boy while emphatically pointing to the moon as it rose above the tree line at Croton Point Park yesterday. But his family was too busy to give the boy (and the moon) their attention. Oh, to be able see the world with the eyes of a child – a great goal for us all.

Earlier in the day, I watched as a Black-capped Chickadee bounced around among the branches of an American sweetgum tree. The seeds are eaten by a variety of birds and small mammals. They remind me of Christmas ornaments dangling from the tree’s branches.

“Paying attention is one of the kindest things we can do – for ourselves and for others.” – Sharon Salzberg

A Stillness and a Light

This morning there was a beautiful Sharp-shinned Hawk perched near our bird feeder. It’s the first one we’ve seen near our home and we were delighted that it stayed for a little while. After a local squirrel sounded the alarm and the smaller birds scattered, this “Sharpie” then flew off.

“Our everyday lives obscure a truth about existence – that at the heart of everything there lies a stillness and a light” – Lynn Thomson – Birding with Yeats.

Feathered Friends

Great Blue Heron, Hudson River, Dobbs Ferry, NY
House Sparrow, Croton Point State Park, NY
American Bald Eagle, Tarrytown Lakes, NY

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is a symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.” – Rachel Carson