A New Day

A Hooded Merganser starts his day by gliding across a lake in Rye, New York.
And he’s off! A new day has begun!

“Once we know that the entire physical world around us, all of creation, is both the hiding place and the revelation place for God, this world becomes home, safe, enchanted, offering grace to any who look deeply.” – Richard Rohr

Beechin’ It

The female Northern Cardinal doesn’t get quite the same attention as those bright red males, especially in the snow but this female looked especially beautiful while surrounded by some winter-worn beech leaves.

“My favorite bird changes depending on the family, the season, the rarity factor, whether I managed to locate the bird myself, whether we locked eyes in the field or not. But in general, unless I’m staring at gulls, or muttering obscenities under my breath while trying to distinguish a Baird’s from a White-rumped Sandpiper, my favorite bird is the one right in front of me.” – Julia Zarankin – Field Notes From an Unintentional Birder

“See That Bird”

A Red-shouldered Hawk kept a close eye on our bird feeder during this past week’s snow storm and, today, a Black-capped Chickadee took a sip of water from an icicle that was melting in the sun.
An American Tree Sparrow hopped onto a stalk of grass at Croton Point Park while foraging. The bird’s weight forced the grass to the ground, dislodging some seeds in the process.

“Sometimes, what I try to get people to do is to disconnect for a moment from the absolute need to list and name, and just see the bird. Just see that bird… in that moment, it’s a beautiful thing, no matter what its name is.” – Drew Lanham

Unknown Journeys

“To understand, to get from some egg in a nest to where it is, to grace you with its presence, that it’s taken, for this bird, trials and tribulations and escaping all of these hazards. And so I try to think about people, as much as I can in that way – that each of us has had these struggles from the nest to where we have flown now.” – Ornithologist Drew Lanham, interviewed by Krista Tippett (On Being).

Snow Day!

Today’s snow day provided a great opportunity to sit in my blind and photograph birds as they took turns visiting our feeder.

Northern Cardinals are always a welcome sight in the snow and you can clearly see where a Red-bellied woodpecker gets its name, as it appears to do a chin-up in the middle photo.

Dark-eyed Juncos are the original “snowbirds.” During these colder months they travel in small flocks from the evergreen forests, further north, to our backyards and feeders.

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.

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

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.
The 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.