After a balmy day last Friday, we had a weekend of cold weather and a bit of snow which brought the lovely part of fall to an end. The last leaves have turned golden and rust and we find ourselves on the edge of winter.
It's Thanksgiving week here in the USA and all that most everyone is thinking about is food and cleaning the house so my stitching time has been limited and poorly focused. Facebook just reminded me that on Thanksgiving Day in 2012, we had dinner out on the patio and a red fox visited the back porch in the morning to clean up the cat's food. We won't be having dinner out on the patio this year!!
My resident squirrels started their Thanksgiving feasting early and requisitioned the Halloween pumpkins -- I moved this one down by the bird feeders this morning to keep the mess off the back porch. The little mob of dark-eyed juncos just ignore him as they search the grass for the cracked corn we throw out.
Sometimes a walk helps me focus (the refrigerator still needs cleaning before the big feast on Thursday) so I headed to a nearby wetland for a short late afternoon walk. I've been helping a local group increase the survey birding along the local river corridor by visiting several different parks every week.
The trail skirts the edge of an ancient dog-leg of the river that has attracted a pair of beaver who have re-engineered the area into an interesting pond and marsh.
The remnant of snow showed me that not only are there other folks (and dogs) who appreciate this rustic boardwalk through the marsh, it seems the white-tailed deer appreciate it as well. It's breeding season for the deer right now and I've finally learned to pay attention during late afternoon walks -- not good to get between a buck and an attractive doe!
My walk yesterday afternoon yielded a new experience -- several coyotes howling not too far from the trail. Upon returning home, I did some reading to see if breeding season is also beginning for them -- it's a bit early for breeding but not too early for dating. I have to admit it was a bit unsettling and I was relieved to only spot black-capped chickadees this afternoon. I was delighted that this one waited for me to get my camera out and set-up for a portrait.
He was foraging near these goldenrod galls -- the egg and larval case of the goldenrod gall fly. The larva overwinters in the case and the fly hatches in the spring -- but not these!?! Chickadees and Downy woodpeckers are the most likely culprits -- they had snacked on every one in this clump along the edge of the path. You can read more about this HERE.
I returned home at dusk and watched to see if the cardinals were put off by the red yarn I added to my feeding pole this morning. It's an attempt to keep the House Sparrows on the ground and out of the sunflower seed tray -- seems to have worked the first day though I wouldn't be surprised if the sparrows get over their trepidation before winter is over. Surprisingly, the yarn doesn't seem to bother any of the other birds coming to the feeders.
Reorganizing my feeders today made me wonder if the Cornell University Feeder Cams are up and running for the winter. They have three -- one at the lab in Ithaca, New York (click HERE), my favorite located in Ontario, Canada (click HERE) which attracts birds we rarely get here in Northeast Ohio, and a hummingbird feeding station in West Texas (click HERE). (If you are visiting any of these sites from other parts of the world, NY and Canada are in the Eastern North America time zone and Texas is in the Central time zone.)
We are gathering a small group of family and friends, sharing the cooking duties, and looking forward to a quiet day of feasting and visiting on Thursday.
Then with the house clean and lots of leftover food in the kitchen, I can spend the weekend starting my Christmas stitching!!
Enjoy the rest of your week!!