My Daily Entertainment!

All work (or studies) and no play makes for a very boring life! On the other hand, a walk in nature, listening to the sound of a babbling brook, or birdwatching are the types of activities that nourish the soul and rejuvenate the spirit. Fortunately I don’t have to go far for any of these pursuits. As to the last, it has been a joy to be able to look up from my desk (the dining room table) and peer out the window into our back yard to watch the birds and their fledglings flit about all day. I have paused from time to time to take a few shots of the back-yard flurries, and decided to share some of the photos with you. Hope you are enjoying your Sunday!

One that got away....and has taken up residence in our back yard, much to our delight!

One that got away….and has taken up residence in our back yard, much to our delight!

Taking a rest on the powerlines to our house.

Taking a rest on the powerlines to our house.

 

Ooops....this is no bird! But I had to go out and have a talk with her when she began nibbling on my Asters!

Ooops….this is no bird! But I had to go out and have a talk with her when she began nibbling on my Asters!

Nothing like a dip in the birdbath!

Nothing like a dip in the birdbath!

Birdbaths sometimes work as reflecting pools, too. :-)

Birdbaths sometimes work as reflecting pools, too. :-)

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There's gotta be a way....

There’s gotta be a way….

 

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I said I'm HUNGRY!

I said I’m HUNGRY!

Maybe if I look the other way, she won't know I saw her.

Maybe if I look the other way, she won’t know I saw her.

Finally the food is here.

Finally the food is here.

 

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OUT OF THE WAY! I DON"T KNOW HOW TO STOP!!!!

OUT OF THE WAY! I DON”T KNOW HOW TO STOP!!!!

 

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Just Checking In

Just checking in to see how everyone is doing. School is going well and I am pleased to announce (for those who don’t already know) that the paperwork, interviews, hoop-jumping-through has paid off and I am approved to begin my fieldwork beginning in early April! Yay! I’ll be working with elderly clients who are dealing with depression, and facilitating a group of elderly people in partial hospitalization with mental health issues. It sounds interesting and my supervisor has years of experience in the field and in supervising. I’m a happy camper at the moment.

In addition to pouring my energies into coursework and completing the application process for fieldwork, I have been participating in the Cornel University Lab of Ornithology Feederwatch program for backyard bird watchers! It only requires a few hours each week and I derive great joy and relaxation from it. I have learned a lot about birds by participating in this program, plus I get to contribute data for Cornel University’s research on winter bird migration. It is great fun and quite interesting. At the end of this post I will post a few photos that were taken at the feederstation we set up in our back yard.

Time to get back to the studies. Papers are coming due, discussions need to be posted, and research has already begun for final projects of the quarter. Enjoy the photos. :-)

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

This was quite a challenge, one that I thought would pass me by. BUT, as you can see, I did find a photo-op that fits the bill! A few days ago I saw a bird out on the deck I had never seen before. It was rather illusive and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t seem to capture its image. Even when there were five or six of the birds, they didn’t hang around long enough for me to do my work! Then two days ago, I ventured out with the camera mounted on a tripod, sat stone still for a very long time hoping to see a bluejay, barely breathing, legs asleep and back aching, when one of the foreign birds lit nearby and began hopping around picking up seed and insects (I suppose) from the deck. Surprisingly, the little guy (or gal) hopped over close to where I sat, long enough for me to get the following shots. Later I pulled out my National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America to identify this beauty. I could find nothing that matched it in the northeastern US. I then checked out the bird application on by iPod, but nothing came up that matched. I returned to the field guide and searched through the book, page by page, until I found an image of what could be my bird. While the likeness was not exact, it was strikingly similar to the photos shown here.  The problem is that even though these are migratory birds, they are found only in the extreme southwestern US, and down into Mexico. How did they end up coming through northeastern Ohio? Take a look for yourselves. Maybe I’ve misidentified the bird. If so, help me out. But for now this bird looks like a Black Phoebe of the southwestern US and Mexico!

I never did get a shot of a bluejay. And the bird pictured here, along with its cohorts have left the area now, I guess on their way south . . . or to the southwest. Maybe they are some other type of bird that is more common to this area, but for now, to me, they are foreigners passing through. :-)

 

p.s. After searching further, I’m not so sure now about the identification of this bird. I’m looking to y’all to help me out. It may be a warbler of some sort, but it doesn’t match pictures in any of my bird books or apps.

A Welcome Break!

Another school quarter ends. I now have three weeks to rest, reflect, recuperate, and do some fun stuff! I’ll be checking on your blogs, too. I apologize for not making the rounds. I’ve discovered however, that as my coursework progresses, the demands increase and blogging becomes a back-seat priority (except for posting photos now and then…I can’t completely give up blogging!)

Unfortunately this quarter ended on a rocky note; Richard was rushed to the hospital during my finals week. He is now home and back to his usual schedule, but he did give me a scare. The first thing we did when my school break finally began was pack the camera and head out to the woods. Nature is the best therapy in the world for both of us. At one point we ventured onto a wooden platform jutting over the edge of a lily pond and stood in silence as we took in the view. It was late afternoon and the animals were feeding or sitting on logs sunning themselves. Late in the afternoon, even as birds flitted from one spot to another, a lazy quietness permeated the place. It was a mellow time for us both.

A Black-Capped Chickadee wings past in a blur, the summer/autumn colors of the foliage in the background offering a contrast to the blue-gray/black of blurred feathers that formed fluid lines of a bird in flight.

In fact birds filled our day with delight as we watched them feed in different ways!!

Red Winged Black Bird

Then we watched as the Blue Heron caught its meal for the night!

Not only did we watch birds, but fall colors painted the landscape providing a hint of what is to come in the weeks ahead!

By now we were ready to pack it in! Thanks for joining us on our walk in the woods. :-)

Lover’s Quarrel

It appears that Cardinals have one mate, maybe for life but I don’t know that for sure. Recently I have paid close attention to two Cardinals that appear to be a couple. Each watches out for the other and if one is at the bird feeder it will call the other one to come enjoy a morsel or two as well. The male Cardinal appears to be protective of the female Cardinal, at times shooing other birds away when the female is at the bird feeder. But all is not bliss. One day I watched as what appeared to be a lover’s quarrel ensued! They did not chase each other off, but they were certainly animated in their discussion with each other as they went back and forth, vigorously fluttering wings and cawing the other. Both seemed intent on getting in the last word. One would fly a short distance away but would immediately return to continue the ‘discussion.’ See for yourself!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evidently she had had enough!

 

The Lazy Days of Summer are HERE!

 

Summer is the time to be outside as much as possible. So I am. Outside, that is. It is easier this year to stay out-of-doors than in the past because now we have our place. I LOVE to garden and it has been years since I’ve been able to dig in the dirt and plant and watch things grow or sit on a porch and watch the chipmunks at play. I still have my studies, but when my head is not in the books or I’m not writing a paper, I am outside watering plants, mulching the flowerbed, digging up new garden plots, etc. I imagine that is the way it will be for the rest of the summer. Growing things and watching a yard come to life is my idea of heaven! So out in the yard is where you’ll find me even on the hottest of days.This year the yard may look bare and scraggly, but next year we should see the beginnings of what promises to be lush gardens.

Russian Sage and Lavender: The beginnings of a butterfly and hummingbird garden.

What my cone flowers will look like next year!

Echinacea (a.k.a. Yellow Cone Flowers). Planted next to the purple cone flowers. Mine will look beautiful, too, next summer. :-)

These tiger lilies grew in our yard this year. My sister-in-law gave me more day lilies to add to these for next year.

This is one of my peonies this year. My sister-in-law gave me more to add to the few that I have, and of a different color, too. I can’t wait to see my peony garden next year!

A rose-bush grows beside the deck but it has not been pruned for years. I will cut the bush back this fall so that next year roses will fill the branches with healthy, fragrant blooms.

We have at least three rhododendrons in our yard! I cut them back at the beginning of summer and new growth has already sprouted. :-)

There’s more but these are the photos I have. If you have suggestions of what might look good in the yard for next year, please do tell! ;-) I have a big yard and it will take a few years to create a real garden with veggies, flowers, trees, and other wildlife. I plan to make some “proper” birdbaths to place out in the yard next year, something other than old pie tins that I found lying around. I also have ideas for various bird feeders with different food to attract birds of all kinds. And yes, I’ll also put up a squirrel feeder for my furry friends. Do you think that will keep the squirrels out of the bird food?

I’m not around the blogosphere as much these days. On one hand I miss my regular blogging routine. On the other hand, who wants to be inside all day every day when the sun shines, the temperatures are warm and the out-of-doors beckons? Thank you to those of you who check in on Inspired Vision regularly, or just pop in occasionally. Once the cold weather and dreary days return, I’ll jump back into my blogging habits. Until then, enjoy the summer. I know I am. :-)

 

A New Day!

Birds are chirping outside my window and the sun rays brighten the landscape of our back yard. Bees buzz around the rose-bush, and the tiger lilies that grow along the side of the garage are in full bloom. A breeze ruffles the leaves of the Oak tree that grows along the back or our property. A mother rabbit, followed by her bunny, hop across the yard quickly going from the pile of brush behind the garage to the shelter under our deck. Squirrels have already made their morning run to the bird feeder, and now many species of birds are joyfully enjoying the feast and playing in the makeshift birdbaths. A chipmunk scurries across the deck and I feel lighthearted as I quietly observe the morning activities in our back yard. Finally I have completed ten grueling weeks of study and am free to enjoy this new day unencumbered. What joy. I have missed blogging, really blogging. I have missed visiting your blogs. Thank you to those of you who continued to pop in now and then to see how I was doing. For those who haven’t stopped by, I am anxious to renew old acquaintances. Hopefully future quarters will not take as severe a toll on my husband and me as this one has. But I don’t need to worry about that now because for three weeks I am free. :-)

After a little R & R, I have so much to share with you. And I look forward to getting caught up with y’all and what you have done and are blogging about, too. Have a great day and I will be seeing you around. ;-)

Gone to the Birds!

I need to be studying. The nearer I get to the end of this quarter, the more pressure to produce papers and discussion posts and peer responses . . . and more. But today is beautiful. The sun is shining–a rarity in this part of the world!–and now that the squirrels are finding food elsewhere, the birds are beginning to come around. They are more difficult to photograph because, unlike the squirrels, they are not used to my presence through the window and they dart away the second I come into view. But that is ok, because I have to study anyway. I don’t have time for birds. REALLY, I don’t! . . . Well, maybe a shot or two, if I am quick enough.

Hours later, I simply had to close the blinds so that I could get some work done. The birds and the sunshine were simply too distracting. I didn’t get many shots although I tried. Of the shots I did get, I doubt that any would win awards. But here are a few of the best. Maybe in the coming days the birds won’t  spook so easily when I decide to snap their portraits. :-)

Enjoy!

 

Inquiring glance . . .

As you know, I put out bird seed at the beginning of the winter in hopes of attracting birds to my window sill. But to my dismay a squirrel showed up instead. I’m not complaining though, because the little fellow endeared himself to us with his daily visits and cute antics, many of which I caught on camera and have shared here. My furry friend has not been around for the last few days, however. Quite to my surprise, a few birds have flitted here and there, taken a few seeds then flown off. This morning, I happened to have my camera and caught this gorgeous guy looking at me as if to ask why I was there. I was only able to get one shot before he flew off. Thankfully I had the camera set on automatic. So, here is the photo for your enjoyment!