So many birds were hanging out with us at Little Piney this weekend, I could scarcely let go of my camera and binoculars. The birds below were all photographed while visiting the feeders or within view of the feeders in the back yard on Saturday.
In addition, a noisy group of Cedar Waxwings landed in a pine tree for a few moments, distinctive with their high pitch call and saucy crests. The Pileated, a Downy, a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, and Red-bellied Woodpecker were all present at the same time providing a nice opportunity to compare differences in calls and hammering. The Yellow-bellied Sap Sucker sounds like a cat!
Bald Eagles and Great Egret
On Sunday, larger birds created the excitement. On the way down to the lake I spotted a first at Little Piney–two Bald Eagles soaring overhead. They circled several times, easily identified by an impressive size and shining white heads and tails. Too excited to grab my camera, I didn’t snap a photo until they were almost out of sight.
Next, out in the canoe, we saw a bright white spot in the distance that could only be a large white bird. As we approached the Great Egret keep one eye on us. I am always awed by the pure, glowing white of an Egret, the same as the white breast of an Osprey–so bright you can see it through the pines and know what it is before you can make out a shape. Most of my photos were out of focus because of the movement of the canoe, but I’m happy I got these two as the lovely bird flew. Notice the Egret’s long black feet! What an elegant, graceful creature in flight!
Lake’s New Look
The lake, which is really just a widened creek, has been rearranged by the recent rains. A few trees lost their footing and slid into the water; the low branches we usually dodge disappeared while there were new obstacles in new places. Banks are raw and muddy. Occasionally, ordinary backyards once screened by shore grass and yaupon startle us with bare exposure. We turn around at a Chinese Tallow bent so low that its branches form an impenetrable fence line across the creek.
The season has also changed the lake. Yellow elm leaves fall and catch the sun as they float on the dark water. Some have sails and spin or skim across the lake in unexpected directions . Although they are nonnative and deemed to be intrusive , Chinese Tallows cast lovely red reflections. (Why are we supposed to cut these down when they blend beautifully with the red yaupon berries and state “Fall” more loudly than any other tree?)
Stating the obvious, but I love the way nature presents in a different way each day. If you walk and look and mindfully observe what’s outdoors, you can be assured that life means change, every day is new, and boredom is impossible.