One morning during the second week of November, I got up before dawn, and watched while the sun rose. It was beautiful, and there were the ducks, enjoying the early morning light, looking like black silhouettes against the peach-colored water. I feel blessed to see sights like this, when nature proclaims its beauty and glory.
The chickadees seem to remember me from last year; they are intensely curious about this human being who brings them sunflower seeds each morning. They like to sit in the pine trees near the feeder, and I caught one giving me a quizzical look one morning.
There is a titmouse that hangs out with the chickadees, and who comes to the feeder frequently. He seems quite a bit shyer than the ‘dees, but is starting to realize that I am no threat, and let me take his picture one morning when he had a seed in his mouth.
It seems as if the birds have a hierarchy of friendliness, with the chickadees the most outgoing (they make friends quickly and easily with those who feed them); followed by the titmice. Next, are the juncos; they are a bit slower to warm up to humans but I have seen them scratching under the pines when I sit and watch for awhile.
There is also a white-crowned sparrow that is coming regularly to eat. He is the next friendliest, and will search the ground for dropped seeds. I am a bit concerned, though; this fat little guy should have migrated south by now. I do hope he goes south before it gets too cold here.
Jay seem to be shyer than the others. They will peek out of trees, and are slow to warm up to humans. It’s almost as if they fear that their brilliant coloring makes them stand out, because they will sit high in the pines, watching the other birds eat, but will only come to the feeder after I go inside. I did happen to catch a picture of one lurking in the pines one day.
The cardinals have not come yet (that I have seen), but I am hoping that they will follow the example that the blue jays are setting, and join the picnic soon.
One evening, I saw the cutest bird with skinny little legs and took its photo. This is another one I want to look up; but the light wasn’t so great at that time of day, so I mainly have his silhouette as he perched on a stump.
One unseasonably warm day (thank goodness! I love it when the sun shines) I hiked with some friends around the bay. The geese are still here, although they take flight quickly when they see humans come by! They are lovely, and I feel sad knowing that soon the bay will freeze over, and they will be looking for unfrozen waters south of here.
During the hike, I saw the lone mallard again; he is still here! He had waded out to one of the many underwater rocks in the bay, and was standing on it. I was surprised that he wasn’t hanging out with the geese like he usually does, but maybe the search for food goes better when alone.
I also saw the pair of swans again, floating on the waters of the bay. They seem to like hanging around here, where the water is relatively protected from the winds and waves out on Lake Huron.
I also saw a wonderful sight: a young eagle flying overhead. He was swooping back and forth over the bay, looking for fish. I wonder if this juvie is related to the mature pair I saw perched in a tree earlier in the month? It seems as though as the weather gets colder, I see more eagles. Maybe there is less competition from the egrets and herons, or else they enjoy the protection of the bay this time of year. Regardless of why, I love watching these majestic birds fly using the high thermals.
At the end of the walk, I saw a flock of goldeneye ducks. They took off long before I got near, and I enjoyed watching them as they flew over the cold waters of the bay. Soon they too will be gone further south, until spring weather draws them back.
Now, as December draws near, I am seeing mainly chickadees (and hearing their “dee dee dee” call everywhere in the pines outside). I took a picture of one in a typical pose: with a sunflower seed in its mouth. They remind me of teenagers: sociable, chatty and ready to eat all day long!