Our backyard wood rat. He pilfers birdseed from inside an overturned flower pot.
We have a new backyard visitor. Actually, he thinks he’s a long-term resident. A wood rat has been living in the yard for at least 6 months. For the past month or so, he’s been burrowed underneath a thick layer of snow and ice. Now that spring is coming and the snow is melting, the rat is no longer staying inside. We’ve been watching him prancing back and forth along his self-made trail. First, he runs straight from his den to the seeds that have spilled from the bird feeders. Then, he returns back to store the seeds inside. Today, he found a nice cache of seeds that had fallen inside an overturned flower pot.
The video below shows him racing back and forth to collect the seeds. You can see why they are called pack rats.
See other interpretations of the “Inside” theme at: Weekly Photo Challenge.
1. Setting the scene: Snow on the beach
2. Interaction: The snow has mostly melted near the rocks and ocean
3. Detail: Snow inside a seashell
See other interpretations of the “Threes” theme at: Weekly Photo Challenge.
This is THE place to hang out if you’re a black vulture. Linking to Friday’s Fences at Life According to Jan and Jer.
For a bird, a fence makes a great place for sunning your tail feathers after the snow.
Linking to Friday’s Fences at Life According to Jan and Jer.
Posted in Weather and Sky
Tagged birding, birds, fence, friday's fences, junco, nature, nature in New Jersey, photo, snow, sparrow, winter
We only have one wren that visits our backyard, but he makes his presence known very loudly!
See other “One” photos at: Weekly Photo Challenge.
Snow on the beach, but no owls
This trash sure looked like a snowy owl from a distance!
Lots of gulls, but no owls
A great blue heron on the path near the cove
A group of sanderlings
After reading all the news articles and blog posts about this year’s snowy owl irruption in coastal northeastern areas of the U.S., we decided it was our turn to see a snowy owl in the wild. So, earlier this week, on a very cold and windy day, we drove to Sandy Hook Gateway National Recreation Area in Highlands, New Jersey, to have a firsthand look. We chose to go to Sandy Hook because snowy owl sightings had been reported there. My eagerness was fanned even more after viewing some of the gorgeous snowy owl photos posted on Flickr by fortunate owl spotters.
Sandy Hook has several different beaches along the Atlantic Ocean for swimming, fishing and nude sunbathing(!), as well as a historic military area, nature/hiking/biking trails and a bay side. Since it was quite frigid, there were very few people at the park. At first, we explored some of the beach areas, then we headed toward Ft. Hancock. After that, we walked along a cove on the bay side. The scenery was beautiful. Unfortunately, we did not see any snowy owls, not even a quick glimpse of one. As a consolation for our owl-less outing, however, there were plenty of entertaining gulls, several great blue herons and a small group of sanderlings running back and forth with the waves.
Linking to “Friday’s Fences” at Life According to Jan and Jer.
Posted in Outdoor spots
Tagged beach, birding, fence, friday's fences, nature, nature in New Jersey, owl irruption, photo, sanderlings, Sandy Hook, snowy owl, wildlife
A foggy day near the Raritan River. Linking to “Friday’s Fences” at Life According to Jan and Jer.
This week’s Photo Challenge is “Let There Be Light.”
Especially when it’s cold out, that last bit of color in the sky is an extra welcome sight.
When the natural light is gone, a beam from a lighthouse directs the path.
The reflection of sunlight on the water is so peaceful.
See other photo interpretations of “Let There Be Light” at: Weekly Photo Challenge.
At the corner of the reservoir, in a secluded spot, the hunter (a.k.a. great blue heron) waits motionlessly for a morning meal. Linking to “Friday’s Fences” at Life According to Jan and Jer.
While taking a walk in the park, I found a little section by a fence that seemed to be bursting with autumn color — from the golden, end-of-day sunlight on the trees, to the carpet of fallen leaves. There was even a bench nearby for someone to sit and contemplate the scene. Linking to “Friday’s Fences” at Life According to Jan and Jer.
As I sit at the laptop and type, I am listening to a cacophony of blue jay calls in the backyard. Lately, I’ve been noticing groups of blue jays banding together in sound and purpose just about everywhere. Blue jays have always been one of the staple backyard birds of my New Jersey upbringing. I have a vague remembrance of my father being dive-bombed by a blue jay as he mowed the lawn – perhaps he ventured too close to a nest. During the last year, blue jays seemed noticeably absent. I would glimpse an occasional lone jay but, for the most part, the usual crowd at our feeders included sparrows and finches, eating their seeds without verbal interference from blue jays.
After experiencing firsthand some of the effects of Hurricane Sandy last year, I wasn’t surprised when I read recently about the impact the storm had on birds, mostly because of storm damage to either the bird’s habitat or food sources. An article from the National Wildlife Federation specifically mentions blue jays as one of the species that flew south in search of food after the storm. Based on my own casual observations, I think they’ve now returned back to the north!