Fiery Sunset

orange skyI couldn’t take my eyes off this beautiful sunset. It looks like an autumn scene, but it’s actually springtime.

Linking to Skywatch Friday.

Snapping Turtle Emergence

Today was the day this snapping turtle emerged to welcome spring. It had just climbed up a grassy bank from its overwintering area and was beginning to cross the tow path when we spotted it.
snapper walk
Step by step, it crossed over the path toward the canal.
snapper crossing
Bicyclists and hikers stopped to let it go by.
crossing the path
Then it quickly proceeded down a short bank — splash!
almost in the canalThe snapping turtle made it to the water and was out of human sight.

A Dove’s Springtime Nap

The springtime sun sure feels good after a long, cold winter. Why not enjoy the weather fully by finding a nice comfortable sunny spot to relax in? This mourning dove took that advice and was tucked away in a secluded corner of our backyard.
mourning dove
But after the dove starts enjoying the warmth and comfort…
mourning dove
…naturally it begins to feel sleepy, very sleepy.
mourning dove
There’s no fighting that sleepy feeling. It’s time for a springtime nap!
mourning dove nap

Springing Up

Oh the glorious beginning of spring. So nice to see some green sprouting up. Or should I say “springing” up?springing up

Winter Remnant

It’s the first full day of spring but winter’s snow remains. Here are a few photos from today’s walk near Duke Island Park and the Raritan River in New Jersey.frozen canal

tree reflection

raritan river

bridge

Hawk’s Breakfast

hawk with grackleA few mornings ago, I walked into the backyard to put something away; suddenly a hawk flew from the grass, right in front of me, up into a tree branch. The spot where he had been on the lawn was covered with the feathers of a grackle. The feathers were fresh. I left momentarily to get my camera and returned to take a few photos of the hawk in the tree before it decided to fly away. I didn’t realize until I downloaded the pictures (and could look at them closely) how fresh those grackle feathers really were — the grackle’s body was being firmly held underneath the hawk. I had interrupted the hawk’s breakfast. The grackles had only returned to our backyard in the past week or so after being absent all winter. The hawk must have been thrilled with their recent return!
hawk with kill

Woodpecker Glimpse

So happy to catch a glimpse of a pileated woodpecker the other day. He was busily moving up and down a large tree trunk in the woods, but I wasn’t able to get an unobstructed photo. They truly are the jackhammers of the forest.pileated woodpecker

Hawk’s Backyard Behavior

backyard hawk

Backyard Hawk

Most of the time, when hawks visit our backyard with lunch in mind, they follow the same pattern of behavior. They position themselves on a high tree branch, in an incognito location, quietly waiting to see what prey moves around down below. Not so, with the hawk that stopped by the backyard today. He perched on the most prominent lower branch of the tree, right in the center of the yard. This branch is only a foot or so above the hanging suet cages and is adjacent to where the bird feeders are. After only a minute or two of sitting and looking around (while I hung out of the sliding glass door and quickly took some photos) the hawk dove directly into the nearby spruce tree where the sparrows like to hide. It vanished completely from view for a few seconds, but came out of the tree empty-handed (or empty-sparrowed) and flew away.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Split Second Story

golden glow split secondThe sunset was quite pretty at the park last night, but that goldeny-glow on the park bench lasted only a short while, a.k.a. a split second. A few quick clicks on my camera and the glow was gone. See other interpretations of the “Split Second Story” theme at: Weekly Photo Challenge.

Pothole Bathing

pothole bathrobin bathWe have two areas in our yard where birds in the neighborhood can get freshened up on a dusty day. In front, there is a large stone birdbath. In the rear, we have a small pond with a very shallow stream of water running over a ledge. Many birds land by the pond and walk over to the ledge for a quick rinse. By far, however, the all-time favorite bathing spot is the pothole in the street in front of our house. Every time it rains and water collects in the hole, a variety of birds come – some solo, some in small groups – to bathe. Maybe the hole is the perfect depth and width to attract them, or maybe they just like muddy rainwater, whatever the reason, it attracts more visitors than the birdbath and the pond.grackle bath

Sunset Fence

picket fence sunset
Linking to “Good Fences” at Run-A-Round Ranch.

Reblog: The Song Sparrow’s Friend (or Foe?)

Reblog: The Song Sparrow’s Friend (or Foe?).