This time of year, I try to keep an eye on this pond alongside the road. Depending upon the time of day, it is often covered with lily pads.
It’s not uncommon to see Blue Herons fishing for dinner in the early evening.
Earlier this week, instead of the more familiar blue grey plumage of the Heron, this brilliant white fellow stood patiently waiting for someone tasty to swim within the range of his lightening quick beak.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology www.allaboutbirds.org website reports:
The elegant Great Egret is a dazzling sight in many a North American wetland. Slightly smaller and more svelte than a Great Blue Heron, these are still large birds with impressive wingspans. They hunt in classic heron fashion, standing immobile or wading through wetlands to capture fish with a deadly jab of their yellow bill. Great Egrets were hunted nearly to extinction for their plumes in the late nineteenth century, sparking conservation movements and some of the first laws to protect birds.
A spark of orange drew our attention to the forest floor. There, a red giant sun within a constellation of green VanGogh stars.
In a stunning display of solidarity with their outdoor cousins, these orchids recently burst a half dozen swollen buds into beautiful blooms.
Fed on Sundays with three ice-cubes, these guests seem to have found their window.
Comes a sense of comfort from seeing the chaos of individual haystalks, processed into rows of hay, transformed into orderly packages, left randomly arrayed.
Even more so than usual, any gaze cast on the neighborhood illuminates beauty.
Far across the valley, buds, impatient to leaf, nearly glow white, yellow, gold, rust, and every shade of green.
Light green conifer tips shed brown husks that had jacketed them since late Autumn.
Now pollen clouds puff from limbs like powder, like snow did this Winter when wind first picked up ending a snowfalls calm.
Nearby flowerbeds promise Peonies, explode with Periwinkle, begging the question “to where is venomous Myrtle running?”.
In between near and far, Lilacs range every purple shade of which they are capable.
Grey squirrels frequent the yard. It’s always nice to see their big fluffy tails. It’s not uncommon to see squirrels with near hairless tails especially in town, where they dine on lead wires or flashing.
A couple of years ago, red squirrels chewed their way into the garden shed and wreaked havoc gnawing and nesting nearly everywhere!
This handsome fellow is the first black squirrel I’ve ever noticed in the yard. I hope that he is well behaved, and visits often!
The black squirrel occurs as a “melanistic” subgroup of both the eastern gray squirrel and the fox squirrel. Their habitat extends throughout the Midwestern United States, in some areas of the Northeastern United States, eastern Canada, and also in the United Kingdom. The overall population of black squirrels is small when compared to that of the gray squirrel. The black fur color can occur naturally as a mutation in populations of gray squirrels, but it is rare. The rarity of the black squirrel has caused many people to admire them, and the black squirrels enjoy great affection in some places as mascots. In several U.S. states, as well as in Canada and the United Kingdom, black squirrels have been introduced into the wild in the hope of increasing their numbers.
Seems like clouds and moguls are made of the same stuff, taking similar shapes on slopes and sky.
A ski patroller commutes to work to do morning chores under a blue sky punctuated only by the setting moon, over a three foot thick blanket of snow left by Stella, “A storm of a lifetime”.
Autumn has it’s vibrant reds and yellows, Summer it’s deep greens in countless shades, Spring, it’s optimistic whites and yellows.
Winter paint’s it’s sky pastel, cool and subtle.
The past week has been a stretch of fine Winter weather. For some, a bit too blustery, cold and snowy.
And for some of us, just about perfect…
Several inches of natural snow are resting in the neighborhood. Seasonably warm, clear weather over the weekend and perfect snow conditions on the slopes of Elk Mountain and in the neighborhood woods is the perfect setup for enjoying the outdoors.
No plans? Wander over to Trail head at Rail-Trail Office in Union Dale, Pa @ 1pm ,February 18th , Saturday and enjoy a Discovery Walk with Jim Kessler & Winter Bingo. Details at http://www.nepa-rail-trails.org
One way or another, get out and enjoy the best combination of weather and snow in years!