Male Yellow Shafted
I am so excited when birds return to Buckland-Walnut Hill. Right now we are on the plus side of sunlight, even though this April has been a white one. But here is the Northern Flicker. A woodpecker in fact.
Northern Flickers are large, brown woodpeckers with a gentle expression and handsome black-scalloped plumage. On walks, don’t be surprised if you scare one up from the ground. It’s not where you’d expect to find a woodpecker, but flickers eat mainly ants and beetles, digging for them with their unusual, slightly curved bill.
They breed in the South and summer here and other Northern spots.
Molting Time for the Male
Yesterday brought heavy snow frequented by heavy rain. The daffodils, snowdrops, tulips etal are covered. But we still abound with color and the long anticipated “Spring,” shows itself in the finch. The American goldfinch in my backyard, both male and female. Now is the male’s molting season.
American Goldfinches are the only finch that molts its body feathers twice a year, once in late winter and again in late summer. The brightening yellow of male goldfinches each spring is one welcome mark of approaching warm months.
For much of the year, distinguishing male and female American Goldfinches is easy (when the males show their brilliant yellow summer plumage, about March through September). Even in January and February many males have a few bright yellow feathers showing, but otherwise the gray-brown nonbreeding males can be hard to tell from females. There is very little difference between immatures and adults of each sex.
Males have really black wings with bright wing bars and feather edges, while the females have duller brownish-black wings with buffy or brownish-white wing bars and edges. This is pretty easy to judge, but it requires a bit of experience and judgment.
The “Frost House”, or the “Buckland House”
Those are the names used about our house. Buckland sprawls upward from the Falls to way up yonder where you can see forever. Upper Buckland is a special place. It’s between Walnut Hill and Snow Mountain. Well, sounds chilly but it is warmer than Heath-Ha.
These are shots of the relentless winter of 17-18. Doesn’t want to let go. Wind today, swirling snow and then the clouds part and we have a gift.
I am often taken into a calm by virtue of the Natural Consistency that surrounds us. Somehow we feel above it or not at all in the frequency of the Natural World, yet the creatures and the growth have a pulse and we are affected by it and are a part of it.
Pictured here, the early frequenters of the feeders. Angelic Junco and the Regal Male Cardinal. First in the morning dawn and last in the evening twilight.
Sky as the storm broke, rain stopped and the sun made a brief yet substantial demise. Life at the top.
Daily this pair frequents the feeders. Typically Cardinals like to be first and last at the feeders. Dawn’s break and deep into Dusk here at Walnut Hill in Buckland Ma.
Couple times a year the male goes from the aggressor; as in get away from the feeder, I’m first to: the seed bringer, and nurturer.
Northern cardinals are monogamous (one male mates with one female). However, they often choose a different mate each breeding season. Northern cardinals usually raise two broods a year, one beginning around March and the second in late May to July.
I have seen the Offspring. A thrill. I particularly like this female. She is bright and in harmony, it seems. Now again at this time, the male is attentive to the female.
The Northern Sky on Walnut Hill and the approaching Blue Moon, rising in the East. The time of turning is upon us. Warmer days, Deer Rubbings on saplings. Mud on the trails. Rivers and streams, especially Taylor Creek just below my house-rushing. The big cleanse.
On March 31st, not only will we experience a full moon in Libra, but a full blue moon. A blue moon is what we call the second full moon that we experience in any given month. Since we began the month with a full moon in Virgo, this lunation is a full blue moon because it will occur on the 31st of this month.