Winter Wonderland: Part Two and a Mystery Solved!

Two snowfalls within two weeks! Could Ms. Jeannie be any luckier?

bird_cardinal

These past few days brought four inches of snow and about an inch of ice which was much more than last time. Again, Ms. Jeannie marveled at the icy landscape surrounding her house.

icy2

icy1

And  again the birds proved to be one of the most enchanting elements of the whole production.

bird5_cluster

Recently, Ms. Jeannie watched a documentary called Birders, which followed a batch of bird watchers for one year in Central Park.

It was beautifully filmed and full of interesting information regarding birds and migration but the one thing that Ms. Jeannie really took away from it was to look and really observe the types of birds that are flying in and out of her own surroundings everyday. There all types of interesting characters who are there for all different reasons.

So armed with this new sense of insight Ms. Jeannie was sure to take an extra close look at the birds buzzing about in the snow. With the white landscape it was much easier to see  and identify the different types that had come calling to the great fill-up station in the sky (aka the bird feeder).

So over the course of one snow day this is what she saw…

The House Finch originally from the American Southwest was introduced to the East Coast as a caged bird in the 1940's.  Now they are a common sight all across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The House Finch originally from the American Southwest was introduced to the East Coast as a caged bird in the 1940’s. Now they are a common sight all across the United States, Canada and Mexico. This one is a boy because of his red coloring – the females are just brown and white with speckles.
Mourning Dove. These are Ms. Jeannie's favorites in the yard because they mate for life.
Mourning Dove. These are Ms. Jeannie’s favorites in the yard because of the cooing sound that they make.

For the past few weeks Ms. Jeannie was a little worried about her dove pair because she just kept seeing one – but alas in the snow both showed up together.

Speaking of pairs – Ms. Jeannie’s yard is full of cardinal couples…

Male cardinal. The brighter the red the more attractive he is to the ladies:)
Male cardinal. The brighter the red the more attractive he is to the ladies:)
Female Cardinal. In the wild cardinals can live up to 15 years, and they are the official "state Bird" of seven states - the only species to carry such an honor.
Female Cardinal. In the wild cardinals can live up to 15 years, and they are the official “state bird” of seven states – the only species to carry such an honor.
Blue jay! They also mate for life and there is no color difference between boy and girl varieties.
Blue jay! They also mate for life and there is no color difference between boy and girl varieties.
Female House Finches
Chipping Sparrows – these are one of the most common birds with an estimated population of close to one billion.
The Red-Bellied Woodpecker - a fast flyer, Ms. Jeannie had to be quick with her camera.
A female Red-Bellied Woodpecker

She was a fast flyer and liked to hang upside down from the feeder. Ms. Jeannie usually saw her like this…

bird8_woodfly

And last but not least is the mystery solved of these black birds that have been flocking in the neighborhood for months now. Usually Ms. Jeannie will see hundreds descend on the lawn at once but each time she’d go get her camera they’d fly up to the tree tops.  Exactly one month ago today – she took these pictures…

manybirds1

manybirds2

In such large numbers as they were they made these very loud noises – like a huge stadium full of choral singers all singing at different times. Of course once the birds flew up high they were two far away to identify. But every time there was any threat of rain (or snow!) in the forecast here they’d come by the hundreds.

With the help of the snow and their swarm landing at the feeder, Ms. Jeannie was able to get an up close view of the bunch for an accurate indentification…

Brewer's Blackbirds!
Ta dah – Brewer’s Blackbirds!

In different light throughout the day the blackbirds tended to change colors from all black to dark dark brown with blue green heads…

brewer1

They weren’t shy when it came to sharing seed – that’s for sure. When they  took over the feeder – they really took it over – kicking all the other birds out of the area.  These birds were named after Massachusetts naturalist and author Thomas Mayo Brewer who was friends with fellow bird lover John James Audubon.

Thomas Mayo Brewer (1814-1880)
Thomas Mayo Brewer (1814-1880)

In addition to having a bird named after him Brewer also left behind other creature legacies that carry his name such as the hairy tailed mole (aka Brewer’s mole)…

Hairy Tailed Mole. Illustration courtesy of mnh.si.edu
Hairy Tailed Mole. Illustration courtesy of mnh.si.edu

and the very handsome Brewer’s Duck…

Brewer's Duck photograph courtesy of ofo.ca
Brewer’s Duck photograph courtesy of ofo.ca

Sounds like one lucky guy! If you could have an animal named after you, which would you choose? Ms. Jeannie would most probably pick a bird as well and if not an animal then a flower. If she were as lucky as Mr. Brewer then perhaps it could be both! 

Now that the great thaw is occurring today we are warming up once more here in the South and all the snow is melting away. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. Now we have the spring daffodils to look forward to. These little beauties  were not intimidated by this last blast of winter weather in the least. Looks like a season change is on its way!

daffodils

Winter Wonderland!

Oh dear readers, it finally came! Snow. Right here in the South.

s1

And nobody was more excited yesterday about this magical event then Ms. Jeannie.  Well except for the birds – they seemed positively thrilled with this wintertime treat too:) The bird feeder was aflutter with activity all day long.

birds

As the snow snow started to accumulate and the sky grew darker – the cardinals came for a visit and decorated one of the crepe myrtles just like it was a christmas trees and they were the ornaments.

bird1

Nothing brings out of every detail in the yard like a little bit of snow…

bird2

bird8

bird7

bird6

bird5

bird12

The total accumulation was one inch, which is pretty paltry compared to our northern neighbors,  but when it only snows  once every 3 or 4 years here that seems like a blizzard 🙂

Ms. Jeannie believes that this was BoyO’s first introduction to snow.

s3

Frankly – he didn’t quite seem to care for it so much –  preferring, instead, to dream about the snow here…

s4

As you can see he has flawlessly worked his way from being a summer stray (okay stay but outdoor only, please!)  to  being an indoor kitty that now occasionally visits the great outdoors. How clever of him!  At least he has wonderful house manners:)

Ms. Jeannie hopes that everyone is having a wonderful start to the New Year. It’s been quiet on the blog all month as Ms. Jeannie has been especially busy this month working on her vintage book of the month club which now has close to 80 members. Goodness gracious. It’s fun to know so many new readers:)

In the next post – you’ll see that another of Ms. Jeannie’s wishes (in addition to a good snowfall!) came true this past Christmas thanks to the lovely and talented Mr. Jeannie. Stay tuned…