National Weed Appreciation Day on March 28th each year reminds us that some weeds are beneficial to us and our ecosystem. Humans have used weeds for food and herbs for much of recorded history. Some are edible and nutritious, while other weeds have medicinal value.
March Racing clouds and whistling winds, Coats flapping in the breeze, Bright kites circling in the skies, The dance of swaying trees, The cheerful sight of crocuses, The first sweet breath of spring – Just part of all the many moods The month of March can bring.
It began to snow at around 8 o’clock last night. When I looked out of the window at midnight, I could see the accumulation of snow for the last four hours. And it kept coming down heavily. This morning, Kevin used the snow blower for the first time this Winter season. He was so excited.
When I came out of the house, the snow fell off the trees and shrubs this afternoon. It was mild enough for the snow to melt from our house roof and off the greenhouse roof as well. The dogs and Joshua were the only pets going outside. Chewbacca and Ozzy wanted nothing to do with it. When Joshua’s paws were wet enough, he came the dogs back into the house. It’s no fun having snowy paws being a cat.
This morning was extremely foggy. And the fog stuck around when it began to rain around noon. It was wet. But it wasn’t cold. Our neighbor made sure all the critters were fed in his yard. As soon as he poured some bird seeds, the Black-capped Chickadees and White-breasted Nuthatches arrived in his yards. We had a lot of fun watching them. I guess, it is time to get more seeds for the small critters and apples for the ‘possum and deer.
Yesterday around noon, it started to snow. The snow covered the trees and grounds. But it didn’t stick to the asphalt yet. So, the streets stayed pretty clear until dusk.
This morning looked completely different. We have a Winter Wonderland in December. And it looks so beautiful. All night, the snow plow trucks kept cleaning up the streets. Kevin was up and cleaned the driveway at 5 o’clock. Sara couldn’t sleep and she took over for Kevin. He needed to get ready for work. Sara had a 2-hour school delay. so, she kept pushing snow off the driveway until it was clean.
This week it was unseasonably warm during the days in Connecticut. The nights were cold, which brought a lot of moisture. And therefore, we had to deal with some fog in the morning. The forest looked very enchanted; especially with celebrating Halloween/Samhain and Dìa de Los Muertos/Day of the Dead in the same week. A lot of leaves have been falling, and some of the trees are bare and look dead, which adds to the spooky appearance.
The White-winged Doves (Zenaida asiatica) – also known as Singing or Mesquite Doves – are large, semi-tropical, and pigeon-like doves that occur naturally in the Americas. They are sometimes considered conspecific (one and the same species) with the West Peruvian Dove (Zenaida meloda); however, differences in vocalizations and morphology are credible arguments against this theory. In fact, they may best be placed into the bird genus Columba (typical pigeons) than the dove genus Zenaida (American doves).
White-winged Doves occur naturally in the United States from the Southwest east to Texas and Louisiana, south to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, into parts of western South America. Introduced populations have established themselves in Florida, USA. They have been increasing their range northward. In fact, they have been reported as far north as Alaska to Ontario, Maine, Newfoundland, and most places in between. Most of them are seasonally migratory. They breed in the United States and northern Mexico and travel south to Mexico, Central and South America, and some Caribbean islands for the winter. However, those populations occurring in areas where food is available year-round – in the southern parts of their range – tend to be year-round residents. They inhabit scrub, woodlands, desert, citrus orchards, agricultural fields, and residential areas throughout their range. Many farmers in Mexico refer to them as “la plaga” (the plague) as large flocks – sometimes thousands of them – may descend upon a single field of grain, and decimate it (particularly after the breeding season).
Every day, the colors change in our yard and in our forest. I love how everything turns to gold, orange, and maroon. Colorful vines creep along the tree trunks, mushrooms grow on the fallen trees, berries become ripe and their skins split open. The colors of Autumn are so beautiful. 🍁🍄
White-tailed Deer have long, slender legs, prominent ears, and large liquid brown eyes set off against thick white eye rings. Whitetails have a shiny black nose contrasting with a whitish nose band. The chin is white and edged on either side with a wide band of dark hair. The throat area is also white or grayish.
The deer’s prominent ears are edged in a dark color contrasting with white hair on the inside. The ears are often in motion; they can swivel independently of each other to capture sound from multiple directions and pinpoint the sound’s exact location.
The deer’s underparts, including its belly and the inner portions of its upper legs, are white. The rump and underside of the tail are also white. When alarmed, the deer flashes its tail, and the white hairs on its rump flare out, giving rise to the name “white-tail.”
Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas, is the festival of the First Harvest. It’s held from the 1st to the 2nd of August, halfway between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. This festival is named after the Celtic God Lugh It focus on the First Harvest of crops and offering them to the Deities.
A couple of years ago, I saw a cooper’s hawk landing in our tree, to watch some small birds eating their seeds. I was very impressed by the size of this bird. After I did some research, I found out that little birds are the main diet of this hawk. So, by filling up the bird feeders I attracted the little birds, and therefore I attracted the cooper’s hawk. Back then I could capture a couple of photos of this beautiful animal, before it flew away.
Today, I had the same scenario: I filled up the feeders for the little birds. Some mourning doves, a common starling, and about a dozen house sparrows were munching those seeds away, when a cooper’s hawk landed in one of the trees in our yard. It observed the birds. But when it saw me, it flew off into the neighbor’s tree.
Cooper’s hawks are beautiful, but very shy birds. I also read a lot of reports about cooper hawks visiting the yards around this time of the year. And today was my lucky moment, again.
Bright red with a pointed head crest and black bib, male cardinals are always a welcome sight at bird feeders. Cardinals are year-round residents in the eastern two-thirds of Texas. They prefer thick underbrush for nesting. Cardinals have been expanding their range northward.
Both male and female cardinals sing almost year-round. Common calls include “cheer cheer cheer”, “whit-chew whit-chew whit-chew” and “purty purty purty”. Cardinals eat seeds, fruit, and insects, and are easily attracted to bird feeders, especially those containing sunflower seeds.
Male cardinals vigorously defend their territory. They have been known to attack their reflections in mirrors, windows and chrome. Sometimes they will even attack small red objects they mistake for other males. Females usually sing after males establish territory but before nesting starts. A cardinal’s nest consists of a tightly woven cup of roots, stems and twigs lined with fine grass and hair.
Cardinals are colorful, tolerant of people, have pleasant calls, and are easily attracted to bird feeders. That has made them a favorite of backyard birdwatchers all over the eastern half of the U.S. Cardinals may form winter flocks of 60-70 birds. Their bright plumage brings color to our yards during the winter when many other species have flown south.
It began to rain in the early morning. And the rain lasted until the late morning hours. While I captured photos of droplets, a Northern Cardinal fledgling got confused and almost landed on me. Once it figured out, I wasn’t mommy or daddy it made a sharp turn and sat on the porch railing.
Today, it was a cool day. However, this weekend we are supposed to get temperatures in the mid-90s (35℃). It will feel just like Texas, before the weather cools down to the 70s on Monday.
The Eastern Fox Squirrel is the largest squirrel in the United States, about 20 inches (50 centimeters) long and weighs about two pounds (900 grams). It has dark grey fur on its back and tan fur on its belly. The tail is cinnamon/grey colored. Their feet are tan. Fox Squirrels got their name for their fur coat which resembles that of a gray fox.
April Songbirds’ joyful music, and the early springtime flowers, Colorful umbrellas opened wide for April showers. Days are brighter, hearts are lighter, promise fills the air – The gifts of April bring us special happiness to share.