Rambling travelogs from a world traveler

Sunday, February 7, 2010

This winter

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." ~ Robert Frost, "The Death Of The Hired Man"

Gentle Readers and Loved Ones,

As I've observed before, I started this blog to share interesting stories and observations about my travels with you. I did not travel much in January as my low level of seniority caused my Vacation bid to 'win' two weeks of vacation in one month - January. As you might surmise, few Anchorage domiciled pilots wish to have their vacation fall in the deep, dark, Alaskan winter. Therefore, I have not had a recent trip worthy of a post.

I have come to understand that one does not have to travel to see new and fascinating things.

The recent 'Snowmageddon' in the northeast US may have given some of you a taste of this. I realized this when my cousin - a frequent contributor and reader of this blog - sent me an email. He lives in a lovely location on the Chesapeake Bay - a locale one does not often associate with Winter Wonderlands. Here is his picture and email:

If you enlarge this photo, you will see a group of small birds near a large tree. It was snowing so hard their normal sources of food would be covered up. They are there because we scattered seed on the snow. But the snow buried that fairly fast too. The leaning metal disc you see to the right was a makeshift food shelter. It worked great. The birds shuttled, actually appeared to take turns, going down into the cavity where we put food that wouldn't be covered over. I like the picture enough (enlarged) it just might be our Christmas card this year. ~ Rex L. Fuller III

On the other hand, my wife and I do live in a place that is a Winter Wonderland.

Ann has been a provider of winter 'bird welfare' ever since we moved to Minnesota ten years ago. She learned this from her Mom and Dad who have had bird feeders for decades. Her feeders are on our deck just outside our dining room window and she loves to watch the birds. She gets special joy when the infrequent Pileated Woodpecker comes visiting.

The link to the Pileated says they are big birds. That is an understatement. This picture is the wallpaper on her desktop computer.

She also loves it when the Cardinals come to visit.

We are lucky enough to live on the edge of very large county park system and there is a wilderness very close by full of wild and ferocious fauna. Ann had been in the habit of keeping the bird seed outside on the deck in a galvanized 5 gallon aluminum can with a lid.

She went out one morning to replenish the bird seed and found this:

Mama Raccoon had discovered the mother lode of seed and moved her family right in. We still wonder how she managed to get the lid off of the can but it explained the loud thump in the dark of night. Mama was watching fearfully from nearby.

Ann says she got up one night when I was on a trip, flipped on the lights and caught the Raccoon standing on the rail, with bird feeder tipped up in both hands, pouring the seed into its mouth. Note how fat the Raccoons are.

On that happy note, I remain,

Dad / Geoff


bastinptc said...

Bungee cord the lid.

Love the pics of the birds.

Brook and George Whisler said...

GREAT pics, love the cardinal.