Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bald Male Northern Cardinal

 I have many Northern Cardinals who visit my feeder daily like this handsome fellow.

I've come to know a few, especially an older couple who come early morning and late evening for their meals and who regularly bring their fledglings.

But I was surprised one afternoon to find this bald male at my feeder. To see his head denuded of feathers alarmed me. 

I had seen molting in Cardinals, where individuals would lose a few feathers at a time to be replaced by new, but I had not seen molting to this degree.

I felt a pang of sympathy for him. He wasn't the best looking bird but otherwise appeared healthy as he seemed to have a good appetite enjoying sunflower seeds.

I kept a watch for him over several weeks to see if his feathers were growing in and, to my dismay, it did not look as if he were improving. 

I was concerned for him because, instead of an unusual molt pattern that he might be exhibiting, he could be suffering from feather mites or parasites. Not a good thing to have.

This past Tuesday evening, I was happy to see that he brought a lady friend to dine with him.

I carefully watched the happy couple and, closely examining his head, it looked as though his feathers are returning. 

This is a good thing.  And a satisfying thing for the soul to see, that no matter what you look like, love bloom.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


This little guy stopped by my front porch one day to say "Howdy!" It's a Carolina Anole. He was curious about me and would move his head back and forth while I spoke and seemed to enjoy posing for the picture. He delighted me with his antics as he scampered about peeking from here and there.

In researching the Carolina Anole, I was amazed to find they are related to the Iguana. Who would have thought that here in North Carolina we have a reptile related to an Iguana?

Here's some other critters I've found around my property.

Look at those eyes and the length of the legs and antenna. What a creature!

I believe it's a cricket or, in the cricket family. I tried to identify him with no success but the images I looked at of other crickets were similar in appearance and characteristics. If you know what he/she is, please let me know.

This is a lovely Red Spotted Purple butterfly enjoying the pollen on my rose bushes.

Here's some nice closeups of the proboscis.

Here's another butterfly, an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, enjoying the pollen on my lilies.

I wrote a previous post about Creatures around my home.

It's amazing the amount of biodiversity I find on my small piece of property.

No matter where I go, whether far afield or right in my yard, nature never fails to disappoint. I always am presented with something new and wondrous. And lately I've been exploring my little piece of property more and more to find out who, too, lives here. It's been quite a discovery.

Walk out your door, take a look around and see what you find. I am sure you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Granddaddy of the Northwest Tree Faces

In my last blog entry Faces on Northwest Trees, I wrote about faces I had seen on trees while hiking at Mt. Rainier and Olympic National Park.

I inadvertently left out the Granddaddy of them all!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Faces on Northwest Trees

Can you see faces on these trees?

While hiking around Mt. Rainier and the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park in Washington State, I was struck by the number of faces I saw as I looked into the forest. The phenomenon is called pareidolia where the mind takes random data and sees a pattern.

See if you can see what I did. I'll give you a hint for each image (or for greater challenge don't read the hint), then below each image, I'll provide a closeup shot and circle on the tree where I saw a face.

Have fun and let me know how you do.

From Mt. Rainier

Image #1
Hint: Look at the center of the image.

Look at how you can clearly see the eyes, nose, mouth and eyebrows. Especially the eyes. Uncanny, isn't it?

Image #2
Hint: Look at the center of the image about one-third up from the bottom. The face is small so look closely.

I see an elongated face with a long and big nose. Do you?

From Olympic National Park, Hoh Rain Forest

Image #3
Hint: Look at the very top of the dead tree at image center. (Dead trees are also called "Snags.")

Can you believe it?! Do you see the face? He or she is looking up with eyes closed seemingly enjoying the sun on his/her face. I can even see horns like that of a Minotaur. Wow.

Image #4
Hint: Look at the center snag about one-fourth down from the top.

See the eyes looking to the left? I also see a bit of a frown or a tiredness on this face.

Then there was this guy who kept hanging around. Look at all that hair draped over his eyes with his nose sticking out.

Hint: Nearly middle of the image.

Can't see him? Scroll down.

What a dude!

The beauty of these ancient forests is breathtaking and worth preserving. I could feel the wisdom standing among these old trees. They are a true treasure of the Earth.

With a tad of wishful thinking, I couldn't help but muse that perhaps these faces are indeed the watchers of the forest.

Could they all be the Lorax? 

"Hey, hey! I-I'm the Lorax! Guardian of the forest." 
~Dr. Seuss

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Red, White and Blue from Mt. Rainier

A red - "Harsh Paintbrush"

A white - "Vanilla Leaf"

A sort of blue - "Violet"
These lovely wildflowers were taken at Mt.Rainier in early June. These early bloomers are merely forerunners to what is to come as Mt. Rainier explodes with wildflowers in a spectacular array of colors and variety during July-August. But their beautiful colors are a nice salute to the 4th of July.

Mt. Rainier, a mountain seductive in its beauty, compelling in its height that induces a sense of the worthiness of a challenge.                                                                                                                              

Happy Fourth of July to all.
And, Freedom to all.