Life Goes On

Everywhere we look, there is life going on, even at the microscopic level. Spend a few minutes outdoors and look around. From foliage to tiny critters moving around and about, our existence is full of life; isn’t that wonderful? I have been observing a Mama Bird caring for her babies for the past three weeks or so, and I have avoided using the side entrance so I would not disturb them. At first, I thought there were two abandoned nests in each of the flower pots hanging at each side of the entrance, although one of the nests seemed as if it was started and left halfway through undone. It is a shady and cool area, and I have not been able to grow anything on those pots despite several attempts, so this year I placed artificial flowers inside. I noticed that the halfway done nest disappeared and the other one seemed bigger and fuller. I assumed it was being built, and the nest material was being used, so I let it be. Later on, I would see Mama Bird flying back and forth, and chirping; later on, I heard a few chirps but did not want to go near the area in fear that I would scare the birds. On Saturday, I did not hear anything, or see any movement, and on Sunday, I discovered an abandoned nest. Wanting to preserve this lovely memory, I sat down and attempted to paint the flower pot with a few watercolor pencils I have around.

The nest is behind the artificial foliage.
My rendition, although I did it by memory. I thought the flowers were purplish and fewer, and the pot ornament is the one on the opposite flower pot, which have fewer flowers. I guess age creeps on you.

It was relaxing, and I preserved a beautiful memory. I used to draw and paint when I was a kid, and for some reason that I cannot recall, I suddenly stopped. As a young adult, I tried to get back to it but was hesitant for some unexplained reason that puzzles me and I cannot comprehend. In my late twenties, I even bought an easel, several types of paints, and other materials but always felt something stopping me, and it all sat waiting for me to pick it up. I carried the stuff from place to place. On my last move, I got rid of 70 percent of my stuff, but for some reason, I could not let go of the painting materials. I had attempted a few drawings and paintings, on and off, but It wasn’t until a few years back before my last move that I started, and I pushed myself to paint something, despite my “hesitation.” It has been very diluted and sporadically, rudimentary, but I am feeling a bit more at ease with it. I cannot recall why I stopped, or anything negative associated with painting or drawing, other than a teacher in third grade making a big deal in front of the class because I painted blue hair on a coloring book. Another teacher telling me in class that it wasn’t me who did the drawing on a novel we were reading in 7th grade (we were supposed to draw or paint a scene), even when it was all me. So I have no clue as why I stopped painting suddenly, but I intend to keep on painting something from now on, and enjoying it. For some reason, it feels as if I picked up where I left off. No Picasso here, just the joy of it. Life goes on in ways more than one.

Just Around the Corner

Yes! Spring is just around the corner. I have observed more and more birds arriving. The other day, a large flock of starlings arrived. I called them crazy birds because they don’t stop moving, and sometimes they look like they are having a bad hair day. They are a bit hard to photograph, but they are as adorable as any. The flock was large and it covered the front and back lawns. If they heard any noise or a car went by, they all took flight and descended a few seconds later, all at once, lovely to watch. One of the cats enjoyed the show.

Starlings – Photo by M.A.D.
Busy, busy, busy. (Photo by M.A.D.)
Here you can see their gorgeous iridescence. (Photo by M.A.D.)
Taking flight. Can you find the squirrel on the tree? (Photo by M.A.D.)

Hope you enjoyed seeing the pictures of these amazingly synchronized birds.

A Few Visitors

December and January have not been as cold and I have been observing more birds than usual around here, so I take it as a sign that it will be a mild winter. The forsythia is in full bloom, all covered in yellow flowers that did not shriveled with the frost and ice we had or the light snow that never stuck on the ground. The rose bush still has some buds and even a few flowers. Temperatures at night have been in the mid 20s and during the day in the 40s and 50s, with the occasional 30s in the mix. Not bad at all. The birds have been a very welcomed sight that has help me cope with all the sadness and craziness that is going around in our country. My faith has been an anchor, but watching these little ones go on and about with their day and routine has been a pleasure. Nature, as always, has given more than expected, and I have tried to find beauty in everything that surrounds me. I will share a few images with you, and I hope that these bring you joy as well.

The magic of an icy day. (Photo by M.A.D.)
Golden sunsets (Photo by M.A.D.)
The glow of a beautiful moon (Photo by M.A.D.)
The colors of a brand new day (Photo by M.A.D.)
The beauty of a chimney on a cold day (Photo by M.A.D.)
An old light post in the early hours (Photo by M.A.D.)
A gorgeous December moon (Photo by M.A.D.)
A kitty cat sunbathing (Photo by M.A.D.)
Our latest visitor in the early hours (Photo by M.A.D.)
Nothing says December and January like a beautiful Cardinal (Photo by M.A.D.)
The gorgeous orange of a Robin Photo by M.A.D.)
The cutest of them all. Noticed the green grass? Another sign of a mild winter? (Photo by M.A.D.)
Another cutie (Photo by M.A.D.)
A delicious meal for this little one (Photo by M.A.D.)
Ornamental grass seeds are yummy too (Photo by M.A.D.)
An unexpected punch of color (Photo by M.A.D.)
The word adorable (Photo by M.A.D.)
Taking a break from wood pecking (Photo by M.A.D.)
Can you find me? (Photo By M.A.D.)
Wearing a petticoat (Photo by M.A.D.)
Without words (Photo by M.A.D.)
First time seeing this one around (Photo by M.A.D.)
Unexpected (Photo by M.A.D)
These berries are favored by many birds (Photo by M.A.D.)
Blending with nature (Photo by M.A.D.)
The beginning of another day (Photo by M.A.D.)

I hope you enjoyed these, and that looking at them brought you a bit of joy. The hand of God is everywhere if we care to look.

New Beginnings

As a new year starts, new possibilities and challenges do as well, for us personally, and for Country. I spent the last two weeks pondering many things, letting go of many others, and setting up the stage for a new year, a new year in which no matter what goes around, I expect to keep up the faith as well as a positive outlook. I wrote some goals as well. During this time, I was able to take notice of a new visitor that has been coming around and staying for a while everyday. It is a gorgeous bird that I think it is a hawk or a falcon; I am not sure which one. I have been observing it almost daily and it seems to have established a morning and afternoon routine. Wanting to start the year in a positive note, here are some pictures of this lovely bird.

Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.

I have seen this bird around crows as well. It has been a joy to watch it hunt and eat from the ground as well, enjoy the warmth of the sun, and just perch for a while, until in a split of a second it takes fly again.

Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.

During the last couple of weeks, I spent time watching nature and its beauty in many forms. I needed to put aside and away all the negativity 2020 left in my memory, and I wanted to start the new year with a hopeful look and a grateful heart. I saw the miracle of nature, the hand of divine creation, the hand of God surrounding me, and it is all I needed to start the new year. May this new year be full of blessings for all of you.

Unexpected Visitor

If you visit this blog from time to time, you know that I love to watch birds and take pictures of them. After the cicadas arrived, I noticed that many birds left, including my beloved crows. Also, missing were the Blue Jays and the Cardinals. The cicadas are gone, and many birds are back. I also noticed the absence of the Katydids. I love their loud song during the night in the summer, and I have not heard or seen any. The number of insects around here seem to be low as well, day and night.

Since I moved here, I count myself lucky to have seen my first mixed flock as well as my first Snowy Owl (during the day) perched on a tree near the back woods. I don’t think Snowy Owls are supposed to be in Virginia, but I saw one last year. Sadly, I could not get my camera fast enough. By the time I went and retrieved it the owl was gone. The other day, I got a treat from nature. I saw my first large woodpecker. I have seen many on the small size range, but never one this size. I was able to grab my camera and take a few pictures, although not as many as I wanted to take. It also kept moving, pecking the wood, so its head came out blurry at times.

This is a picture of a smaller woodpecker that I took when I lived in Jersey.

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Photo by Maria Diaz

Here are the pictures I took a few days ago. These were taken from the inside through glass because I did not want to scare the bird. It was very hard to photograph because it kept moving all over. I feel I have to apologize for the quality, but at the same time I wanted to share this beautiful sighting with you.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

I never know when I am due for a treat from nature, so now I keep the camera downstairs, and hanging from the coat rack.

 

 

A Crow’s Tale

If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I love crows and ravens. I think they are underappreciated beautiful birds. These birds have been misrepresented for many years, centuries, and they have been given a negative label, used in horror movies, Halloween spooky props, and associated with evil and darkness. Poor little ones. They are nature’s creatures just as a white dove is, or a puppy, or even a regal peacock. Their song is mocked, called a screech; what is up with that? Have you ever heard a peacock sing or a fox calling?

I am happy to have many crows in my neck of the woods, and I love to see them hopping (yes, they hop like little bunnies) around. One thing that is particular about them is that I see them walking around in the light rain like there is nothing going on, while other birds tend to wait until the sun comes back out and the rain stops. I have been on a birdie binge, and I thought about including these pictures on the previous bird watching posts, but decided to give the crow its own spotlight. I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I did. For the love of crows.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

My favorite. Walking around after the rain, all wet. Pardon the focus, and look at that stride.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Hope you enjoyed these.

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty Remains

Among all the chaos during these challenging times, beauty remains untouched, nature prevails in its own way as it has always been since the beginning of time. When we are feeling sad, scared, hopeless, and searching for a silver lining, God blesses us in many ways, even when we cannot see it right away or understand it.

I have been taking pictures of birds from time to time, and many times, I have shared a few on this blog. Birds are beautiful. I took a few pictures the other day, and these were taken from the inside of my home and through window glass, so they are not perfect. However, looking at them I saw something I had not seen before. I looked at those bird’s faces and expressions, and there I saw a miracle, I saw beauty, but more than that, I saw innocence, purity, hope; I saw the love of God. Here, I share a few with you.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or stow away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. (Mathew 6:26)

I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are Mine. (Psalm 50:11)

 

 

Nature Treat

When I moved from the Jersey shore to southern Virginia, I knew that two of the things I would miss most (besides my friends of course) would be being close to the waterfront, and the bird sightings we had. The area I used to lived in was classified as a bird sanctuary, and I enjoyed watching these gorgeous creatures very much. Years ago, I wrote a post that included many pictures of the birds around the area. When I moved here I didn’t know that this area was considered a bird sanctuary as well, and I rejoiced when I saw the marking signs in town. As spring approaches, the little ones are flying in numbers, and I took some pictures which I will share on this post. Here is where I experienced for the first time what is called a mixed flock. It happened during late fall of last year, and I had no idea of what it was. I saw many types of birds flying together, some circling a dead tree covered in honeysuckle vine, and other birds landing on it. They flew in together and they were very loud, and before I had the chance to grab the camera they all left at once (flying together). I researched this and found out that some birds do that to guarantee food and protection from predators during the winter. I thought it was too early, but we had a few early cold days; however, later on we ended up having a mild winter. None the less, it was a magnificent experience that I will cherish forever. This is the picture of the tree minus the birds. I call this tree my monster tree. It is charmingly spooky in a good way. It serves well many critters, and when the honeysuckle blooms I can smell its sweet scent coming through the kitchen window. It is simply delightful.

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Photo by M.A.D.

I see crows all the time, one of my favorite birds. I named this place Mill Creek Little Trees because of the many tiny pine trees surrounding it, however, those pines have grown tall since we bought the place in 2010, and the place seems to have outgrown its name. I thought of a new name, and decided to rename it Black Crow Cottage in honor of the many crows that wander around and my love for these birds. I have many plans for gardens in this place, but that will take some time to put in place, many years that is. A couple weeks ago, hundreds of robins started to arrive, and along with crows and sandpipers ( I will miss them much) they are a favorite as well. This year, for some reason they seem skinnier.

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Photo by M.A.D.

There is a giant old tree near the kitchen entrance, and I was delighted by the sight of these birds because I had never seen them before. Their color detail is beautiful. It looks as if God had taken a small brush and painted a bit of red and yellow on them. They stayed for a while and drank water from a hole in the old tree.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M,A,D,

One more pic of these gorgeous creatures.

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Photo by M.A.D.

These birds have been coming around more and more, and they are beautiful as well. They seem to enjoy being on the ground like the robins, and along side them as well.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Enjoying a well deserved lunch.

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Photo by M.A.D.

A few blue birds have been arriving, but they are so fast and aloof that I have not been able to take a picture of them. In the meantime, this little fake blue bird will have to do for now. It would be just wonderful if one day a real blue bird would pose next to him and I was able to take the picture.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Well, this is all I have for now. I hope you enjoy these photos. I am not a photographer and I don’t know the names of most birds, but I enjoy watching and taking pictures of them.