House Finch – Male

Thank you for hanging in here with me at Animal Wonder during a prolonged absence on my part.  At Christmas, my sweet mother became quite ill and ultimately passed away in late January.  Life has been in a bit of upheaval since that time, but thankfully, things are starting to return to normal.

I also have a new camera and lenses, and I am excited to once again pursue my photography hobby and share photos here regularly once again.  I sincerely appreciate your follow and will do my best to continue sharing quality animal photographs that will brighten your day and further your love and appreciation of these wonderful creatures that share our world with us.

My goal is to resume posting weekly here, starting today!

Male House Finch

A male House Finch at one of our backyard feeders

We have been fortunate to have a fairly large number of House Finches visiting our feeders this year, and this pretty boy posed nicely for me a few days ago.  The female is more neutral in color, not having the bright red features.  We are truly enjoying their daily visits!

Snow Dove

For my final post of 2014 here at Animal Wonder, I would like to share one of my favorite photos.  I am quite partial to this particular photo because it is one of two photos of mine that have been awarded first place ribbons in local competition.  The actual award-winning photo was a black and white version of this photo that still hangs in our home today in a simple black frame with a white mat.

Snow Dove

I enjoy watching and photographing our backyard birds at the bird bath and the feeders so much, but some photos are just more memorable than others.  This lovely White-winged Dove posed beautifully during a surprise snow storm in March 2010, and it sat there for the longest time, seemingly just relaxing and enjoying the scenery in the yard.

I gave this photo to friends and family on our Christmas cards the next year, the only time I have actually given cards with a photo of mine on them. Without a doubt, it is my favorite photo of the birds in our yard to date, and I’m happy and grateful that we have a wonderful yard where many birds take refuge and come for food and water.

If you have followed posts here at Animal Wonder over the past few weeks, you have probably noticed that my Wordless Wednesday posts have featured various birds at this bird bath in our yard.  I cannot begin to convey what joy I have had watching birds at this bath over the past few years, and some of their antics have been absolutely hilarious.  Some are polite, and some are bullies.  That is the way of nature, but all of them seem to find their time at the bird bath eventually.

As it is time to take a little break from blogging to properly prepare for and enjoy our holiday celebrations with family, as well as a fun little vacation, I bid you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and I will be back in early January!  May we all be mindful of the Reason for the Season as we celebrate with those we love.

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Christmas Bird Count

Did you know that starting December 14, and going through January 5, the yearly Christmas Bird Count will take place?  Did you know that such a thing even existed?

I first learned about this project a few months ago through one of our local state parks that participates in the project.  It is a long-time project that has apparently spanned over 100 years and is also a holiday tradition for many people and families.  It is the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world, and I have enjoyed learning more about it.  While I will not be able to participate in a nearby project this year, it is something that I am going to explore further in future years.

The National Audubon Society has a great page on this project, so I will just happily link to it here, for anyone else that might be interested in participating this year or sometime in the future!

Christmas Bird Count – National Audubon Society

 

12/13/14 Update:
2014 Texas Christmas Bird Counts
(via Houston Audubon Society)

Bird near Sawgrass Recreation Park in Florida

Bird near Sawgrass Recreation Park in Florida

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Wordless Wednesday – Wait Your Turn

White Winged Doves at Bird Bath

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Singing in the Sunshine

Those little nimble musicians of the air, that warble forth their curious ditties, with which nature hath furnished them to the shame of art.  — Izaak Walton

This noisy fellow got my attention one beautiful spring afternoon as he was chirping away in our backyard while perched atop on of the sprinkler heads.  He posed in this spot for several minutes, and his boisterous chirping is what got my attention as I worked inside the house.  I was afraid there might be a bird in distress in the yard, but happily, it was just this guy singing away.

Red winged Blackbird

Red winged Blackbird

In my previous Wordless Wednesday post, I shared a comical photo of two birds going “bottoms up” at the bird bath, and one was a female Red-winged Blackbird.  The female looks nothing like the male in coloring and is mostly brown.  The male’s red and yellow coloring on the wings is so striking, and he can either puff up or hide that colorful shoulder patch, depending on how confident he feels.  On this day, I think it is safe to say that he felt quite confident as he happily chirped and chirped atop the sprinkler, sharing his joy of the return of spring for all to hear.

Or, perhaps he was just hollering for me to come add water to the bird bath, too.  😉

Red winged Blackbird 2

Drinking from the sprinkler

Red winged Blackbird 3

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Deer in the Valley

She has a memory of trees and fields and nothing more.
― James Thurber, The White Deer

Deer in Yosemite Valley

Deer in Yosemite Valley

I adore this quote and idyllic picture together, as the quote just describes this scene so perfectly!  Yosemite is one of my favorite places to visit of all time, and I took this photo just a short distance from Yosemite Falls in the valley.  I have more animal photos to share from this beautiful place in the future, too.  This photo was from our epic camping trip at Curry Village in May 2011 when we actually encountered a late season snow storm on our first day there.  Thankfully, the snow melted quickly and left the area refreshed and the waterfalls flowing in full force.  It was a trip of a lifetime, for sure.

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Wordless Wednesday – Bottoms Up

Bottoms Up

Female Red-winged Blackbird and White-winged Dove

Female Red-winged Blackbird and White-winged Dove

 

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