Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Looking for a Home

Another hint that spring is near---a goose couple shopping for a place to raise a family. My guess is that these early birds will need little encouragement to set up housekeeping in one of the nesting boxes that the DNR has set up in the marsh.

Next time I get a chance to hike through, I hope to see her up in the box sitting on some eggs---maybe even sharing with another egg sitting female, while the ever attendant and loyal males swim below.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder...

Hoosier author Gene Stratton Porter loved this bird, the Turkey Vulture. She devoted whole chapters of her books about these magnificently ugly birds; how they raise their young, how the birds are born in white fluff---so ugly they're cute.

This turkey vulture was soaring in the wind over the Kankakee River this weekend; really enjoying the day and making the whole world look like a playground. Such joy was beautiful!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Spring is in the Air

February, 51F, and trees decorated in red buds---hints of spring were all over yesterday during a hike in the marsh. And the birds!

But more about the birds in days to come...  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Frosty 'Tis the Morning

Had to pull one from my archives this morning. Baby it's cold outside---absolutely frigid.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Real estate

A nest hanging at the edge of the Kankakee River, a reminder of the previous summer still hanging in February.

I watched the Red Winged Blackbirds feed the young they raised in this feat of engineering that will last a few more seasons yet, but will probably never be used again.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Bird, a Moon, and the Sky

...From the memories of the bird that chanted me,
From your memories, sad brother---
from the fitful risings and fallings I heard,
From under that yellow half moon,
late risen, and swollen as if with tears,
From those beginning notes of sickness and love,
There in that transparent mist,
From the thousand responses of my heart,
Never to cease,
From the myriad thence aroused words,
From the word stronger and more delicious than any,
From such, as now they start, the scene revisiting,
                                                                                   As a flock, twittering, rising, or overhead passing,
                                                                                    Born hither, ere all eludes me, hurriedly,
                                                                                    A man yet, by these tears a little boy again,...
                                                                                    Walt Whitman-Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking                 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday Warm Up

Dreaming of summer days chasing dragonfly pics today.

This tiny gal was just finishing up a mosquito when I snapped the photo.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lean on Me....

Rarely do I see deer get as close as this. And I still think it must have been an itch that needed scratching more than a need to touch and be touched.

But it looks like love nonetheless.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Muskrat Love

Most muskrats are loners like this one was. But on a midsummer night I have often come across a couple muskrats frolicking and having fun together just as the sun sets and the mosquitoes come out.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sky and Sand and Water

February couldn't have looked more inviting as it did the other afternoon at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The sky was blue, the sand brilliantly sparkling, and Lake Michigan reflected it all.

A magnificent afternoon in February.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Looking for Spring

Two swans have returned to the Indiana Dunes looking for spring. They found a tiny strip of water to swim back and forth in yesterday. Hopefully with today's warm temperatures the ice will melt and the swans will find plenty to eat.

This morning spring appeared in the wind. Just like the morning that comes every July with a breathe of the winter to come---today, in February, spring's breathe has blown in.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Cup of Coffee

Your eyes and the valley are memories,
Your eyes fire and the valley a bowl,
It was here a moonrise crept over the timberline,
It was here we turned the coffee cups up side down,
And your eyes and the moon swept the valley.

I will see you again tomorrow,
I will see you again in a million years,
I will never know your dark eyes again,
These are three ghosts I keep.
These are three sumac-red dogs I run with.

All of it wraps and knots to a riddle,
                                                                                     I have the moon, the timberline, and you,
                                                                                     All three are gone, and I keep all three.
                                                                                       Carl Sandburg, Valley Song


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday Warm Up---Bluebird

A bluebird to warm your heart this morning. Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Cloud

Steely winter skies;
Naked branches scraping the
Raw cold air;
The call of the birds flying high
before the storm.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Creek Diamonds

Branches dip their fingers into the icy creek and come up with frosty jewels sparkling like a hundred diamonds.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's Baaack!

Just when we thought we were going to do without a winter this year, winter has dropped in. I had even put away my snow boots....silly me.

Stay warm.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Warm Up

Step onto this wild sunflower for a warm up today. Looks like the whole eastern half of the U.S. is going to get a dose of winter today with a snow storm predicted. We're in for 12 inches according to the forecasts. Looks like the global warming is leaving us for just a couple of days.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Frosty Love


LOVERS, forget your love,
  And list to the love of these,
She a window flower,
  And he a winter breeze.

When the frosty window veil       
  Was melted down at noon,
And the cag├Ęd yellow bird
  Hung over her in tune,

He marked her through the pane,
  He could not help but mark,      
And only passed her by,
  To come again at dark.

He was a winter wind,
  Concerned with ice and snow,
Dead weeds and unmated birds,       
  And little of love could know.

But he sighed upon the sill,
  He gave the sash a shake,
As witness all within
  Who lay that night awake.        

Perchance he half prevailed
  To win her for the flight
From the firelit looking-glass
  And warm stove-window light.

But the flower leaned aside        
  And thought of naught to say,
And morning found the breeze
  A hundred miles away.

Robert Frost ---Wind and Window Flower

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Goats of Sunset Hill Farm

Last years baby goats are having babies of their own this year at the Sunset Hill Farm Park. The males are sporting beards and deep voices but are still pretty cute.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Frosty Flight

Mornings this February are more like March than February and the geese are beginning to congregate with romance on their minds.

This frosty blue skied morning brought the geese into the farm pond at the nearby park.    

Monday, February 6, 2012

Country Road and Geese

A misty, frosty fog filtered the sun down to the geese on this country road this Sunday morning. The geese were strangely quiet as they marched in procession across the lane.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Gulls

Here are a few gulls having a picnic along the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Besides being fun to watch, the gulls keep the beach clean, although it can be heartbreaking when they get caught in some plastic that the waves bring in.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Winter

Had to dig into the archive for a picture of winter this February 3rd.

How like a winter hath my absence been,
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year,
What freezings have I felt, What dark days seen!


....And thou away, the very birds are mute;
Or, if they sing, 'tis with so dull a cheer, 
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter's near. 
--William Shakespeare Sonnet 97

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Planting Sedges

A path out to the middle of the bog leads to a battle ground where the DNR is fighting against time and invasive plants---pulling up cattails and other plants threatening to destroy the bog and planting grasses and sedges that will save the bog and provide a natural environment for the native wildlife.

And the hard work can be seen for acres this year as the bog makes a comeback.