Late bird, early spring

Robin with worm

It was late in the day when when this fat robin, flying in the face of tradition, once and for all proved that the early bird is not the only one to get the worm.

I start looking for the yellow presence of Jonquils at the tail-end of February and the first week in March. Last year, I found my first ones on February 20, this year, I saw fully developed and happy Jonquils on February 7. In that condition, one can safely presume they have been there a few days.

robin on stump

Click on the bird for another picture of him at Corndancer dot-com

Here in LA, it’s been an anemic, puny winter with days topping out in the high 60 and low 70 degree range. That makes for severe weather, sinus trouble, and plants with their schedule out of whack. Which is why I found the bird.

Earlier in the week, on the way to jury duty, I saw the Jonquils but could not stop to shoot. When I returned late one afternoon a few days later to shoot the flowers, Cock Robin was sitting on the broken stump of a tree which had earlier succumbed to a big wind.

I was able to shoot from the truck so he did not spook as soon as most wild critters do. Since the lot is about two feet higher than the street, I got him eyeball to eyeball in the Nikon glass.

See more of the bird and flowers in our Weekly Grist Gallery

In fact when I arrived, he was on the stump without the worm, took a dive, grabbed the worm and returned to his perch most of which I captured. It is always better to be lucky than good. See the first shot of the robin and the early jonquils I was after where this story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. We will wait here while you look.

Early spring volunteer jonquils

The target jonquils, despite their lack of human attention, were doing quite well thank you very much. Originally planted by former residents of the long since demolished house, the plants continue to follow the genetic instructions imbued by the Almighty. Some things are best left alone.

Anytime one discusses spring flowers, my across-the-street-neighbor’s yard cannot be overlooked. She is a master gardener and her yard and flower beds are silent witness to her considerable skills. Her horticultural efforts offset the lack of same in my yard. I suppose it is some sort of vegetative equation if there is such a thing.

yellow and black pansy

This stout little pansy at my neigbhors is tougher than it looks. It has survived a couple of sub-freezing nights.

See more of the bird and flowers in our Weekly Grist Gallery

Large jonquil

This is a large Jonquil in my neighbor's yard. This one looks like a bloom on steroids compared to others. Must be the green thumb.

robin on ground

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Mother Nature is messing with us and it’s not the first time, nor will it be the last. We simply are not in charge. But we can enjoy birds and flowers without too many foot pounds of energy expended.

In fact, with a mere click, you can see more of them in our Weekly Grist Gallery. Click here and take a gander.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


female cardinal at birdfeeder

Mrs. Cardinal flares as she is about to land and join Mr. Cardinal for a bite of lunch during a recent snow storm. Our bird feeder, frequently replenished by Pat Dempsey, my spousal unit and roommate, was the most popular game in town.
cardinal on limb in snow storm

cardinal on limb in snow storm

For the price of a pound or so of bird seed and the kinetic energy to deliver said seed to our bird feeder during a recent snow storm, we were witness to a bird feeding frenzy second to none. Cardinals who like our neighborhood were the main players. These “redbirds” were joined by sparrows and a woodpecker, plus some interloping blackbirds who were uninvited guests. Find out how this story started and see more bird pictures on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com .Click here to go there.

Sparrow and cardinal on bird feeder in snow

After a few anxious moments of awkward glances and body, the cardinal and sparrow finally buried the hatchet and got on with lunch. Survival finally took precedence over ego.

Though the feathery critters joined some territorial spats, these disagreements seemed to be less frequent and intense than we observe under more favorable weather conditions. Perhaps swallowing one’s pride along with one’s food is more acceptable when the latter is scarcer.

Cardinal on bird feeder in snow storm

Mr. Cardinal gives us the eye and quickly returned to the task at hand. Munching out.

See more bird pictures in our Weekly Grist Gallery

Even our friendly local Red Bellied Woodpecker made a showing. He is bigger than everyone else and nobody messes with him. We don’t see much of Mr. Woodpecker in the winter months so his visit was welcome. Despite his size, he was not overly aggressive and grabbed what he could. See him in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

female cardinal on limb during snow storm

Sometimes, a girl just needs a little time to herself. This female cardinal hopped on a limb close to the window for this shot. She is probably as regular at the feeder and has a lower fear threshold.

The feeding frenzy continued until dark when the birds went wherever they go to roost. They returned the next day and started where they left off. The storm was long gone and eastern sun back-lighted the scene which eliminated the shooting opportunity of the day before.  So, a cold, overcast, stormy day was preferable. You take what you get.

cardinal and red bellied woodpecker

See more bird pictures

Birds that is!

See more birds including our friendly local woodpecker. There are 19 high resolution pictures of this feeding frenzy in our Weekly Grist Gallery. These are our “keepers” that we did not publish in Weekly Grist or Corndancer, plus those we did. Click here and see these cool pictures.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind