Sunday, January 15, 2012

Birds and Berries for GBBD

We had a sprinkling of snow last night. It was the first of the season, not counting the freak snowstorm in October while I was in England. The snow shower came with bitter cold temperatures, a high of 23F (- 4C),  and a keen wind. I was reluctant to venture outside to take photographs for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, so I took most of my pictures through the garden-room windows. Then I took a very short walk around the garden, snapping pictures as best I could without removing my gloves, before dashing back into the warmth of the house. Of course, there are no actual blooms today in the Pocono Mountains, in spite of the recent unusually high temperatures. Berries and birds are my blooms for today.

It was bitterly cold in the Woodland Walk in spite of the bright sun.

Crabapples looking shriveled, but still plenty on the tree.

Backyard birds through my window.
In the collage, clockwise from top left: song sparrow, dark-eyed junco, American crow, bluebird, and downy woodpecker. These birds thrive in a winter environment. The sparrow and junco are ground-feeding birds that spend much of the winter under my bird feeder picking up fallen seeds. The dark-eyed junco is the most frequent back-yard visitor, foraging on the ground  by giving a double shuffle with spread feet and a quick jump backward to throw the snow behind it and uncover the seeds beneath.

Crows are noisy creatures. They congregate in the top of our walnut trees and demonstrate an impressive repertoire of vocalizations. Crows eat nearly anything.

A lone eastern bluebird visited the heated water dish today. Usually there are at least six of them. They keep warm in the winter by snuggling together in one of H.H.'s bluebird boxes. They come to the water dish for the warmth of the heater rather than to drink.

Tufted titmouse
The titmouse has supercharge energy levels to keep its body temperature up. Titmice, like chickadees, eat at least twenty times more food in winter than in summer to avoid freezing to death.

Dark-eyed junco in the catalpa tree outside my window.
White-breasted Nuthatch
The nuthatch usually flies to the upper branch of the catalpa tree and then works its way down the tree trunk head first, checking each scale of bark, each twig and branch for insect eggs. The technique of moving upside down from top to bottom is the reverse of other birds' and enables it to detect food that might have been missed by those whose movement is from bottom to top.

Carolina Wren resting on top of a tiki lamp on the patio.

When I hear bird song in the winter I know it is usually the male wren because he sings all year round.

A 'winter-looking' entrance to the Woodland Walk.
I found flower buds on hellebores in the Woodland Walk.
No blooms, but early budding of the hellebore. Last year I didn't record buds this size until a  March posting.
Billy the Goat stands as close as possible to his buddy, Dude, for warmth.
I started the day, as I often do, checking new postings on my favorite garden blogs. I was amazed at the number of beautiful blooms all over the world, displayed for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. They are listed on Carol's blog,  May Dreams' Gardens. Thank you, Carol, for hosting this wonderful meme. I'm sorry I have no flowers to show, but hope you enjoyed my winged 'blooms'. Thank you so much for visiting, dear friends. I appreciate your support!

Pamela x

Purple cone flower seeds.

~~ I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. Hi Pamela,
    I enjoyed seeing your lovely birds. For some reason, all I have seen on our feeders so far are sparrows and squirrels.

    Do you birds eat the crab apples when they are at the stage they are now?

  2. You know what they call a gathering of crows, don't you? A "murder." I saw a murder yesterday while driving down the road. To me this is the best part about crows, calling a bunch of them a murder. I know, I know. I'm weird. :)

    Great photos!

  3. Birds are winter's bloom. I enjoyed all your images but the birds are my favorite. You get such a variety. But your miniature pony and Billy Goat are pretty darn cute together. My horse had a goat pal too.

  4. I enjoyed seeing all your winged blooms. Some of the birds you have are so different to what we have over here, the bluebirds are lovely. Winter has finally arrived here too, we've had our third frost in a row.

  5. Oh Pam...your gardens are so lovely and I love the photographs of all the wonderful birds you have. They must really love it inviting. Happy GBBD!

  6. Hi Pam... I can just sense the feeling of the sun's warmth in your gardens today! However, I do wonder how you managed to get the chain on that sweet wren!!! Larry

  7. The birds are so cute. Don't they feel cold, I wonder.

  8. Bird, berries and Billy the Goat make a wonderful post.

  9. I love the shrivelled crab apples photo! And all the birds too - our juncos look a bit different from yours, with a more defined hood. The little wren is so sweet! I'm trying to get better at IDing our local birds - takes a while when they are mostly all variations on "little and brown!"

  10. I love your bridge, and all those birds! What a beautiful piece of earth you have :-)
    Greetings from Florida,

  11. Hi Pam. I am so jealous that your Bluebirds stay around for the winter. Mine always leave for some reason.You have quite a variety visiting your garden. Crows are just everywhere aren't they? LOL! Looks like you did get a little snow too. Have a wonderful week.

  12. Your garden looks like a winter wonderland - I love it! I always get woken up by the crows on weekends. I suppose during the week, I put the birdseed out on top of the wall early enough for them, but on the weekends, when I like to have a bit of a lie-in, they feel it necessary to announce their presence and call me out to feed them!

  13. Hi Pam,

    Lovely birds! I've been increasingly concerned by my lack of Finches recently. Normally we always have at least a couple of Goldfinches in the garden along with the Sparrows... But I'm afraid the boom in sparrow numbers have pushed out the Finches. Either that or for some reason they've moved out of the area/their nest sites have gone. Although often in winter they do move on and visitors in winter are actually not the same as the ones breeding in the area, so it may be that the migrants just haven't arrived??
    As much as I love the Sparrows and am thrilled I have so many when their numbers are dwindling throughout the UK, I am becoming tired of how much food they're eating and costing me.

  14. Love your idea of blooms with wings! Despite the lack of floral blooms, the red color of the berries and crabapples in your garden is very pretty. I think the shriveled apples look pretty! I'm impressed that you can identify so many birds. I for sure know we have cardinals, sparrows, and finches in my neighborhood, although I'm not sure of the different types of finches.

  15. Birds are as beautiful as flowers and I always enjoy seeing your goat and miniature horse. Even though we are both in PA we are definitely in different climates.

  16. Even without blooms, your garden is full of the birds!

  17. We've had similar weather, although more snow than you. Your photos are lovely even without blooms--it is winter, after all. But I most enjoyed seeing all your winged "blooms." Like Sue, we haven't had the usual bird visitors this winter. I think the mild winter so far has had something to do with that--they can still find food out in the fields. But I do hope they show up eventually; I miss them!

  18. Pam, thanks for sharing your birds. I'm just now seeing finchs and believe it or not robins. The robins are eating worms below the compost pile, it's pretty unique as this is the first time I've seen them burrow.

  19. Brr that's cold! I don't blame you for taking most of the photos through the window! Your views are stunning though - the woods are spectacular. Hope you're keeping warm!

  20. The Winter sun can be deceiving Pam. Lack of blooms are made up for with the beautiful shots of the garden birds,poor Carolina Wren, chained and manacled on such a cold morning.

  21. The birds in your garden are so cute, especially with their feathers fluffed out. I think the pigeons frighten the little ones away in mine.

  22. I did the exact same thing for photo taking; gloves must be on in 18 degrees! I love all of your bird photos. They are such brave little creatures to be out in this cold. Our red-bellied woodpecker was on feeder yesterday again.

    I have been dreaming up a trip to the Philadelphia area for spring time and wondered if you might like to drive down to see Longwood with me? I have not been there for the spring show yet, and am making a point of it this year. My email is wifemothergardener (at) if you are interested/available. I hope to stop to see Carolyn at her place as well... maybe a PA bloggers meeting?:)

  23. I wish I could give you some of our snow. And wind. :)
    Love the bird pics. And I would say that they are as good as any flower struggling along in the winter.

  24. lovely visiting your garden in a cold snap, Pam. Did you chain the Carolina wren down to get that wonderful shot?! Winter still in remission here and lots blooming ahead of itself. Come back soon! Laura x

  25. Aren't the birds are just such a delight to watch through the winter when we don't have the blooms! You took some great bird shots Pam especially of that little wren that looks so different to ours in the UK but no doubt sings just as loud as ours does.

  26. One year I posted nothing but birds on bloom day and called it Garden Bloggers Blooming Bird Day;-) I love all of your bird shots...they are all very familiar here, too! Finally they are all showing up at my feeders, too. I just love seeing them and think they are always the 'highlight' of the winter months! It looks chilly in your photos;-)

  27. Your winter GBBD images are so representative of this time of year. I particularly like your images of the dried, crumpled crabapples and the birds. The Carolina wren is one of my favorite birds. I love watching them navigate the feeders and push all the other birds out despite their size.

  28. Hi PAm,

    I'm so happy I found your blog. I love english gardens and I hope to plant one also at home, in Northern Finladn (Europe).

    I was an au pair in London, in a house with small but so lovely garden, it was in the yellow book also.

    I was looking your summer pictures and enjoyed them a lot!