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A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 20, 10 at 21:10

Well, it's a long way off, particularly here on the coast, but there are some signs that there will be a spring this year. When it gets around to it.

Jane mentioned that her maple buds were just maybe swelling a little, and I'm seeing that the goldfinches are getting some white in their tail feathers and a touch of yellow on the body.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And some of the hellebores are showing buds! This is the Hellebore "Blackthorn Strain".
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And I think this is a little Hellebore "Green Heron" that I just planted last year (unless the squirrels mixed up the tags).
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I know the buds won't open for a while, but they weren't there a few weeks ago.

Anybody else see signs of spring?

Claire


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

Well just today I saw the very tip (1/8 inch?) of the leaves of a little yellow crocus that is always the first to bloom. Tomorrow I'll explore the garden more. Nice photos!


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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

With the crazy warm fall we had, I was seeing a lot of buds swelling and even leaves opening on the Viburnum carlesii, before winter even started. But right now there's nothing but snow out there.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And this was late January last year.....

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And the year before was the warmest January I ever saw in my life....

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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring 2

Claire, Goldfinches are one of my favorites. You must have a good zoom lens to get those close ups. I have a point and shoot. I'll have to try to take a photo from inside the house, because I haven't got the patience to go out and sit still and wait for them to show up. Flowers are my favorite subject because they don't move. [g] Hellebores make my top five favorite perennials. I just added 'Mellow Yellow' and 'Golden Lotus' in the fall, but they were small so I don't know how long before I'll see bloom. Your 'Green Heron' has huge buds!


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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 21, 10 at 14:41

Very nice photos, PM2. My camera is also a point and shoot, but I got a model with a 12X zoom just so I could photograph birds from inside. It's a Canon S5IS, but they have newer point and shoots with even better zoom.

I also set up feeders so some of them are close to windows - if you squint, you can see the goldfinch feeder outside the window to the left of the suncatcher, so the zoom is more than adequate.
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I also don't always rely on my caffeine soaked hands to steady the camera. In a pinch I'll lean on the coffee maker,
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but I prefer to put my two elbows on these two jars which are a good height for a makeshift tripod for kitchen window shoots.
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I'm usually sitting down at the computer window so it's easier to be steady. The main problem with taking shots from indoors is when the camera insists on focusing on the rain-splattered or not-so-clean window glass.

Claire


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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

LOL, Claire, I am definitely a 'leaner'. I hate to drag out the tripod and I wonder why I ever asked for it for my BD last year. It has barely been out of the box. I love your two jars, that is too funny!

I tried the camera through the kitchen window and I think it might work. My feeders close to the house, are about the same distance from my window as yours are. I only have a 4x zoom on my camera. Yours is a nice model! I have a Canon and I'm happy with it for now. I realized today, that it's not just my unsteady hands that are the problem, but my slow reflexes too. [g] Anyway, I tried to get a few and this fellow keeps hamming it up for the camera....

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And luckily a Junco showed up just in case you were starting to wonder if I had any birds....

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And this woodpecker was on the tree in my neighbor's yard which is just over my lot line. It seems to be too far away for my zoom. I had it all the way out. Wow, I've never seen that neighbor's house so up front and personal..lol.

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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 21, 10 at 15:31

I hope your neighbor didn't look out and see you aiming a camera at their window, PM2! Some people get touchy about that....

I've never seen a junco on a feeder, here they always feed on the ground, usually under the nyjer socks where the nyjer spillover is beginning to form drifts.

Squirrels are indeed hams; and I'll often be aiming the camera at a small bird and a Blue Jay will jump in front of the small bird and take up the whole field.

Claire


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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

Actually, since I need glasses for distance and for reading, it is quite an accomplishment to end up with a photo of what I am aiming at. I really don't see what I'm doing until I see the photo on the computer after the fact. [g] I didn't know I had their window in there. The way our properties are set up, all the houses behind me face each other and the back of their lots intersect in the middle of mine. So I don't have any house facing mine and all our back windows are at right angles to each other. It feels very private.


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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

I am glad o see some promising signs of spring!! Hope the Ground hog does not see his shadow@


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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

Unfortunately, the atmospheric models are indicating that February might be very cold----at least the first 2 weeks anyway. Bummer.


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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

Claire and PM2,

If your cameras have continuous shooting modes, that would be a good way to capture birds (or squirrels!). My camera has two ways of shooting continuous. I prefer to use a setting that will keep shooting until you take your finger off the shutter button, and then it records the last five images you shot. That way, as you follow the 'action' you can decide if you got that perfect shot and let go of the shutter button.


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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

I am loving this moderate January weather. Surely there will be more very cold weather to come, but the winter is flying by (yippee). Somehow it feels like Spring is just around the corner.

I am not a good enough bird watcher to be 100% sure, but it sounded like a Tufted Titmouse was starting to make new calls yesterday and this morning, like it's announcing its territory. And it looked like one squirrel was following another squirrel around the other day (male courting female?).

56 days, 23 hours left till Spring. The days are getting longer. :)


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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 22, 10 at 19:48

Bill: I often use the continuous shooting mode - that's why I usually have 48 shots of which two are worth saving. Then of course I'll save 25 just in case.

terrene: A few days ago I noticed a squirrel climbing up and down and up and down a tree carrying leaves in its mouth up the tree, and then coming down for more. This went on most of the day, at least every time I looked out I saw it. I suspect the squirrel was a female preparing a nest for babies. I wish her well, but I sure don't need more squirrels here.

Claire


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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

Bill, I just spent an hour with a field guide for my camera trying to figure out if I have that continuous shoot function. I've only had my camera over a year and still use AUTO and barely know how to use the other settings. [g] I finally found it! lol Well, I am going to have to try that out tomorrow. Thanks Bill!

terrene, I can 'hear' the anticipation in your post. After barely gardening last year, I can understand how much you are looking for spring to get here. I've been in that position a few times. I'm with you, hurry up spring! :-)

The squirrels here are always chasing each other. I thought it was just because they were juvenile. lol I don't need more here either.

My heated pet bowl finally arrived. I can't wait to put it out tomorrow and see what happens.


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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring 2

Oh, ontheteam, did you ever get more info about the greenhouse? I would enjoy hearing more about what you're going to do. That is a certainly a way to get through the winter.

Rockman, looks like I'm getting my heated pet bowl for the birds just in time.


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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

PM2 over 24 years of gardening, there have been a few seasons that were mostly a bust for one reason or another. Not being able to garden last Spring/summer because of the tendonitis was extremely depressing for me. After it mostly healed, I did manage to cram some gardening in the fall, and the weather was very cooperative. To say I am excited for Spring is somewhat an understatement. :)

The squirrels here are always chasing each other. Yes they do that here too, but this was following - a slower and deliberate keeping pace with the female. I read somewhere that squirrels breed in February in our area. Sorry you guys have "too many squirrels". At least they may provide you with some entertainment? I don't worry about their numbers as long as they stay out of the house and feeders. However, one did tear apart my tenant's lounge chair that had a cloth back and seat last summer. This winter there have only been 1 or 2 poking around under the feeders. Maybe it had something to do with more frequent Red-tailed hawk sightings in the yard and in the fields across the street last summer.

Caught a picture of that booger tearing apart my former tenant's lounge chair - LOL - she wasn't laughing, however.


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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

terrene, I'm so happy for you, that your wrists are improved enough to get back to gardening. We managed to start and almost finish a project in the fall that we didn't get to all season too. I was very happy with the fall weather!

I LOVE that photo of the squirrel. I don't know how you managed to have the presence of mind to get the camera...lol. Two years ago, I ordered 6 tubers from a mail order iris company. When they arrived I very carefully soaked them and potted them up as instructed and proceeded to put them outside on the north side of my fence to settle for a few days. Before the end of the day, I walked by and noticed they were all gone and it looked like something had been digging in the pots. I was so mad and incredulous. I found one tuber across the other side of the yard, with bite marks in it and rescued it. That one tuber bloomed last year and it turned out to be the 'extra' that they included free. So I ended up with none of the iris I ordered. [g] Needless to say, any pots that go out like that, have a milk crate over them now.


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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

That squirrel must be using the chair threads as nesting material. Once I had a nest in the chimney and the furnace backed up so of course I had to call in somebody. You would not believe what came out of that chimney when I had it cleaned! Sticks of course, twigs, straw, cloth, plastic grocery bags, two bic pens, and christmas tree garland! And the chimney guys had one heck of a job breaking it up!


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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 23, 10 at 16:54

I agree with Bill about the nesting material. A few years ago I planted some Osmanthus Goshikis and the first winter I had them well swathed in burlap for protection.

Sometime in late winter or early spring I noticed a squirrel furiously yanking at a piece of the burlap, trying to rip it off. To keep the protection relatively intact I cut off a few pieces of overlapping burlap and left them on the ground. They quickly disappeared and the squirrel left the rest of the protection alone.

Claire


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RE RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 23, 10 at 16:59

I was horribly chagrined though, a little later, when I cut up an old wool/synthetic sock that was way past darning. I left it out on the ground figuring it would make great soft warm insulation for the baby squirrels.

No squirrel would touch the sock pieces. That was a few years ago and I think there's still a piece out there among the leaves.

Claire


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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 28, 10 at 12:08

The forecast is for an Arctic cold front to come through this afternoon bringing snow and winter cold, so this nice warm January thaw is about to end. I did see some holes dug under the white pine, so it looks like the skunks came out of hibernation for a while.

"Arctic cold front" is not quite as bad as "Wintry Mix". I much prefer snow to sleet and slush.

Claire


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RE: A hint to a prelude to a precursor of Spring

It looks like the next few days will be cold. But nothing we haven't seen in a New England winter before, and nothing I wold call unusual. It may seem worse than normal because we've been pampered the last couple of weeks. I'm seeing some snow now out the window, but bigger flakes, and spaced apart, so a typical snow shower and right now at least doesn't seem like it will amount to much.

How long until spring????

Bill


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