Day 65 Dark-eyed Junco at Our House

I know I mentioned seeing a Dark-eyed Junco on our trip to Skyline Drive last week, but I had not seen one in Bethesda until this morning. I was unloading the dishwasher (check that off the list for today) and saw a flurry of movement on the deck. There, a few feet from the sliding French door was a Dark-eyed Junco. I don’t recall seeing them so early before, but they are ground feeders, so I probably missed them at the feeder when it was just outside the window, pretty much exactly where the Dark-eyed Junco sat. It must have detected movement because it flew away, white tail feathers flashing. I then saw several others farther back in the yard, some must have been feasting on zinnia seeds.

While the Dark-eyed Junco is a harbinger of colder weather (which I do not find delightful), the birds cannot help that so I find them a delight.

As I added “flowers in the vase” to my list this morning I had a strong desire to hear Our House by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. I asked Alexa to play it. It was delightful.

That song used to stop me in my tracks when it came on the radio or played over the speakers in a store in the days before Spotify and mp3 players. It reminds me of my days in London and the following summer, after I’d purchased the album it was on and played it over and over again to reminisce about that experience. I wrote about it on my song-blog years ago.

Day 21: Curious Nuthatch and Other Birds

My attic office has a through-the-wall air conditioner’, occasionally I hear birds on the on the back of the air conditioner, likely looking for bugs that have hidden themselves in the grille. Today I heard a bird and smiled, hoping it was finding a feast. Seconds later a white-breasted nuthatch peeked in through the window a few feet from the air conditioner. It hung in its usual upside-down manner on the bottom edge of the top window screen, turning its head back and forth, seeming to peer through the window at me. Moments later a tufted titmouse flew to the same window, landing on the outside sill, also looking in the window. The nuthatch flew away, and when the titmouse flew away the nuthatch came back. Then I realized that they must have remembered that months ago had a suet feeder hanging near that window. So I filled it and hung it back up, next to the window.

I filled the birdfeeder (number 7 on my lists of things to do today) after a week or so of neglect. Not long after I went in the house a northern cardinal family descended on the platform part of the feeder. I am pretty sure it was a family because one was a bright red male, a more brownish colored female with with a bright red bill, and the rest were more scruffy, less sleek than their parents, some of whom had red patches on their bodies, some of whom didn’t. And they were loud, chip-chipping at each other.

Birds just make me happy. What can I say?

Photo Credit: Matt MacGillivray / CC BY (

Day 10: The New Camera (mostly)

Still struggling with odd feelings of not-quite-rightness. Possibly with a little ennui tossed in. For instance, there are things I normally do on weekends — feed the sourdough starter is one, make bread is another, however I have no desire to do either, even though they must be done if I want to keep the starter alive and if we are to have homemade sourdough bread in the house.

The camera is turning out to be a true delight. Today I tried out the long lens (I am sure it has a better name — telephoto lens perhaps) and it took some decent photos. I’m still learning. Dean even gave it a go and remarked on how light it was. He was still not very enthusiastic about it, but at least didn’t complain about it.

Other delights today:

  • Reading and commenting on Lali’s blog again. I’d missed the entries from the beginning of the pandemic. Her writing is soothing.
  • A phone call from my SIL asking about my first (true) day and a half of retirement
  • More backyard birds (blue jays, northern cardinals, Carolina wrens, hairy woodpeckers, ruby-throated hummingbird, fish crows)
  • The return of the spider — it seems it likes the kitchen door in the late afternoons — I’d already taken out my contact lenses so didn’t try to take a photo this time.
  • The walk around the elementary school with Dean at lunchtime
Dean’s photo of a squirrel