Photo is used with permission from Creative Commons
Seamus Heaney, Ireland's foremost poet, winner of the Nobel Literature prize in 1995 has died at age 74. He explored the wild beauty and the political torment of Ireland for fifty years.
His work has taught me about poetry, about writing poetry and how vibrant language captures the emotions we all share. I searched for a quote from his works to include in this blog from among the many I have copied into my journal; copies to keep and to re-read and to study. The searching process has reaffirmed that his work inspires and will continue to inspire me.
The search has netted no one quote to share but many which touch my heart and make an ache in the pit of my stomach over his passing.
I extend sympathy to his family and friends and hope they take comfort in his continued existence through the written word. As, do I.
What a week it's been. The air has lost humidity with heated days and cooler evenings. The summer has entered one of the peaceful periods, filled with sun-warmed hosta and goldenrod, gathering bees and swings on the porch.
This Hairy Woodpecker, a juvenile, frequents the sunflower seed feeder outside our kitchen window. When we had "street improvements" a couple of years ago, the excavations set two maples into the process of decay and dying at the top of our driveway. There the woodpecker lives.
I am fascinated by woodpeckers though I don't like their hole making in healthy trees. Most woodpeckers have very long tongues (sometimes as long as four times the length of their bill). These long tongues are stored like a tape measure in twin structures that wrap around the inside perimeter of the skull. The tip of the tongue is sticky and barbed to help them forage for insects.
This woodpecker is male. He has a small red patch on the back of his head. Females have no red patch.
Earlier this year, an adult Hairy Woodpeckers tapped on the metal pole on which hangs the feeder...for days. I assume whichever male makes the loudest noise gets the female. Since there are now juvenile woodpeckers at our feeders, he must have been successful.
This is our newest cat, a Maine Coon. He was a year old last week but will continue to grow until he is three. It appears that he will be a big boy by the end of another two years. All our cats are indoor cats and never go outside. They enjoy bird watching through the window panes.
We are lucky to have four delightful cats to share our home with, or perhaps, we share ... their home.
We have a Maine Coon Cat who lives at our house. He is an indoor cat but loves to watch birds through the window. Sometimes when I forget to push a chair up to the window for him, he has to stretch to see them. He is a large lovable bundle of affection.
We share our home with two Birman cats. The female has chocolate colouring and the male, lavender. They are affectionate but each has a distinct personality, like people. Our cats don't go outdoors ever. The long hair requires brushing daily but these cats are worth the work.
When we stopped our hyper-vigilant trimming, we discovered we had foxgloves. They've likely been there for years, planted by a former owner.
Our trimming has decreased as we've become comfortable with a wilder look at the edges of our property. The rewards are foxgloves (not many), but if we leave them alone, allow them to set seed, perhaps we'll have more every second year. Foxgloves are biennials, little troubled by pests and deer.
Foxgloves botanical name Digitalis comes from the Latin digitus, meaning "finger." Each tubular flower is shaped somewhat like the finger of a glove. Ours bloom in a purplish pink with spotted throats and last for several weeks.
Sometimes, leaving the yard to itself creates surprising beauty.
I relearned a lesson I know but don't always follow when posting blogs. Do the homework. Yesterday I posted photos and claimed the birds were baby eagles. I was wrong, they were juvenile ospreys.
I usually check all my facts thoroughly but was rushing to post a blog, because I've not been writing or posting as much as I want lately. Rushing and not checking = bad blogging.
These are juvenile ospreys on nests built on platforms near the turnoff from Route 15 to Grand-Barachois in New Brunswick. We stayed far away from them so we wouldn't disturb them and took the photos with a long lens.
Their parents circled above us and kept a close watch over our activities. We stayed in the car and took the pictures from there. The photos seem as if we were closer because I cropped the photos to enlarge them after I returned home.
"Ospreys are dark brown above, white below, with white head, prominent dark eye stripe. The juvenile has plumage fringed with pale buff above. They eat mostly fish and nest near fresh or salt water. They build their bulky nests in trees, on sheds, poles or platforms." (Quote from National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern North America.)
Lesson re-learned: Do the homework, check the facts and photos, even if I think I know what I'm looking at.
We drove on Route 15, left at Exit 43 to Grand-Barachois, New Brunswick and spotted immature ospreys sitting on nests. We didn't disturb them but used a long lens to capture these photos. Though we were a distance away from the nest, we looked up and saw that we were being watched by the parent birds, who were spiraling lower and lower toward us.
We would have stayed longer but felt we were intruding, even though we were careful not to get out and walk closer. In fact, we stayed in the car and just pulled to the shoulder of the roadway to take photos. We left, feeling grateful for the sight of babies.