Monday, April 27, 2009

It Has Sprung

It's beginning to look a lot like spring around here.

Most of these photos were taken a couple of weeks ago. The soft fur of the Pussy Willow emerges after a long winter. (please click to enlarge)

Fluffy buds of spring. (please click to enlarge)

A watchful Robin hops around in hopes of finding some worms. (please click to enlarge)

New leaves unfurl to greet the warming sun. (please click to enlarge)

A pair of Cardinals hunt for food together. (please click to enlarge)

Grackles are so colourful in the sunlight. This iridescent gold and blue beauty eats from some fallen seed. (please click to enlarge)

A lovely House Finch nibbles on some seeds. (please click to enlarge)

This cutie has been coming around for a few weeks, to stock up on some spilled seed. Just have a look at those ears. (please click to enlarge)

The rosy sky of dusk as seen from behind new buds. (please click to enlarge)

The fiery sun kisses the sky goodnight. (please click to enlarge)

More in a few days.


Pat - Arkansas said...

Yes, I think Spring has finally come to your neighborhood. Wonderful photos, as usual; I love the birds (I'll look at grackles a bit differently now) and the pussy willow and the cute little mouse.

Anonymous said...

And it's about time! The Cardinals are beautiful...but those ears on your little visitor win the prize!

ds said...

This is wonderful! I love the birds, but am partial to the cardinals (esp. the way the male has his head tilted--what do you think he's listening for?). And now I know someone else who thinks of grackles as iridescent!! The sunsets, though, were fabulous--a lovely, lovely way to leave the day. Thank you.

Mental P Mama said...

Beautiful as always. I'm guessing Benny wasn't around for these shots;) Do you have Goldfinches yet?

Angie Ledbetter said...

Lovely lovely!

Jo said...

How on earth do you consistently get such gorgeous photographs!?


Carolyn R. Parsons said...

I love the cardinals best! Isn't spring just wonderful! Great pictures


Anonymous said...


Your pictures of nature always remind me of Beatrix Potter's love of creatures!

Reasons said...

Ah this post has sent a little chill down my spine. I used to love those large robins and gorgeous red cardinals when I lived in Canada, it really brought back memories. Fabulous pictures, thank you so much for sharing them x

Zuzana said...

Beautiful spring pictures, I love the willow. To me the willow branches always symbolize renewal and spring. In the Slovac traditions, the branches are brought inside and decorated for Easter.
The cardinals have an amazing colour.
And of course I love the evening sky. There is nothing more serene than twilight and the sky painted by the setting sun.

Bubblewench said...

Wonderful lovely spring shots! Beautiful.

Tabor said...

Some cute little guys visit you in the spring. Just make sure that the little one who is eating the seeds, doesn't decide to move in! Good photos...glad to see you also live in paradise!

Gary's third pottery blog said...

We have a million cardinal couples too, and I just love them.

Shammickite said...

Lovely photos of everything springlike!
My back yard is full of robins. Olderson gave me a birdbath last year and I've put it outside and filled it with water and I love watching the robins splash about in it. I'll have to sneak up on them with my camera.
My shrubs are a little greener each day and the daffodils are almost out.... I LOVE SPRING!

Suldog said...

Yes, please, more! Wonderful shots, as always. I especially like the cardinals. You don't always spot the females as readily, with their not-so-bright-red plumage, so to get a shot of a male-female pair is really nice.

Leah J. Utas said...

I love those pics. New leaves are so heartening. The cardinals are beautiful and little mousie was adorable. (Is that a mouse or something related?)

Bubblewench said...

PS. I gave you a shout out on my blog today! :)

Nancy said...

I love the little signs of spring. The robin reminds me of a small painting we bought on vacation that just came in the mail while I was reading your blog. It is a robin on her nest - just like the one we were able to watch from our house in Minnesota. We had the good fortune to watch, very closely, the building of the nest, the eggs and sitting, and finally the babies, right down to the last one. Blessings come in surprising ways, don't they?

Daryl said...

Fabulous pix .. I saw a robin this weekend in a park near the beach .. I tried very hard to sneak up on him to snap a shot but he kept hoppin' away .. oh well ..

Great photos all!

Back from holiday, trying to catch up ...

Russell said...

Love the cardinals! Looks like spring is well underway in your part of the world.

Take care and send some of that sunshine down to Iowa!

Cheffie-Mom said...

Wonderful photos! I love Spring!

Maggie May said...

What lovely birds you have over there! Brightly coloured.
Lovely photos and I like the Benny pictures too!

Reb said...

Lovely as always Hilary. I love the shot of the pair of Cardinals. That mouse is only cute outside though ;)

HanamiGallery said...

the cardinals are really striking~ haha spring is great! im not looking forward to a warm summer though :(

Tink said...

I love your bird/animal photos! The ears on that mouse! You must be the quietest person to capture such moments. :)

Indrani said...

You take such wonderful shots of birds. I really to capture them on lens, none of them cooperate with me.

the Bag Lady said...

Love these photos, Hilary! If I'm right, that little mouse could be a deer mouse (the one that carries the dreaded Hanta virus), but that doesn't stop him from being cute!

The cardinals are so gorgeous (we don't have them this far north) - thanks for sharing!

Hilary said...

* Thanks, Pat. Just look at grackles in the sun.. they're lovely. :)

* Thank you, Gawilli. He's pretty darn cute, eh? :)

* Thanks kindly, DS. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. The cardinal pair were indeed a treat and I was surprised that I was able to capture both in one shot. These critters never fail to please. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* MPM, you are indeed correct. If Benny was around, all you'd see is a series of colourful blurs. We do have goldfinches, and I've taken a few shots of them just yesterday. They don't hold still for very long, and I'm not sure if any turned out. If one does, I'll post it before too, too long. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks, Angie. :)

* Thanks kindly, Jo. My camera is permanently welded into my hand. ;)

* Thank you, Breeze. Spring is an incredible time for sure. And summer - even better. ;)

* MT, what a lovely thing to say. Thank you. :)

* Thanks kindly, 123. I'm not sure where it is you're living now, but how long has it been since you were in Canada? I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. :)

* Thanks very much, Protege. You always have such interesting traditions to share. I'm glad these photos evoked some of those memories for you. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

* Thanks kindly, Bubblewench. Much appreciated. I'll be by your blog shortly after replying to comments. :)

* Thanks, Tabor. I'm hoping that my two cats will deter that cutie from moving in. I sure don't mind his grazing outside for my viewing pleasure, but inside, I'd have to buy some live traps. I'm glad you like the photos. Paradise is where you find it. ;)

* Gary, they're wonderful birds, aren't they? Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks, Shammie. I've had my daffodils out for about a week now but everything seemed to be emerging slowly. Now with this alternating rain and bright, sunny days, everything is moving along beautifully. A birdbath sounds like a wonderful idea. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks, Suldog. I was especially pleased to capture the two of them together. I personally think the females are more beautifully coloured than the males. They have so many sublte hues in their feathers, whereas he's pretty much a solid red. Both sure are lovely though. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

* Thanks very much, Leah. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. I thought he was a little field mouse but Baggie seems to think deer mouse. Either way, he's cute, eh? :)

* L of L, you're so right. When my kids were little, we had robins build their nest on our outdoor light for two years in a row. Both times the eggs hatched on Mother's Day (early May). It was such a treat. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Welcome back, Daryl. Robins are pretty skittish early on, but we've been seeing them back around here since February, so these guys are getting pretty used to us. :)

* Thanks, Russell. Sending you some warm sunshine as I type. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks, Cheffie. Much appreciated. :)

* Thanks very much Maggie. I'm glad you enjoyed the pics. :)

* Thanks, Reb. I agree that his cuteness is best on that side of the glass. :)

* Thanks, HG. I'm glad you liked the pics. I'm very much looking forward to summer but enjoying spring. :)

* Quiet as a mouse, Tink. ;) Actually that mouse photo was taken through my glass door. Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by. :)

* Thanks, Indrani. The feeder helps to keep them still enough. You certainly have fantastic photos of your own. :)

* Thanks, Baggie. You could well be right about that. Now I'll have to make doubly sure it stays outside, eh? Thanks always for stopping by. :)

Anonymous said...

I love looking at Spring through your eyes, Hilary. Between your words and your photographs, I step away with renewed appreciation for all of nature--even the mice! Your bird photos are impressive; I can never get close enough to the cardinals to get a picture that isn't grainy.

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

I say bring on spring! I am loving all things coming to life around here too. And I love that big ole robin shot!

Rosaria Williams said...

What beautiful harbinger of spring you captured. I came in from Meredith's blog, taking a walk on her turf. I'm glad I did.

SandyCarlson said...

I have never seen a grackle before. They have really lovely coloring.

And the cardinals....what a beautiful couple.

Frank Baron said...

Y'know what smote me with your images this time?

I'll tell you: The colour. The colours transmitted the vibrancy of Spring - one of your Top Two Favourite Seasons. ;)

Nicely done. :)

Tricia said...

Beautiful shots. I especially love the cardinals. For some reason, their brilliant color always makes me smile.

We seemed to have skipped spring and headed straight into summer.

Dianne said...

I find little buds heartbreakingly lovely :)

and the sweet guy with the big ears - awwwwww

Jennifer S said...

These are lovely, as always. So great that you caught the male and female cardinal in the same shot. I love seeing them in pairs.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Birds and pussywillows, what's not to like!

Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing spring with us.

Susan English Mason said...

Absolutely gorgeous every one! My fave is the house finch.

Hilary said...

• Thanks so kindly, KC. The grainy appearance might have more to do with your ISO settings than anything else. The higher you set that, the more grainy the appearance. If you have reasonably bright daylight with which to shoot, keep your ISO set to 100 (or lower if you have it) and you'll see a lot less grain. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, MG. It's been a long, cold winter and we're all welcoming spring. Thanks for the visit. :)

• I'm glad you did too, Lakeviewer. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Thanks for dropping by, Sandy. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. :)

• Thanks, Frank. That really means a lot to me. :) Remind me to tell you about my Top Favourite Season sometime. ;)

• Thanks kindly, Tricia. I'm glad you liked the photos. I'd be just as happy with extra months of summer, but I probably appreciate it more when I have to wait for it through spring. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Dianne, you old softie. You're going to love the post coming up in a few days... ;)

• Thanks, Jennifer. There's something heartening about monogamous critters, eh? Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks kindly, Crabby. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks always for the visit. :)

• Thanks very much, Pouty. I was quite smitten with that bird, myself. Thanks for dropping by. :)

scarlethue said...

Beautiful cardinals there. We have a pair that visits us but I never can get them together in a photo.

You really just have to wait for chigger bites to go away. Old wife's remedy was to put clear fingernail polish on the bump to "smother" the bug, but I don't think that actually works as the bugs are gone once the itching starts, and then the cortaid doesn't sink in. They're also called harvest mites, they feed on skin cells. Gross, huh? I'm lucky I only got about 5... my brother counted about 30 on his nether regions one time as a child.

abb said...

The cardinals are beautiful. Looks like you posed all for the perfect picture!

Andrea said...

Such vibrant photos! Through your photos I truly believe that spring has sprung!! :)

Hilary said...

• Thanks for stopping by, Scarlethue, and for the info about the chiggers. They sound like quite an irritation and I hope they clear up for you real soon.

• Thanks for the kind words, TSannie. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks kindly, Andrea. I'm glad you enjoyed them. :)

Chica, Cienna, and Cali said...

beautiful, wondrous season.....I cant seem to get enough of it.....beautiful pictures, Hilary.....enjoy the times :)

Hilary said...

Thanks kindly, Moi. Much appreciated. :)

Sandra said...

Beautiful photography, as usual, Hilary. I especially like the picture of the House Finch. I think it's because of the variety in textures and hues. Lovely

Hilary said...

Thanks always for stopping by and leaving such kind words, Sandra. It's very much appreciated. :)

Sydney said...

Just a gorgous post all round. The photo you got of the cardinals is magnificent... might want to shop some of those around for publication somewhere!

I love the little fella with the big ears at the end too...

We have a lot of long tailed Grackles in Houston, where I moved to from NY (never saw them there). I love how they swagger when they walk, and they are mentally very sharp. I admire them for that.

Hilary said...

Thanks so much for the very kind words, Sydney. I'm glad you enjoyed the post and hope you'll be back again soon. :)