Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter Wonders

Over the past couple of days, weather forecasters had been warning us of impending snow which was scheduled to begin Tuesday night and dump about 30 cms (12") on us by the time it was done sometime on Wednesday. Dire warnings about stocking up and staying home were issued. Schools were closed.

We waited.

The snow started when predicted but I can't say that we have anything more than about 15 cms. I shoveled our driveway yesterday morning and the snow continued for another few hours. My son shoveled round two.

So we didn't get hit as forecast. Shoveling didn't take very long. I have no excuse why today's photos are going to be repeats (of previous snowy days) but that's exactly what they're going to be. You may or may not have seen them before. In either case, I hope you enjoy them.

A dash of bright, red Cardinal stands out amid the fluffy, white branches. If you take a closer look, you'll see he has a sparrow buddy nearby.

Peering down at the bench below, Mrs. Cardinal sits upon a branch, looking lovely in the falling snow.

And this, of course, is the bench below.

A starling. There were many around the year this photo was taken but I haven't seen any yet this winter. This one was photographed through the glass door.

friendly guy
There have been plenty of Downy woodpeckers around. This one was enjoying the suet in my now-departed plum tree.

This little cutie patiently waits his turn for his daily peanut.

If this Blue jay will leave one behind for him, that is.

After the snowfall, the setting sun paints the sky with with soft shades of pink and yellow.


Rebecca said...

gorgeous photos

Maggie May said...

You have some beautiful, colourful birds where you live.
Love the photos.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Anvilcloud said...

You've done it again. That splash of cardinal red in the first is quite special. He draws the eye so much that I would have missed the sparrow had you not pointed it out.

Lori said...

Absolutely gorgeous photo's little man sure enjoyed looking at them this morning with me...he and his sister also enjoyed your squirrel photo last evening...I'm not sure if blogging will still be around when they are actually old enough but right now they love it and think it's the coolest thing ever...they will ask me every day, "Have your blog friends shared any cool pictures or recipes for you to show me?" Yours is one I always show them. :)

She Who Carries Camera said...

You were lucky that your southern neighbors got the brunt of it!

Your photos are amazing as always. Apparently, your subjects love posing for you!

Unknown said...

Absolutely lovely photographs.

I love how Mama Cardinal fluffs herself up to stay warm, don't you?

sage said...

Cardinals are beautiful in the snow. We came close to breaking the all time 24 hour snowfall record and my shoulders are still tired from shoveling.

DJan said...

I love that cardinal shot, and thanks for pointing out the sparrow, I would have missed him otherwise. Stay warm and safe and thank goodness you didn't get the brunt of this awful storm!

Dan said...

I think you could frame some of these photographs, especially the Cardinals.

You have a gift for capturing natures beauty.


Explore. Dream. Discover.


Brian Miller said...

oh wow that last one...just the birds had fun playing....

Unknown said...

just so perfect.

I can never see enough outside.
It makes me see inside.

CiCi said...

Mrs Cardinal always looks lovely. We finally saw cardinals at the new place. Plenty of other birds but we missed the cardinals. Whether these photos have been posted previously or not, they are excellent.

MaggieGem said...

Glad you didn't get the full blast... the midwest US certainly got more than their share!

Lovely photos as usual, love the black squirrel!

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

Stunning photos, as always, Hilary. Loved the sunset shot. The colors are so amazing. I had to search for the sparrow in the image of the cardinal. I'm glad you pointed it out. The black squirrel looks like he's hugging himself to stay warm while waiting for his peanut. I always look forward to seeing your photos, and you never disappoint.

Suldog said...

I haven't said this for a long time, so I'll say it again now: You need to be published. Your photos are something I would pay money to look at.

Kristina P. said...

I love the pretty colored birds against the white snow!

Daryl said...

Lovely, especially the bluejay

365 Attempts (At Life) said...

that last shot is a spectacular!

Bossy Betty said...

Lovely shots!

ds said...

Oh, I adore those cardinals! Thank you for sharing them!

Pat - Arkansas said...

You can 'repeat' any time you wish. Love'em.

Six inches of new snow is quite enough. I'm glad the forecasters were off a bit in their prediction.

larkswing said...

I love cardinals - and especially against the white snow. Glad you did a rerun!

Frank Baron said...

How nice! A revisit with some of my favourite friends. Snow arouses mixed feelings at times but it certainly makes for some stunning backdrops.

And no need to feel at all apologetic for re-running some of these beauties once in a while. :)

Reb said...

Just lovely, again ;)

ellen abbott said...

I love these whether I've seen them before or not. you take the most fabulous bird shots.

Pearl said...

I just love birds, especially cardinals.


p.s. Just found out that Minneapolis has had measurable snow 50 of the last 64 days. How much fun is that? :-)

Karen said...

Hilary, those are beautiful to see. That cardinal is stunning!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the photo of the black squirrel. We had them in our yard when we lived in Maryland, but now that we are further south we just have gray squirrels and they just aren't as much fun to watch.


Sridharan said...

Beautiful shots

Pauline said...

What a beautiful spot you live in! I have a pair of cardinals that visit my feeder too but I can't capture them as you do - my little point and shoot can't get me close enough. It makes me treasure yours all the more.

messymimi said...

Thank you.

Cloudia said...

Gorgeous light!

Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

Gung Hee Fat Choy!


Good Luck in the
Year of the Golden Rabbit!

Mental P Mama said...

I like other peoples' snow. It's mine that I'm done with....

Anonymous said...

Wonderful splashes of colour to brighten up the snow. Spectacular shots as always.

Joanna Jenkins said...

You have such a great eye for spotting birds. These pics are perfect for your winter wonderland.
Cheers, jj

Zuzana said...

Wow Hilary. Just look at these, that first one was such a lovely surprise, as I scrolled down on my laptop I uttered a brief sigh and "aahhh" seeing that red cutie against the white background.;)
The snow you describe is the best. Enough to create enchanting landscape and not too much to make living impossible.
I miss the snow. We are snow-less since about 14 days ago now, but then again, it feels like spring might be early this year.
Thank you for letting peak in your bathroom.;) Have a great Friday dear friend,

Zuzana said...

Hehe, that last part of my previous comment became a bit odd and can be misunderstood - letting me peak into your bathroom cabinets, I meant.;) At least I got a good laugh, hope you did too, hehe.;)

Bob Bushell said...

Absolutely wonderful, those birds know when the food is about. Beautiful photos.

Andy said...

Nice photos. Cardinals and Blue Jays aways look beautiful. I also have noticed the lack of starlings. What gives?

Anonymous said...

fantastic shots...I've read about the cardinal's but first time seeing them.... blue jay and starling shots are great... love the last shot too... it was a treat to my eyes :)

Have a great weekend

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter to me at all that those are older photographs: they are all beautiful! That first one especially is breathtaking. I'm so glad you pointed out the sparrow that is otherwise overshadowed by the brilliant cardinal in the snowy branches. We do sometimes miss noticing that which is less splashy yet just as important.

Kat said...

WOW!!!! What goregeous pictures! The red cardinal among all that white. Beautiful!
And I love that black squirrel. What a cutie!

Sarah Knight said...

Great collection of photos. Visual reminiscing is always good. Besides, it's too darned cold to go out with a camera ;)

Mother nature dumped some snow on us here too. My shoulder is still sore from shoveling the driveway. I think we got about 18 inches of snow, though...

I am so ready for spring.

Christine said...

love the starling & squirrel photos, the black & white contrast is wonderful and the expressions... priceless

Yolanda said...

I love these photos and I always love your words. The one with cardinal is so good. Thanks for sharing and you always inspire me.

Deborah said...

wow, those photos are wonderful, i love a picture that evokes an emotional response, and several did that for me. And thanks for pointing out the sparrow, he is completely overshadowed by the cardinal, who stands out so much it almost looks as if he was painted in afterward. Beautiful! :)

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Becca. :)

• Maggie May, thank you. We're very lucky to have these critters around. :)

• AC, it took me a while to notice the sparrow myself when I first saw the photo, and again when I hadn't seen it for a while. The Cardinal tend to outshine him. :)

• Lori, thank you kindly. I'm so glad that your Littles are enjoying the photos alongside you. I think it's adorable that they're so interested in what your bloggie people have to share. So sweet. Thanks for letting me know. :)

• Jillsy, we were indeed lucky. Our southern neighbours, not so much. Thanks always for the kind words. Very much appreciated. :)

• Susan, thank you kindly. I love everything about the female Cardinals. I think they're one of the most beautiful local birds, with their soft hues and subtle shading. And they always look so intelligent. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Sage, I feel for you. I had it relatively easy on Wednesday, and yet I can still feel it today. Stay safe and warm. :)

• DJan, I'm glad you enjoyed the cardinal/sparrow image. We were indeed rather lucky not to get the full hit of the storm. Unfortunately those who already had a great deal of snow were less lucky. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Daniel. Your kind words mean so much to me. :)

• Brian, thanks. Birds always seem to be having fun, don't they? What wouldn't be fun about being able to fly? :)

• Thank you, Deb. That's so nicely put. Quotable, in fact. :)

• TechnoBabe, thank you kindly. I'm glad your cardinals are beginning to come around. Once they get to know you, they'll be there all the time, I'm sure. :)

• Maggie Gem, thanks so much. The black squirrels are really the standard grey squirrels.. just darker. :)

• Linda, thanks very much. You always have the nicest things to say and I appreciate them so much. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

• Thank you, Suldog. You are such a sweetie. I promise that if I ever go that route, you'll be the first to know. :)

• Kristina, thanks. I'm glad you stopped by. :)

• Daryl, thank you. They're great birds, aren't they?

• Thanks very much, 365. :)

• Thank you, Betty. :)

• DS, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed them. :)

• Pat, I'm glad my 'repeat' went over well. We've only been getting snow since January, so I'm not in complaint mode yet. It probably won't be too long until I am, though. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Lailani, thanks so much. I'm glad I could please. :)

• Frank, thank you. I wasn't feeling apologetic but more the need to explain in case they looked familiar to anyone. I'm actually still good with the snow this year. Except when my boots leak. ;)

Hilary said...

• Reb, thanks kindly. :)

• Ellen, thank you so much. That means a lot to me. :)

• Pearl, they're wonderful birds. Always so interesting to watch. That's a LOT of snow in Minneapolis.. geesh.. stay safe and warm. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Karen, thanks very much. I'm very lucky to have these beauties around. :)

• Snappy Di, they're really actually the same squirrels - the black and the grey. The black squirrels can be found anywhere the Eastern grey squirrel exists. You can read about it here. :)

• Thank you, Sridharan. :)

• Pauline, thank you so much. I'm lucky to have a decent zoom lens for this camera and even with that, I have to be reasonably close to the subject. I have fun trying. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• MessyMimi, thank YOU! ;)

• Thanks Cloudia, and right back at you! :)

• MPM, spring is just around the corner. And your holiday to that warmer climate is even closer still! :)

• Lady Fi, thanks so much. Your kind words are always appreciated. :)

• Joanna, thanks kindly. I'm so glad you like them. :)

• Zuzana, my friend. I'm very glad you're enjoying my snow vicariously, but my bathroom? Gasp! ;) I knew what you meant. Your post was fun and I was happy to share my medicine cabinet contents with you and your readers. And yes, you made me laugh. Thanks for that. :)

• Thanks you kindly, Bob. That means a lot to me. :)

• Welcome, Andy and thanks for the kind words. I'm not sure about the Starlings. I no longer have my feeder tree, so they're certainly not coming to my back yard but I'm not seeing them anywhere else either. It's a mystery. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Anthony, thank you very much. I'm so glad I could introduce you to the Cardinals. They're wonderful birds. Thanks for stopping by to let me know. :)

• KC, thank you so much. I'm glad you enjoyed the pics despite their rerun status. You're right about missing out on the less outstanding sometimes. A good lesson to keep in mind. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Kat, thank you very kindly. I'm pleased that you enjoyed the photos. :)

• Sarah, you're right. Some days it is too cold to spend too much time out there - for me and for the camera. You got more snow than we did but my (much older) shoulder is feeling it too. I'll echo your sentiment to bring on spring. :)

• Christine, thank you. It never occurred to me how black and white those two photos appear. Thanks for pointing that out. And thanks always for the kind words. :)

• Yolanda, thank you so much for such sweet words. That means a lot to me. I'm glad you enjoy your visits. I sure do appreciate them. :)

• Deborah, thank you so kindly. I'm glad you got so much out of my photos. That's so lovely to know. :)

sleepinl8 said...

Wow, that very first photo is a perfect example of 'survival of the fittest'.

steviewren said...

Ohhhh, I love the lighting in the last photo. It is just perfect!

Andrea said...

I arrived here surfing blogs.
Your Cardinal picture in the snow is really great.
Thank you for sharing.


Andrea said...

Love that second photo of the cardinal. I was walking Sophie along the Credit River the other day and thought of you...I wonder if some of your walks take you by it further south. :)

Friko said...

never mind what year or month or week these were taken, they are magnificent.

Jayne said...

Hillary- I came here by way of Stuff From Ellen's Head, and she's right- you capture some beautiful moments. Very nice written thoughts also.
Thank you for sharing. ;)

The Retired One said...

Such pretty pictures! I found your blog through another blogger's recommendation (vaBookworm's)...and she is right...our photography is so much alike...she knew I'd love your photos....please stop by and see my blog too..we live in the U.P. (upper Peninsula of Michigan) and have similar weather to where you blog is at:

SandyCarlson said...

I swear those birds know you love them. So does the squirrel!

Hilary said...

• Sleepinl8, certainly of the brightest. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Steviewren, it was a beautiful afternoon. I'm glad I could share it. :)

• Welcome, Andrea. I'm glad you surfed by and I hope you return again soon. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Andrea, imagine that. Two of you in a row. I half expected my sister to drop by right after you as she shares your name too. I haven't been walking around the Credit River in a long time. My parks are in the northwest end of the city - in Meadowvale. Maybe you and Sophie can drop by sometime. I already know she's good with cats. :)

• Friko, you never fail to put a smile on my face. Thanks for that. :)

• Welcome, Jayne and thank you so much for such kind words. Ellen is such a gem, isn't she? I'm glad you stopped by and I hope you'll return again soon. :)

• Welcome, The Retired One, and thanks so much for stopping by. I don't think I'm familiar with vaBookworm but I thank her and you very kindly. I will indeed stop by your blog for a visit soonish. :)

• Sandy, you always say the right thing. Thank you, my friend. :

Anonymous said...

Amazing photos - your bird photos are wonderful and was that a black squirrel? I've never seen one!

Dave said...

Beautiful photos of little critters Hilary. Lovely - Dave

Anonymous said...

All wonderful, but I love the cardinal and friend, in the snow-covered bush. Just beautiful.

Linda said...

All the shots are gorgeous, but I especially love that adorable little squirrel. Are most of your squirrels black?

Hilary said...

• Barbra, thank you. Black squirrels are the same as the classic Eastern gray.. only darker. Same species - just a different colour. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Dave. I'm glad you like them. :)

• Sandra, thank you kindly, my friend. I'm quite fond of them myself. :)

• Linda, thank you. All of our squirrels are Eastern gray, but some of those are black.. at least half if not more. They're the same species. Thanks for the visit. :)

Land of shimp said...

The squirrel looks as if he is thinking, "You're looking at my feet, aren't you? Everyone looks at my feet. I have a tail too, you know. I'm up here, people!"

Hehe, sorry. He just has noticeable little paws, doesn't he?

Dawn said...

These are absolutely incredible Hilary!!!!
That first one has to be my favorite...although I sure do like that squirrel!!!

Hilary said...

• Alane, he does but he's got such a spunky little look in his eye, too. I was so smitten with that face. I'm glad you could see his personality too. :)

• Thanks very much, Dawn. I'm glad you enjoyed the pics. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

Kerri Farley said...

Oh I LOVE your snowy friends! And those benches steal my heart ..... FABULOUS!

Hilary said...

Thanks very much, Kerri. :)