Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Old Loves, New Friends

You may have noticed that it's taken me a lot longer than previously predicted to get that post up. Sometimes that's what happens when I write posts containing, you know, actual research and tens of images, so bear with me now.

In the meantime I want you to meet my new little friend. A seasonal migrator, a singer of delightfully chatty little ditties, the Red-Breasted Nuthatch.

Isn't he beautiful? Mary once wrote, far more eloquently than I ever will, about how different flora and fauna signify the passing of time in a given place. And it's true; we mark time in birds and plants and snow cover, much more than we consciously know. A certain species, a certain bloom, is a different  means of measuring than the month, or even the season. In the far North, the first fly of the year, the first yellow-collared face of a coltsfoot (oh how I miss them!) brings the month of May viscerally to us, taps into our ancestral memories.

We carry this knowledge with us instinctively, and once we truly tune into the natural world, it is impossible for us to not notice the thousand small signifiers of passing time. This, to me, is the best reason to keep a journal, to return each year to realize that we are entering the time of rose hips, of Nuthatches...

A few days past the Equinox, some things are changing fast towards the winter: cold nights, molting chickens, the sudden need to nest, stay close to home and the pantry.

I've wondered no further than my own backyard for days and days, yet felt like I never spend any time at home.
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All will be revealed soon, I promise you.
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Until such a time though, I wish you all happy Fall. And do tell, who's coming trough your backyard for a seasonal visit?
A special bird, mycelium, fruit?

all bird photos from here, here and here.


  1. what a darling little bird. this is the time of year where I sun bathe in the low forgiving light of autumn. my delicate plants are also relieved that the valleys summer is coming to a close. my poor little feverfew has been beaten to a pulp this year, but she is finally showing a healthy and not so hazardous growth.

  2. We have our Kereru pairs right now, Kereru is a Native NZ bird, a very large wood-pigeon, seldom seen without a partner, and usually so cumbersome that they weigh down crazy little branches. I love them, huge clumsy birds that they are, makes me feel so lovely and Kiwi in Summer. Unfortunately they are endangered, predators and hunting - despite that it is illegal to hunt them...the tragedy is that our own large Native trees are entirely dependant on the Kereru for seed dispersal, without them, our large trees will disappear. Anyway, sorry to sad up your post! I love your regular posting girl! xo

  3. The cicadas have all ceased their song, and the nightjars have fallen silent. And a trio of ravens passed over the mountain a few days ago... I saw a masked shrike, which was new to me. There are many subtle changes happening, and I revel in it.


  4. Oh my goodness, what a sweet birdy and beautiful photographs! :)

  5. boy, that little fella sure is cute!

  6. the canada geese are crossing our skies, the pears and apples are falling to the ground, cider and chrysanthemums and hay bales and cinnamon. it's all in place but it is still in the 90s every day! your nuthatch is sure a charming little guy. did you ever put bells on your cats to alert the neighborhood birds? we have a certain little someone who has turned into a killer. hint, she's the one who matches your orange girl. milla, i am ashamed to admit she has killed TWO woodpeckers. it is tragic and turns my stomach, she gets enough to eat at home and is just following her natural instinct like a tigress but we hate it. and yet we cannot abide keeping our cats indoors all day. anyway not to change the subject! herald fall! can't wait to hear about your project!!! and i can't wait to be able to wear mocs down here!!!

  7. I've been noticing these little black-hooded birdies lately, though I'm not sure what they are. Also, the sound of Canadian Geese flying over the yard a few times this past week is very much the sound of Fall. Fruit! With plum season ending and fig season beginning, our backyard is full of bounty at the moment. The leaves on our grape vine are beginning to turn and it's time to make more jam :)

  8. Birding is one thing I can not complain about here in FL. We are so blessed to see the migrations of many--often times rare ones. D. and I most favorite bird of all time (who will remain here until our winter and then go to Brazil) are Swallow Tail Kites!!!! Whenever we go a bit out of the city we are sure to catch a glimpse of them. If you haven't seen one fly-- you are truly missing out. Such graceful, beautiful birds!

    Can't wait to find out what exactly is going on in that teepee.. or is it a solar cooker? ha ha :)

  9. I have been bringing home baskets full of King Boletes and I even found my first Chanterelle. I am planning a post about it for tomorrow, if I get around to it! Our lovely Geese seem to be preparing to leave as well; constantly feeding and merging into larger groups.

  10. oh hello derr little nuthatch. i vant to kees you.

    most things here have gone to seed, and so i am delighted to see lots of goldfinches and many voles too...that i also want to kees....as they are out feasting. things are brown but the asters are enthusiastic, as are caterpillars. like missa and heather the canada geese have crossed my path in the sky, and i deem it the best ever.

    way to keep us in suspense girl! i can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve. also fun to see that dress on you....i got your lovely letter, and i'm sorry to not have written back yet. you are at the top of my list. love to you!

  11. my first fall in the northwest was the first time i really experienced the season. i felt the crispness of the air on my skin, i noticed the softness of the light, my hair took longer to grow. now, every year is a time of magic. the forests call their last calls for me, the apples tempt, i crave soups and reading.

    this fall feels more exciting than ones past. i feel more steeped in it. and we've been lucky with the weather. but i think creativity and curiosity are visiting my backyard. the drive to create and explore and cherish.

    i hope this fall brings you many blessings.

  12. Sweet, beautiful blog. Love the hair, the vibe, the feeling.
    Nice to meet you.

  13. In the past year I have gotten back into horseback riding and am on the trail every week, communing with nature in a deep way I have not regularly experienced in years. It is everything to me. I was taught as a child what each bird and branch was, and so returning to the woods is in many senses a coming home. the huckleberries are hanging bright and red, the blackberries drying up but still pungent. last week my horse and I were surprised by a grey fox on the trail. We all locked eyes for a good few minutes, and went on our way.