Extraordinarily lucky

The rains came yesterday and poured down upon us.  It rained and rained and rained.  The rain was most welcome.  The grass is still brown in spots, but it looks as though most everything else has really perked up after the good drenching.  We may get more rain today.  The air is soupy and warm, always a good combination for pop-up storms and showers.

I usually don’t care much for humid days, especially when it’s like it has been today, the air so thick with moisture you can almost see the droplets in the haziness.  This morning was so incredibly beautiful, though, that I scarcely felt the heat or the humidity, and I was surprised when I got back to the house to find I’d worked up quite a sweat.  You would think I’d have noticed that at the time.

What kept me from noticing the warmth and steaminess were the American Goldfinches at the feeders (in this case, the feeders are the thistle plants in the wildflower meadow).  They decided to share the morning with me, allowing me a few good shots.  I slowly made my way toward them, getting within about ten feet of them.

I never realized how hard they work for the thistle.  It already astounded me that they could stand on the prickly plants.  They don’t seem to be bothered by the thorns at all.

The goldfinches were not the only creatures out and about this morning.

The butterflies were enjoying the thistle, too.  There were swallowtails and monarchs and some I haven’t identified.  The Tiger Swallowtail was the most cooperative of the bunch, enjoying the thistle with the goldfinches.

Someone will have to help with the ID on this one. I can’t seem to figure it out.

Sometimes — most times, really — when I’m wandering around Breezy Acres, I feel extraordinarily lucky to be living in a place that is filled with so much beauty.  All you need are the eyes (and attitude) to see it.

Damselfly in the meadow

This damselfly is smaller than half of my thumb.  There are a lot of them in the meadows.  When they fly they look like tiny iridescent fairies flitting and fluttering over the grass seed heads and small flowers.  You have to really be looking to see them.

These guys are easy to spot since they’re so big.

The other day I encountered a dragonfly I’ve never seen here before:

A different dragonfly

I’m sure there are more I have yet to see.  That’s one of the things I love most about my daily walks:  discovering something new, and that happens with almost every walk.

Can you spot the praying mantis?

A couple of people have requested a map of Breezy Acres so you’ll know where to find areas such as the woods, the cattails, the future woods, and the sledding hill.  I’m going to sit down this weekend and see what I can draw.  I have to warn you, though… my drawing skills are pitiful.  I suspect it will end up looking like a child’s drawing, but at least it will give you an idea of where I’m located when I talk about the creek or the wildflower meadow.  I may even embrace my childlike skills by using crayons.  That will make it more fun.

That’s about it from the Bogs for today.  It’s not a bad day to sit on the porch or the deck as long as you don’t mind the humidity.  There’s a decent breeze to keep the insects away, and to give the illusion of coolness.  Keep an eye on the sky, though.  Storms, like mushrooms, can pop up pretty quickly.

May your weekend be filled with joy, laughter, and wonder.  🙂


41 Comments on “Extraordinarily lucky”

  1. Certainly did perk things up! That little bird is pretty happy and industrious.
    Great shot with the butterfly and bird in motion.

  2. tedgriffith says:

    Beautiful!! I just love that butterfly on the thistle and the mantis. We have lots of them each year and they are so much fun to watch. 🙂

    PS-Thanks for stopping by the new blog and following! 😀

  3. Hard to say for sure without seeing the shape of the beak – looks like a sparrow, yes? In your area that could be any number of streaky breasted sparrows. Song, Chipping, Fox, Rufous Crowned….so many to choose and me at work without my bird book handy :-)) I’d lean towards Song sparrow given the one center chest streak, though this one is very much more brown than ours.

    I love watching goldfinches at thistle – it’s like a moth to a flame! I had a random thistle plant ages ago and sure enough – the goldfinches came. I need to remember that for next season!

    • Robin says:

      Christina: Looks like a sparrow to me too, but I have a difficult time with sparrows. Here is a side view so you can get a better look at his beak when you have the time:

      27 July 2012:  Unidentified Bird

      He will have a little more brown in that profile shot because I had my camera set to “open shade” which tends to warm the colors. The color on the photo in this post is more accurate.

      • Robin says:

        Pardon all the typos in that reply. (I’ve fixed ’em on the blog but can’t fix them in the email that goes out if you’re subscribed to comments.)

        • Robin says:

          Song sparrow, I think. Looks pretty similar. Thanks! 🙂

          • Yup – finally pulled out my bird book and scoured the stripey breasted ones and my first instinct was correct – song. Anytime you see that telltale center breast spot in the midst of the streaks it is usually a song sparrow. Your eastern ones are actually more brown than ours and less streaky. Ours are quite dark gray and more heavily streaked but the patterns hold true.

  4. dadirri7 says:

    really extraordinary photos today robin, you were lucky, and observant and skillful too 🙂 looking forward to the ‘mudmap’!

  5. Pat Bean says:

    American goldfinches hang out every day at my bird feeder, but I haven’t got a really good shot yet. Your’s is really awesome. I do butterflies Ok though, like the one I ran on today’s blog. Thanks for sharing your walk

  6. Joanne says:

    Every time I visit Breezy Meadows with you I feel such a sense of calm, as I wander through your property, admiring all of the birds, insects, the pond, the woods, everything! Yes, you are lucky, but so are we, as you share your beautiful part of the world with us all here. Extraordinarily lucky. 🙂

  7. mobius faith says:

    wonderful finch feasts. And the butterfly on the thistle flower is just so prickly good. Love it. Nice work – as always.

  8. Oh, Robin, the photos today are especially stunning! This one should be FP! Have a wonderful weekend, my friend!

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Kathy. 🙂

      I think WordPress ought to have a button that nominates posts for FP. I’ve seen a lot of good posts lately that deserve it, including your posts about turning your fall into art.

  9. Marianne says:

    Hi Robin,
    The photos are beautiful! It’s wonderful to enjoy such beauty up close through your photography.
    Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  10. Oh Robin, what stunning photos! Don’t those goldfinches have to work away for those thistle seeds? (and so many of them…and they stayed right there) It’s never even crossed my mind that the thistle seed in our birdfeeders is THAT kind of thistle! The dragon flies really look like little metal sculptures…the detail that you were able to photograph in their wings is stunning! Were you delighted when you look carefully at today’s photos?

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Kathy (PP). 🙂

      I was tickled pink when I saw how well the goldfinches turned out. I had to sort through a bunch of really bad photos first, though. It takes me a while to get warmed up.

  11. jane tims says:

    I can hardly wait to see your map… Love the unidentified bird… any chance it’s a young bird?… the Robins have been learning to fly here all week, so I am suddenly interested in how different they look from the adults! Jane

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Jane. 🙂

      I’m not positive, but I think it’s an adult song sparrow. I think our young robins left the nest a while ago.

  12. that is an awesome “new” dragonfly. i smiled this morning when I spotted a Damselfly hitching a ride on Mirza’s tail!

  13. CMSmith says:

    You got some wonderful shots. Are you using a tripod? What kind of camera?

    • Robin says:

      Thanks, Christine. 🙂

      No tripod. It’s too much trouble to cart it around, so everything taken on my walks is hand held. My camera is the same old Kodak point and shoot I’ve been using.

  14. Ellen says:

    Have a nice weekend you too!!!

  15. Karma says:

    Robin your goldfinch photos are amazing!! LOVE! Is thistle an invasive plant, do you know? I want to plant some now just to have photos like that. I had been thinking about getting a thistle feeder and just never got around to doing it.

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Karma. It was my lucky day. 😀

      Some thistles are invasive, but they’ve been around since colonial times so I’m not sure invasive is the right word for it anymore. Here’s a little article on bull thistle (the one in my photos):


      I know the farmers don’t care for it (or any thistle, unless they happen to be growing it for bird food). We did not have bull thistle in our meadows until this year. The birds must have carried in seeds. It’s fun watching to see what will come up in the wildflower meadow where the birds live and eat. I never know from one year to the next what will show up.

  16. sandy says:

    Beautiful! My thistle got mowed down last season and didn’t come back. But, I saw the goldfinches on the monarda this morning.

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Sandy. 🙂

      We mowed our meadows in the late winter/early spring this year, and it seems like more thistle came back (especially the Canada Thistle). The bull thistle is new to us this year. The wind or the birds must have carried it in.

  17. bearyweather says:

    There may have been some luck in your gold finch shots … but, I think it had more to do with your determination and patience and stillness. My finches will not let me get close at all … but, with a bit more patience and stillness maybe I can be successful like you were.
    Love the shots of your finches!

    • Robin says:

      Patience and stillness certainly helped, Bearyweather. It took me the longest time to creep up on the birds without them noticing. I’ve been out there every morning with them, and I think that helps. They may be used to me by now, and know I’m not a threatening presence. 🙂

  18. Sallyann says:

    Just beautiful ! 🙂

  19. Dana says:

    So happy to hear that the bogs got some rain, Robin! The photos from today’s walk are simply gorgeous. I like the one with the finches in motion, especially.

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