Category Archives: north carolina

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker checkin in…

Howdee all,

Homey has arrived safely in NC and it parked snugly between two familiar hickory trees.

Arrival was not without complications. Just two miles away from Carthage, Jeff stopped for diesel~after fueling Homey would not start..

No sound when the key was turned. This has happened several times in the past ten years. This time it took a few more taps with a hammer on the solenoid and it started.

Yellow bellied sap_017Before Homey arrived I noticed a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker mewing and going to the suet.

Not soon after Homeys arrival, the sapsucker checked out its reflection.

Yellow bellied sap_005Our windows are reflective and we always have birds coming to the window to see who is in their territory.

Yellow bellied sap_007

For the past two mornings Mr. Sapsucker starts tapping on our bedroom window at 6:30 and then moves on to the bathroom window for a bit.

Yellow bellied sap_013

Here is a video of him tapping at our bathroom window.


Autumn in the garden of Dell and Craigys


Its that time of year..the garden is starting to go into winters slumber..

NC dells_016Some of Craigys hearts hanging from the entry trellis,

Craigy makes hearts for Sicksta..

NC dells_046Sicsksta Dell likes garden statues and art..

Anyone want to contribute some garden art?

NC dells_017Camellia’s bloom this time of year.

NC dells_048The grasses showing off their dried mops..

NC dells_045NC dells_043The old shed in the back yard is falling apart slowly..

One of these years it will be torn down..

NC dells_044Another Craigy heart on the entry path…Sicksta embedded it between home made pavers and shiny blue glass beads.NC dells_018

Craigys blue bomb~I mean truck..;0

NC dells_019Another piece of garden art..NC dells_020That gets moved around from time to time, when things need moving to the dump.

NC dells_022I wonder how he sees out of these foggy side mirrors..

NC dells_026

I wander out of the yard and into the field next door..Its for sale…the field and 20 acres that go down to a small stream.

NC dells_034NC dells_029It’s a pretty used to be mowed and planted with crops to attract deer for the neighbor who was a hunter.

The neighbor passed away and the field has gone to the grasses and wildflowers..

Good place in the spring to look for Indigo buntings and Blue Grosbeaks..and other purdy birdies.

NC dells_041

Back in the yard I check out the area near the home made rock patio..

When I am here it is always filled ….its strange to see it empty.

This sandy space is waiting for Homey and Jeff…and so am I ..

NC dells_047

Fire in late Autumn..

Howdee all,

Its nice to finally be here in NC at Sicksta Dell and Craigys.

When we arrived the Oak and Hickory trees had let most of their leaves go and it was a big leafy mess in Sickstas garden.

NC_001So…Sicksta raked…and Craigy burned some of the leaves..

NC_005NC_007Jack supervised..

NC_004I took this particular day off..


The following day I raked leaves, put them on a tarp and dragged them to the back yard . I cleared the area in preparation for Jeff and Homeys arrival next week.

I set up the bird feeders.

I am wondering where the Robins and Cedar Waxwings are..they seem a bit late this year.

NC_010Jack and Kali in their new orange scarves. 

Its hunting season here…and one cant be too careful.



Walking Bonnies field~Happy Thanksgiving

Howdee all,
I am now in NC with Sicksta Dell and her family.
Colin continues to do remarkably well.
We have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!
Wednesday we went for a short walk into a neighbors soybean field.
bonnies pond and soy field_005It was so nice to get out and enjoy the day…we have had such a difficult and stressful few weeks.
Bonnie, who owns this land, is in her 80s
She still has her land plowed and planted.
This year she has soybeans  Soybeans are planted to enrich the soil.
Next year she will have tobacco planted.
bonnies pond and soy field_012Sicksta and I munched on a few soybeans as we walked.
The soybeans were smaller than the edamame we are used to eating.
bonnies pond and soy field_006

They were chewy and tasty. We don’t think these are harvested at all and will find out if we can pick a few to cook.

Bonnie also has a small pond on her property.
bonnies pond and soy field_003
No ducks..I did see a few birds flying around..but have no bins with me here in NC.
I will have to wait for Jeff to arrive with our Homey..
bonnies pond and soy field_002It was a beautiful day..and nice to go for a walk together..
Nice to let go of the stress accumulated in the past few weeks..
bonnies pond and soy field_004and enjoy~Natures decorations… 

and a farmers field…

We have much to be thankful for..
Wishing you and yours a Wonderful Thanksgiving..Filled with

A sigh of relief…

Howdee all,
For those who haven’t been following Colin’s progress on Facebook-
This past Friday he had the surgery to replace his skull piece, that was removed after his fall.
His surgeon signed his head before surgery.
Surgery went well and Colin spent a day and a half in ICU.
He had two shunts coming out of his skull for drainage. See the tubes and small bladders?
After the tubes were removed, Colin spent a day in recovery before being released on Sunday.
Colin said it hurt when the Dr. pulled the tubes out of his skull and then stapled the holes..OUCH
We were given the ok that Colin could travel. We left early Monday morning for NC and arrived late Afternoon…in time for a walk around Sickstas home.
We will keep an eye on Colin for four weeks before returning him to Pittsburgh.
We all so thrilled by the outcome so far.
I really feel all of your prayers and well wishes had something to do with his remarkable recovery!
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

Where did the time go?

Howdee all,

Seems like we just arrived at Sickstas and Craigys and now we are gone..and in West Virginia..

When we arrived five weeks ago..there were no leaves on the trees…

Around sickstas_011

When we left they were all leafed out..

Sickstas g_010Making it harder to see the birds… 

Unless they came out in the open like this Summer Tanager..

Sickstas g_009When we arrived the Bluebirds were just checking out the nest box…

around sickstas_080 (1)

Before we left…Craigy and I peeked in the box and saw three eggs..

Around sickstas_062 (1)

When we arrived the Chickadees were in and out of the moon…building their nest..

Ten minutes before we left, I saw the Chickies fledge…What a treat! I didn’t have my camera, nor did I want to take the time to grab it…I savored every moment…as the awkward little fledglings left the Moon for their first flight.

Water droplets and flowers_038

I saw ferns unfolding..

I will see more here up north…seems like it’s a few weeks behind here…

Weymouth Woods walk_015Ballie enjoyed his daily walks…

When we are at New River he will be lucky if he gets a walk all week, we will be gone all day birding.

Around sickstas_041Seems like we just arrived and Craigy was starting to put in the new kitchen..All of the cabinets are in now…and the countertop is next…

Craigy likes to sit by his pond watch the fish…six Goldfish..Sicksta put some flowers in the pond.


And Craigy plays in his pool too…

Jeff is always busy killing Vampires…don’t even ask.

Around sickstas_020I found this dead, but colorful bug..

anyone know what it is? > I bet Sicksta Lori does.

Around sickstas_029 (1)Found a beautiful living bug also..

lots of bugs in Sickstas yard.

Around sickstas_014 (1)

When we arrived the Iris were just budding~

Water droplets and flowers_101 (1)

Before we left we were able to see many different Iris blooming..

P1060554Love the colors of these…P1060551I had a love affair with Water droplets

Water droplets and flowers_065And enjoyed the birds coming back from their trip south.. 

Water droplets and flowers_030 (1)

Water droplets and flowers_066I enjoyed Sickstas Garden and hanging out with her…

Water droplets and flowers_158After weeks of searching…I found some Morel Mushrooms!

Sickstas g_032We saw the first NC record Cassin’s Sparrow.

We saw what devastating damage a Tornado can cause..

We did all that, yet it seems like it was no time at all…

Where did the time go?

The Warblers have just started to arrive in numbers…and we will miss that..

We will miss Craigy yelling at the Kitchen as he puts it together..

We will miss the Bluebirds fledge…

We will miss the flowers that were just about to show off…

We will miss Sicksta, Craigy and the pups..

Such is the life of wanderers….


Goodbye Sicksta and Craigy and pups…

See you in November..

I hope the time goes by slower then…

Tulip Poplar flower

Howdee all,

When I go looking for Morel Mushrooms, one of the trees I look under are the Tulip Poplar trees..

Water droplets and flowers_104The trees have these beautiful flowers

Water droplets and flowers_106Most people don’t see them because they are high up in the trees.

Water droplets and flowers_127

Sometimes wind will take a few down to the ground

Water droplets and flowers_109…and then I can enjoy how beautiful they are.

Water droplets and flowers_112

Water droplets and flowers_115

Morel near a Tulip Poplar

Sickstas g_033Today is our Bittersweet departure from dear Sicksta and Craigys..

We are on our way to West Virginia

New River Birding and Nature Festival

May not have internet,or much time to blog..

…So if not…See you after the festival!

Water droplets on yellow

Howdee all,

Guess what?

Water droplets and flowers_085


Water droplets and flowers_086More

Water droplets…

Water droplets and flowers_101This time on Yellow..

This below is a Cytisus flower

Water droplets and flowers_102And a yellow Iris..

Water droplets and flowers_088

Drippidy~ Droppidy

Water droplets and flowers_089

Liquid jewels

I think of earrings when I look at these droplets  below..

Water droplets and flowers_097

A fuzzy orange tongue

Water droplets and flowers_090

Lapping up the droplets…

Water droplets and flowers_091

Terrible tornadoes again….Luckily none in our area.. 

I was up most of the night as the weather radio went off about every hour with an alert.

My heart goes out to those who lost their homes, businesses, family and friends…:(


Jeff and I leave North Carolina on Saturday….

always Bittersweet…

We are heading to West Virginia for a week to attend the New River Bird and Nature Festival…then onto Ohio for the Biggest Week in American Birding.

Warbler Heaven:)

Cassin’s Sparrow, Scotland County, NC

Howdee all,
When I read online on Facebooks new ABA Area Rare Birds group created by Chris West that a first record for NC Cassin’s sparrow was seen just a half hour drive from where we were~~I wanted to see the bird.
Jeff and I have seen Cassin’s sparrows in Texas, but this bird was way outside its range.
When I mentioned seeing the bird to Jeff, he wasn’t so thrilled. The Cassin’s Sparrow is a rather plain looking bird.
There was a Fork-tailed flycatcher seen the same morning the Cassin’s was discovered, but hadn’t been seen since… I thought idea of seeing a Fork-tail flycatcher might be more appealing to Jeff as it is a Gorgeous bird and would be a life bird for the both of us…
Cassins Sparrow in NC_003
I knew the chances were pretty slim on seeing the Forkie… got us out there to the Cassin’s. 🙂
Clouds near Cassins Sp_001 We followed the directions from The Carolinas Birding List and put in the GPS coordinates..
They were spot on..
Clouds near Cassins Sp_003The second we drove to the spot we heard the Cassin’s..
Clouds near Cassins Sp_004There was one other car there…a father and son.
They told us that two Cassin’s were singing earlier…
Very interesting. The talk on the listserve is that the droughts in Texas etc..could have them deciding NC is a good home.

Subject: Cassin’s Sparrow range
Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2011 06:03:49 -0400

Cassin's Sparrows have long been one of my favorite sparrows.  I have 
fond memories of waking up to their songs while camping in western
Oklahoma. Thanks again to Gil for finding and bringing everyone's
attention to them.

It is always risky to speculate why a rarity has shown up, but with two
Cassin's Sparrows in the state, one has to wonder. Cassin's is native
to short and mixed grass prairies with some larger plants - shrubs and
yucca - from which to sing. This area is mainly in western Texas,
Oklahoma, and Kansas and eastern Colorado and New Mexico. Populations
tend to fluctuate greatly, often in response to drought. The drier the
year, the further east they nest. Interestingly, most of their normal
range is in one of the strongest drought in years. Of course, "further
east" is usually central Oklahoma and eastern Texas. Who would have
thought North Carolina!!

John Dole
Raleigh, NC
Cassins Sparrow in NC_007Here is what Daniel, posted on the listserve later in the day..and a link for photos..
Subject: Cassin’s Sparrows, Scotland County
 Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2011 17:35:45 -0400

After finding the longspur at Fort Fisher, Dad and I drove up to Slate Circle to try for the Cassin’s Sparrows. It took us a little while to find the right field, but once we did both Cassin’s Sparrows were singing as soon as we got out of the car. We got great looks and bad photos of one of them, and heard the other one. Link to photos:

Daniels dads photos are much better than mine…As the distance was great and I just have a point and shoot with 20x …
See the Sparrow?
Cassins Sparrow in NC_004Here..let me crop the photo…ha..oh there it is! Cassins Sparrow in NC_004
We actually had great views in the scope….theirs, we didn’t bring ours~ mistake…I could have had a nice digiscoped photo of this bird, as it sat quite a long time singing in the same spot.

Clouds near Cassins Sp_005
This Savannah sparrow was much closer …
Cassins Sparrow in NC_023
I did take a video of the Cassin’s ~which is much nicer..because the best part of the whole scene was hearing the bird….a beautiful song…and also the displaying.

So here you go…listen to the video…
I had no tripod..only a monopod..and keeping it still was bear with me here…
Note~at the end of the video the~ Skylarking
There were some storm clouds coming in from the west ..
Clouds near Cassins Sp_007It started to rain..
Clouds near Cassins Sp_010
It was time to go…
Oh..and no Fork-tailed flycatcher

What a difference a day makes

Howdee all,

It was a bit scary yesterday here in NC with all the storms going thru. 

Storm clouds in the distance…Sickstas storm and more_001

I was alone, Jeff was in Boston, My Sicksta and her husband were at work. I was watching the weather radar and saw the storms approaching…I took my prized possessions, Cameras, computer, binoculars and my Cat from our homey and went next door to the house.

The plan was to pile into the bathroom with the two dogs and cat if the radar looked ominous. I watched the radar for a few hours and turned on my weather radio. It was pretty ugly on the radar..but luckily nothing but thunder, lightening and rain here.

It was very sad to find out that lives were lost and homes and businesses destroyed.

What a difference a day makes…

Today was sunny and beautiful.Sickstas storm and more_007

I made rocks today…to finish this pathway to the patio that we made a few years earlier…Sickstas storm and more_002One bag of cement~some peat moss~water…

Sickstas storm and more_009Walkway finished…

Sickstas storm and more_014

The Great-crested Flycatcher returned today..and was wreeeeeping around the yard.

I went across the street into the woods to look for Morel mushrooms..

I do find other things in the…

This snake that blocked my path and would not budge…Around Sickstas_002The remains of a cardinal..

Most likely eaten by the resident Coopers Hawk…

I need to speak to him…I much rather he take a few Brown-headed Cowbirds that have been pigging out at the feeders…

Around sickstas_002 (1)

Ferns unfolding…

Weymouth Woods walk_007And mushrooms that aren’t Morels…

This looks like a Russula ..

Around sickstas_007

Sickstas storm and more_011


So I left the woods and back in the yard..

The Chickadees that live in the moon have little ones..

I see them both going in and out with goodies for the kids…

Sickstas storm and more_004

There are more flowers starting to bloom in Sickstas garden….

Sickstas storm and more_028After a busy day…of Rock making~bird watching~mushroom hunting…

I made dinner for three…we watched the birds as we ate…

Sickstas storm and more_015

After Dinner

…Sicksta does her walk around…and while she was walking around she found these…

Sickstas storm and more_049What are they?Sickstas storm and more_050Strange looking bugs????Sickstas storm and more_051

And another day comes to a close………………

I will listen for the Whip-poor will tonight..and watch the Flying Squirrels before closing my eyes…

I hope those affected by the tornado will have some peace.

Sweet Dreams…