Snowy Bird Day 2017

March 13, 2017

My backyard snow birds……

Male Cardinal

Female Cardinals

Dark Eyed Junko – usually a ground feeder but on snowy days will come to my feeders.

Song Sparrow

House Finch showing off her pink backside.

House or Purple Finch – I can never tell the  difference!

Hope you enjoyed and stay warm!!!

Thanks for reading!

Orchid Show 2017 – From Beautiful to Bizarre

 

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The Beautiful….

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The Bizarre…

Feb. 27, 2017

There is still time to see these orchids  yourself  at the Missouri Botanical Gardens until March 26, 2017 !!

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There are the traditional orchids…

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and the not-so-traditional   (which remind me of  the term ” organized chaos”) .

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Individually  dainty….

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or a  dramatic family in all its glory.

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Some with stunning color…

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Some in a drunken slumber…..

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Some that resemble a gathering of aliens…..

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Some peaceful, orderly and tranquil…….

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Some jolly and eager to tempt u into  a closer look….

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Some like a graceful dance in the breeze…

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Some bold and daringly different   (is this really an orchid?)

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Some flighty…

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Some close-knit, all  with intricate detail….

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Some with eye lashes……

But all to be enjoyed ……

and let me not forget to  mention the magnificent  fragrance  that fills the room as you meander among these incredible  flowers!!!

Lastly – a quick trip thru the Climatron and a sighting of  a permanent  resident…

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Thanks for reading !

Hope you enjoyed!!

Well, ” Owl ” Be Darned!!!

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Thursday,  Feb. 16,  2017

With such  beautiful weather today,  I  decided to take advantage and clean out my shed.   From time to time, I heard a strange call,  kind of throaty and gurglely .    It  was a new sound to me and I had no idea what it was.      About the third time I heard it, I also heard a squirrel scurry on the tree  about five feet from me.  I glanced toward the tree to make sure the  creepy squirrel was scurrying away from me and not toward me,  and  to my utter surprise I was  looking  right into the face of a  Barred Owl  sitting  on the 2nd branch from the bottom!!!!

Now I have seen owls before  – at the zoo, at the bird sanctuary and on bird walks where someone else has seen them first and pointed them out to me.  But never have I seen one in my own back yard – so close and starring right back at me!    I quietly  backed up and went inside to get  my camera and binoculars.  Once back outside I saw that the owl had moved to the overhead wires.   Dusk was quickly approaching so only  one photo  was a keeper.

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But this image,  borrowed from the internet,  gives  a clearer  picture of my surprise visitor. Barred Owls  reside in Missouri year round , are about 21 inches in size (top to bottom) and have a wing span of 3 and 1/2  to 4 feet wide.   Courtship and breeding  begin in February/March.  They  mate for life and  their territories/nest sites are maintained for many years.  Barred Owls have been known to live  32 years in captivity and 10 years or more in the wild.    Great Horned Owls are their only natural enemy.

Also most interestingly, I  have discovered, they are known to sometimes nest in the empty nest of the red-tailed hawk.   This is happy news to me, as I just happen to have a used red-tailed hawk’s nest  at the top of the very tree I saw this owl in!!!   So “owl” be listening and watching to see if  he/she  is my new backyard  tenant…………..

 

Hope you also  enjoyed my surprise visitor!

Thanks for reading!

BIRD SURPRISES on VALENTINES DAY 2017

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Feb. 14,  2017

To kick off my Valentine’s Day,  this beautiful female Cardinal  came to partake in  the free bird  buffet in my backyard.

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Surprisingly, this dainty  Black Capped Chickadee was in search of a new treat and  came to my peanut feeder  – the first time ever I have seen a Chickadee at the peanut feeder.

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Another first – this  female Mockingbird must have been  very hungry because for the first time in my many years of feeding the birds, it is the first time I have had a Mockingbird at the suet…

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or at the peanut feeder…..

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or eating the black-oiled sunflower seeds.  Since she  is not a frequent visitor, she was puzzled and unaware of my love for bungee cords.

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Not sure why the grumpy attitude…..

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Lastly,  this  finch stopped by for a quick dip in the heated bird bath – he  must have been getting spruced up for  his Valentines Day plans!

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The finale  dance of the bath……

 

Hope you enjoyed  my feathered visitors and  also your  own Valentines Day!

Thanks for reading!

BIRD WATCHING ON AN ICICLE-LY DAY

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Eurasian Sparrows

January  14,  2016

While the human  species was hunkered down  indoors over the weekend  dreading  the ice storm prediction, our little feathered friends had no  choice but to venture out in search of  nourishment.    Here is  a sampling  of the birds that visited my backyard feeders over the weekend.

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Gold Finch wearing her winter colors.

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Flicker Woodpecker – a daily visitor not matter what the weather.

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House Finch waits his turn for space at the feeder.

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The Flicker sits among the ice coated branches.

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Female Red Bellied Woodpecker –  a regular.

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The Male Red Bellied Woodpecker – also a regular.

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Lastly  a Cardinal and a Pine Sisken.

Hope you enjoyed the photos and that the  weather treated you kindly in spite of the prediction.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

COLOGNE, GERMANY – 2016 CHRISTMAS MARKETS AND CATHEDRAL

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December 17, 2016

The final stop for the river cruise was Cologne, Germany.   Founded in the 1st century AD as a Roman Colony, Cologne has a vast history.   I , of course, was there to see the Christmas Markets and to visit it’s huge Cathedral.

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As you can see, the Christmas Markets were  so crowded, it was difficult to navigate  through the crowds.

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Though I still managed  to enjoy  some Christmas baubles.

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I would love to see  the  giant cow who wears this.

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It took  almost 700 years to complete the building of  the  Cologne Cathedral , 1248 – 1880.  It is massive in size and quite dirty.

 

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The gold sarcophagus is believed to hold the remains of the Magi, the 3 kings that visited Jesus after his birth,  making  the Cathedral a major pilgrimage destination. The remains were given to Cologne  from Milan, Italy in 1164.  The shrine to hold them was built by artisans from 1190-1220.

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Close up of the sarcophagus ( borrowed from the Internet).

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This Madonna  shrine shows many of the  pilgrimage offerings left behind.  There was also 2 large framed cases full of more  relics hanging beside the Madonna.

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The Cathedral is also filled with  enormous and spectacular stained glass windows.

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Least we not forget  – the aftermath of WWII.

 

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

Thanks for traveling alone the Rhine River with me!

SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSIC CABINET MUSEUM, in Rudesheim, Germany

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Brömserhof building, built in 1542, now home to the museum.

December  17,  2016

Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum is  the  most unusual collection I have ever seen,  nor  could I ever  imagined  to exist,  until I saw and heard  them.

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This museum’s fascinating  displays  of automated musical instruments is the 1st in Germany.  There are  approximately 350 exhibits, dating from the 18th to the 20th century, all privately owned by one person,  Siegfried  Wendel.   The owner’s hobby in the 1960’s  was to  rescue  (and repair)  these exhibits from becoming scrap metal.

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This piece played 8 different musical instruments.

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This showpiece played an unbelievable 18 different  musical instruments.

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This exhibit, built between 1892 and 1930,  the Hupfeld phono Liszt Violina,   played 6 violins at one time.

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Some  musical cabinets were beautiful,

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some whimsical,

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some with creepy clowns,

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and one was  very, very, interesting.

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This musical cabinet, built  from 1888 to 1892,  the “Land of the Dolls” featured 27 dolls, each  playing a different instrument.  This is the largest doll automated calliope  ever built.

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FYI – Many of these can be seen and heard on You Tube.

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The gift shop was as interesting as the museum, as  99 % of the items  for sale, of course, played music.

If you are ever visiting  the town  Rudesheim, Germany,  be sure to visit this museum – you will  be amazed!!!

Thanks for reading!

 

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