Thursday, December 31

discriminating Shoppers

I always put in the shell peanuts out for my blue jay gangsters. It is such fun to watch them come in and do their daily "shopping", as picky as anyone in a gourmet food shop, thumping the melons or squeezing the peaches. They pick up and weigh every single peanut before selecting a single one, looking for the "most for their money". They will eventually pack them all off, but only the choicest go first, usually for stashing somewhere like my firewood pile or under the pine duff in the back yard..

Wednesday, December 30

#10 theatrical Make-up

American wigeon drake and hen
My youngest daughter loves the dishy eye make-up on this guy!
Very Cirque du Soleil.

Tuesday, December 29

where are the Froot Loops?

 (borrowed from

Rainbow-billed toucan, national bird of Belize, denizen of the Central and South American tropics, happy fruit did you end up in a snowy spruce tree way up North?

Monday, December 28

#8 the King of Fishers

Belted kingfisher
Belted kingfishers are described as being "large, conspicuous and noisy", an apt label if ever there was one. They look like some demented hairdresser has spiked up their 'do and brushed all the feathers the wrong way. Very cool creature, despite the punk rock look and lousy singing voice.
Hard to get them to sit still long enough for a picture, got lucky on this outing.

Sunday, December 27

lemons into Lemonade...sort of

When Ma Nature hands you a blizzard (lemons) and you were supposed to be in Minnesota for Christmas...
try making lemonade (artsy pictures), or use the drifts as a refrigerator and have a cold drink when the sun finally comes out again. :o)

#7 on 3 Legs

Maybe you are starting to get twitchy and silly after all the Christmas festivities, too.

Saturday, December 26

#6 Green

emerald, iridescent, elegant

Friday, December 25

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas
Joyeux Noel
Feliz Navidad
Froehliche Weihnachten 
God Jul
Buon Natale 
Peace on Earth 


Thursday, December 24

#5 sapphire and Ebony

The gentleman preens his finery, it is Christmas Eve, after all.

Wednesday, December 23

fantastical frozen fingers of Frost


hoarfrost. a covering of minute ice needles, formed from the atmosphere at night upon the ground and exposed objects when they have cooled by radiation below the dew point, and when the dew point is below the freezing point. (

Jack Frost has been working his magic while the Black Hills have been blanketed with frozen fog for the past 2 days, he is an artist worthy of notice.

#4 it's a vertical World

Fat and Sassy,  where are you headed this morning, I wonder?

Tuesday, December 22

#3 sleeping in the Sun

hen mallard
A lazy lady, still snoozing in the sun.

Monday, December 21

#2 Dawn comes

awake, sleepy geese, 
sunrise lights silver pinions
rise, and meet the day! 

Winter Solstice    December 21, 2009    9:47 am 

Sunday, December 20

Christmas Bird Count, the series, #1 Daybreak

The 110th Christmas Bird Count:
Citizen Science in Action

"From feeder-watchers and field observers to count compilers and regional editors, everyone who takes part in the Christmas Bird Count does it for love of birds and the excitement of friendly competition -- and with the knowledge that their efforts are making a difference for science and bird conservation." Audubon

The Rapid City Audubon Christmas Bird Count took place today (12/20),  please enjoy the series I've created to share what a December day looks like along the banks of Rapid Creek, Rapid City, SD (44N, 103W) just 24 hours before the Winter Solstice.

Saturday, December 19

summer Snow

I thought maybe, just maybe, some of us in the North Country could use a little summertime on a wintery day. The Winter Solstice is nearly upon us, here's "snow" from the Summer Solstice, it seems like a long time ago!

Thursday, December 17

winter Goddess

Amaryllis was a beautiful shepherdess from Greek mythology and the pastoral poetry of Theocratus from the 3rd century BCE.  
The lady in the photo's proper name is hippeastrum, she isn't Greek at all, but a wildflower from the tropical Americas. The name comes from the Greek meaning "horseman's star", someone thought the flower resembled a medieval weapon carried by mounted knights

Dutch growers began hybridizing the plants as long ago as the 18th century. There are over 70 named species and more than 600 hybrids and cultivars currently known.
Minerva showed her face this morning.

Wednesday, December 16

full Squirrel Moon

We had the Full Cold Moon on December 2, a blue moon is due on New Year's Eve, this would be the Full Squirrel Moon on my birdfeeder. 

Tuesday, December 15

genuine Snowbunny

Another Neighbor has found the birdfeeders, this guy is nearby every morning and evening when the feeders are busiest, cleaning up the spills. What you can't see are the sunflower seeds that are raining down on his head from above. My female red-shafted flicker is on the platform feeder flicking rejected seeds over the edge, the cottontail and the ground feeders are the beneficiaries.

Monday, December 14

the South Pole

After centuries of attempts by intrepid explorers, Roald Amundsen and 4 companions reached the South Pole for the first time, December 14, 1911.

Sunday, December 13

the Twins

The mule deer twins who have grown up in the Neighborhood, they have gone from spindly-legged, spotted babes to rough coated young'uns experiencing their first winter. They were suspicious of me with the camera, but even more suspicious of the bouncy golden retriever who was peeking out his back door at them. 

Saturday, December 12

June and December

June birdbath 

December birdbath 

Friday, December 11

International Mountain Day, December 11

 aspen at sunset

Did you know that December 11 is designated by the United Nations as International Mountain Day? Me either! 
So designated in 2003 to raise awareness about the importance of mountains to human life and to promote sustainable development of mountain environments around the world. Sunset over the mountains known as the Black Hills, 4:14 pm  MST, December 11. 2009

Tuesday, December 8

winter Robin

We wait for that first spring robin, harbinger of warmer weather and soft greens. There is something special about the hearty little soul who finds the berries and fruits that hang on and stays around instead of fleeing the cold. This one was waiting for me to fill the birdbath and turn on the de-icer, too cold maybe for a bath, but anxious for a drink. One of my favorite winter bird photos ever.
Welcome, Robin

Monday, December 7

owl in a day's work for some Art Alley artist

Loved this new addition to Art Alley...I am not sure what disappeared under this latest offering, but these guys are a hoot! 

FC: it doesn't beat your Barred owl for ultracool, though :o)

Sunday, December 6

Big Bird and Whirlybird

Out filling the feeders, small birds waiting, these big birds overhead at the same time in the wintery sky. SD National Guardsmen are on training duty this weekend, sharing the wild blue yonder with a red-tailed hawk youngster. One was to my right, the other to my left.

Saturday, December 5

December at Jenny Wren's house...

Jenny Wren is probably scolding someone in a garden somewhere along the Gulf Coast right this minute. In her absence from my garden, we brightened up her summer home in celebration of the Season. She won't be here to enjoy it, but I think she would if she were here.

Friday, December 4

only 3 months until...

Until our mountain bluebirds arrive back, bringing with them the dandelions and green grass.  I needed a bit of a cheer-up, it is in the single digits in the Black Hills this morning and we feel like Old Man Winter and Jack Frost are picking on us.

Thursday, December 3

the weirdness of Light

beveled glass on the outside...

makes weird and beautiful patterns on the wall inside. 

Wednesday, December 2

full moon of December, #1

The first full moon of December (6 am MST), the second will be on New Year's Eve, the infamous Blue Moon, as in "things happen once in a blue moon".
This one is the Snow Moon for many Native American cultures, and the Wind and Rain Moon to the native people of New Guinea. In southeast Asia, this is the winter or wet monsoon season. In many world cultures, the full moon's name reflects the season's weather or significant agricultural milestones.

Tuesday, December 1

Cottonwood County, MN

County Road 11, Cottonwood County, Minnesota