wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Shorebirds

Down at our local beach the other morning, these godwits were pecking in the soft shore mud. They look similar to sandpipers, but the speckled feathers and the slightly upward curve of the extra long bill say “godwit.”

The long bills are designed to probe the mud and sand for worms, molluscs, and all sorts of aquatic life.

There are several subspecies of godwits. I think these are marbled godwits.  I’m not a bird expert, so if anyone can provide more info, I’m happy to hear it.

There is nothing religious about the name “godwit.” Supposedly, the bird was named for the sound it makes.

Did you know that godwits can sleep standing up?

They tuck their head behind the shoulder and stand on one leg and have a little nap.  Sometimes I feel tired enough to sleep standing up.  I understand resting my head, but standing on one leg? That’s asking for trouble.

There are many more kinds of shorebirds that look like these. It is a whole science in itself to learn to identify them. I heard one of the godwits talking:

***

I love to dabble on the beach,

Poke at worms within my reach,

A tiny shrimp, a mini clam.

I am a godwit, yes I am.

*

 I stand on one leg for a nap,

I tell my friends, “Give me a tap.”

I’ll rest my head upon my shoulder.

Being with friends will make me bolder.

*

Then off we go to wade some more

All along the briny shore.

It’s a right fine restaurant,

Serving all the food I want.

*

Do come see me on the beach,

Don’t mind if I keep out of reach.

It’s safer for me keeping clear,

But visiting will bring us cheer.

 


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Mystery Bird

We have several birds from the woodpecker family around here, but I have never seen this one. My first thought was a redheaded woodpecker (for obvious reasons) but they have a definite white wing patch, solid black back, and solid white front..

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This fellow had a mottled front and specks of white on the black back. It could be an immature bird, but still….

Also note the light patch at the base of the beak by his eye. I would love to know what this bird is, so if anyone has any ideas, please enlighten me. It was quite happy to stay put for a long while and peck at this maple tree. Judging by the holes in the tree, he has been busy. He was about the size of a robin – maybe a tiny bit bigger.

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A Man’s Gotta Eat

When the cold weather hit us about ten days ago, I hurried out to make sure my birdfeeders were full, and added some suet blocks to the menu. One of the first to enjoy a meal of suet was this Oregon junco. My sister calls them her little soldiers because of their black helmets. (I took these pictures through a window and using the zoom lens so that accounts for the graininess, but it’s the only way I could get close to the birds.)010

But a rather large dinner guest arrived. The steller’s jay muscled his way past the little soldier. He gobbled down a big dinner and then beat a hasty retreat when an even bigger diner flew in.012

This woodpecker, a red-shafted northern flicker landed right on his dinner plate. He had his black bib on and came prepared for dining. He looks quite dapper with his polka-dot shirt and a slash of red lipstick on his moustache. No, it’s not Mrs. Flicker, according to my bird book. In bird families it’s the men who get all gussied up and the women who keep a low profile. So here we have Jack Flash and his red slash, holding on for dear life to his seat at the table.

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“Is it okay to start eating?” he asks. (Polite young man, isn’t he?)

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Oh, maybe I spoke too soon. He’s got food all over his mouth.

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“Did you say something?”

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I told him he had food on his face, but he didn’t seem to care. He just stuck his face right into his plate.

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“This place is a bit too picky for me. Maybe I’ll try ‘Avery’s Restaurant’ next door. They don’t stand there watching you eat, taking pictures like private investigators. I suppose they’ll mail these photos to my wife. But go ahead. See if I care. She’s out to a ladies’ lunch date at the Treehouse Diner with her girlfriends  having the Insect Borgasschmord. I’ll get whatever I can get wherever I can get it, and so what if I make a pig of myself? A man’s gotta eat.” 036