The Little Brown Social Birds of Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven, Scotland

I’m in a birdy mood! Yesterday’s post had a haiku and a variety of our feathered friends. Today, I’m sharing the social networking of just one flock of birds who fascinated me on a recent trip to Scotland’s Aberdeenshire region.

fullsizeoutput_2a92The ruins of Dunnotar Castle in Stonehaven are surrounded by nature’s beauty: the sea, fields of heather dancing in the wind, gorgeous grain meadows and huge open skies. I’ve got a lot more to show you from the castle, but today, it’s just about that flock of fun little birds.

They swooped in en masse and settled on tall grasses, chirping and squawking. It seemed like they were talking.

DSC_0269
Birds in the field
Hanging Out
Hanging out
fullsizeoutput_2a86
Wait for me!
The Castle
The castle backdrop
Bird, Watching, Waiting
Sentry
fullsizeoutput_2a89
Togetherness
fullsizeoutput_2a82
Fluffy little thing

I got too close and scared them, so they moved their party to the tree.

fullsizeoutput_2a7f
Watching, waiting
fullsizeoutput_28f0
Going the same direction

Aren’t they marvelous?

fullsizeoutput_2a90
Like Christmas tree ornaments

I’ve done my homework trying to identify the species who gave me so much pleasure that afternoon, and I’m not quite sure…I think they are twites, but I look to my Scottish readers to correct me.

And now I see an easy haiku in this:

a treasure trove of
twites in a tree near the sea
in Aberdeenshire

© Glover Gardens

Birdsong Haiku and Bird Appreciation 101

First the haiku:

hoot, screech, squawk, chirp, cheep,
caw-caw, honk, quack, trill and peep –
backyard birdsong bliss

I really, really like birds.  Looking at and listening to them makes me feel calm and contented, as though I’m on the front row observing a fluttering and dynamic ecosystem in fluid motion.

I’m not a good bird-watcher yet – I don’t even think I rise to the level of amateur – but I think it is in my future.

Likewise, I’m not great at bird photography, either, but I like trying and learning from my efforts.

So here are some happy bird pictures, just because.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

 

 

Gulls of Aberdeen Harbor (including haiku)

I’m a gull watcher.

I like them. They remind me of where I grew up, in Gilchrist, Texas on the Bolivar Peninsula. Where nothing ever happened, and yet every day was interesting and different. We had lots of gulls.

Join me in gull-watching, in Aberdeen, mostly in the harbor. Just for a few minutes. Hear them squawking and cawing, and smell the sea air. Feel the peace seeping through your soul as the staccato screech of the gulls is accompanied by the soothing sounds of the waves. A gull haiku:

gulls soaring, screeching
pulling me home to the sea
you should come with me

fullsizeoutput_29f4fullsizeoutput_29f6fullsizeoutput_28d3fullsizeoutput_29f8Gulls GaloreGulls Round the LighthouseDSC_0110

fullsizeoutput_2a01fullsizeoutput_2a02fullsizeoutput_2a03fullsizeoutput_2a04fullsizeoutput_29eafullsizeoutput_29edfullsizeoutput_29effullsizeoutput_29f1fullsizeoutput_28c9

I’m a gull watcher.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Happy Earth Day! Join Me for a Walk in the Park

The first of two Earth Day 2018 posts.

fullsizeoutput_23baI’ve lately lamented on the lack of time for the Glover Gardens blog due to time-consuming springtime chores around Glover Gardens. I shouldn’t complain, though, because every hour spent in the spring garden pays off exponentially as the yard comes into full bloom. More on that soon!

Today is Earth Day, a great day to bask in the glory of our wonderful, life-giving planet. My celebration here in the blog comes in a set of nature photos I took recently during a road trip to visit our Musical Millennial at college in Austin. I was at Butler Shores Metropolitan Park, along the edge of Lady Bird Lake. I was killing time waiting for him to finish a rehearsal for the next day’s University of Texas Jazz Orchestra concert, using my new camera to stalk humans and animals around the park and practicing with the zoom lens. This post focuses on the animals, who were perfect models. Like this squirrel – can’t you just hear him saying: “Got nuts?”

fullsizeoutput_2373.jpeg

It was a glorious couple of hours on a sunny, cool afternoon as I wandered through the park. Enjoying  the sights and sounds of nature with only my camera as a companion was tranquil and restorative. Just looking at the photos brings me back there – won’t you join me?

A Walk Around Butler Shores Metropolitan Park

A spirited dog chased a frisbee, over and over. 

She posed for me afterward. She acted just like the men in my family when I make them pose for a picture, resigned and mildly impatient: “Just get it over with!”

fullsizeoutput_23b8.jpeg

There were turtles all along the water, sunbathing. This one was like me, having a solo day at the park.

fullsizeoutput_23af

These turtles were having a social hangout. I watched them for ten minutes or more as they watched people gliding by in kayaks and canoes, and gently kicked their back legs to keep their log perch floating in their chosen trajectory.

fullsizeoutput_236c

A purple bearded iris was opening up in the sunlight.

Birds of all kinds were everywhere, darting about and singing. And seemingly, posing.

fullsizeoutput_23b6fullsizeoutput_23acBird Gazefullsizeoutput_239b

The swans did a whole routine for me, turning into synchronized swimmers. A haiku popped into my head when I was watching them, which I’m saving for a post later in the week.

fullsizeoutput_23b2.jpeg

Thanks for joining the animals and me on this little excursion through Butler Shores Metropolitan Park. And Happy Earth Day!

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Spring is Calling

O Spring,

you call to me ~

with your cheeky ways

and lengthening days,

your budding flowers

and pop-up showers.

fullsizeoutput_235f.jpeg
Scentimental Floribunda rose from Glover Gardens

O Spring,

you call the trees ~

with your gentle breeze

tickling soft new leaves,

basking in sun-bright,

peaceful in moonlight.

IMG_3259.JPG
Cherry tree at the Jardin des Champs Élysées in Paris

O Spring,

you call the birds ~

tiny nests built strong,

their answering song

guiding fledglings’ flight

in the morning light.

fullsizeoutput_2360.jpeg

O Spring,

keep calling out ~

as long as we breathe, 

we’ll keep answering ~

the birds, the trees and me.

fullsizeoutput_1708.jpeg
Bright green spring aspen near Little House in the Rockies (Colorado)

© 2018, Glover Gardens

 

 

 

 

Backyard Haiku (for NaHaiWriMo)

Spring is breaking out early at Glover Gardens, and the backyard is like a bird sanctuary. I have a new DSLR camera that I am learning how to use, and have taken to carrying it with me as much as I can when I’m outside (weekends only; I have a corporate job with a long commute).  I am not good at schlepping the camera around yet and marvel at how pro photographers lug around all their equipment, ready to seize that great photo op when it appears. There are so many peripheral skills that they have to support the primary one of knowing what would make a great photo, and how to use their sophisticated equipment.

If you’ve been following Glover Gardens, you’ll know that I’m observing National Haiku Writing Month (#NaHaiWriMo) and posting one haiku per day in February. I started late, and it is a little more difficult than I thought, but I’m going to see it through.  Fortunately, the backyard at Glover Gardens is a source of inspiration for me.

joy in my backyard:
Mama Cardinal ponders life
while I sit and watch

fullsizeoutput_21a3
Mama Cardinal looks all around
fullsizeoutput_21a5
Checking me out to see if I’m a threat
fullsizeoutput_219a
Perched above the feeder to survey the surroundings (is it safe? is it safe?)
fullsizeoutput_21ac
Finally, crunching on a seed
DSC_0102
Looking at me again before going for that next yummy seed

Life is good, for Mama Cardinal and me.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Mountains and Birds Make Me Happy

Little House in the Rockies conjures many of my favorite words.

Little House Word Cloud

It’s a tiny little cabin in central Colorado, at 10,000 feet (or 9,997, if we’re being nit-picky) near the top of a minor mountain.

It’s a happy place. It inspires me, restores peace and tranquility and fuels creativity.

That’s what today’s haiku for NaHaiWriMo is about.

peace settles in like

snow on mountains, birds in trees

chilly serenity

 

Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens

Hunkering Down in the Cold and Watching the Birds

Brrrrr!  It’s hunker down time here in Southeast Texas where harsh Lady Winter (actually “Winter Storm Inga”) has found us and seems to be settling in for a good long visit.

We had hail and snow and sub-freezing weather all day today, which is confusing to the plants and wildlife here at Glover Gardens. There were birds we’ve never seen before eating from the feeders: yellow-bellied flycatchers; they are northern birds who should have migrated further south into Mexico by now. Alas, I didn’t get a photo because they scattered when I opened the door, but All About Birds has a nice one.

yellow_bellied_flycatcher_5
Photo from All About Birds / Cornell Lab of Ornithology

But I did catch this cardinal across the yard, using the big ol’ zoom lens on my new camera. What a beautiful sentry he is on that frozen twig.

fullsizeoutput_2014.jpeg

Stay warm!

Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens

Each One Unique: A Feathered Still Life

This little bird makes me happy.fullsizeoutput_1ff8.jpegShe just ate a seed from one of our feeders, flew to a tree, and now she sits.

Looking.

A feathered still life.

A perfect and unique little being.

fullsizeoutput_1ff4
See her there, on the branch?

Is she contented? Is she contemplating that next seed? Is she thinking what a great day it is to be a bird in the sunshine, in a sanctuary-like environment where the predators wear warning bells and the feeders are always full?

(Glover Gardens predators are lazy indoor felines who enjoy supervised backyard visits.)

Whatever she’s thinking (the bird), what I think when I look at her is that she’s a perfect reminder to be in the moment, and that every living creature is unique and special.

Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens