Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Morning Stroll

It was another beautiful sunny morning when I finally dragged myself out of bed. I had enough time (just) to take the camera out with us for our morning walk. Here are a few of the images captured.

Frosted windowpanes!
Jack Frost paid a visit to my car last night,
decorating the windows with some beautiful filigrees.

Who can resist milkweed? The stuff is just so photogenic!

Look who's coming to breakfast!

I put out my feeders on Monday - risking the possibility that bears might still be out and about. Females should be snuggled down for the winter by now, but males could still be out for another month or so, especially if this mild weather persists. I really should bring the feeders in at night.

I guess it's time to plug in the birdbath.

Black Knot Fungus - Dibotryon morbosum
This fungal disease affects cherries and plums (genus Prunus). Around here I've only seen it on the wild choke cherries (P. virginiana). I've written an article about it which will appear at the Adirondack Almanack blog 25 November 2009...if you want to read more about it.

A frosty flowerhead.

I usually leave all the flowerheads in my garden for the winter, hoping their seeds might fill some empty bird tummies. I wonder if any birds eat bee balm seeds.


  1. Beautiful ice photos! You've probably already said this elsewhere in your blog, but what kind of camera do you use?

  2. Thanks, Woodswoman. The camera is a Nikon D90. I didn't have my macro lens this morning, so these were taken with the 18-105mm lens. Shoulda had the tripod, but dealing with a tripod and a leashed dog simultaneously isn't recommended, as I'm sure you can understand. :)

  3. Your sites so often echo what I'm seeing here, Ellen. Lovely photos. I always leave garden cleanup till the spring too, and often see birds looking for seeds on old flowerheads well into the winter.

  4. Barefootheart - I suspect all us nature nuts see and write about the same things at once! Just when I think I've seen something "new", I find someone else has just written about it, too. I guess there's really nothing new under the sun...just different perspectives in how we see it.

    Mullein is the only flower I've seen the birds searching for seeds, but then, I'm not home during the daylight hours in the winter, so I have no idea who's skulking about my gardens in search of food. I prefer to be optimistic and think I'm doing some good by leaving the flowers (if nothing else, it sounds better than simply saying I'm too lazy to cut them down in the fall).

  5. Don't feel lazy, Ellen, about leaving the spent flower heads. I remember reading about Bee Balm specifically, that its seeds provide sustenance for birds, even though it's one of the messier-looking plants in the winter garden. Sometimes the birds don't seek out these seeds until spring, when all other food sources are running scarce. I was almost ready to pull up the dead asters sprawling along my walk last April when I saw goldfinches busy among them.

    Beautiful frost photos, and I love that dear little chickadee.

  6. Thanks, Woodswalker. I've always preferred to leave the flowers, but sometimes garden tidiers can just niggle at you enough that you begin to doubt your well-meant motives!

    I also leave last year's leaves and stems in the gardens to act as mulch - it may look messy in May and June, but come July and things are really cranking right along, they are buried in the profusion of green leaves and flowers.

  7. It's not just birds that benefit from leaving your garden cleanup either. Caterpillars and other insects that live in the leaf litter etc are all better off for leaving your spent garden intact.

  8. That's true, Barefootheart! And then there's all the beasts living below in the soil that benefit later on as the "debris" decomposes.

    It's this same logic that allows me to leave my lawn unraked in the fall with a clear conscience. Admittedly, I don't have enough leaves to bother with anyway - certainly not enough to make any significant impact on my garden and compost - so I prefer to let them compost on the grass, getting much needed nutrients into the very poor soil I have.