Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Looking for a Sunset Bird in Winter

I owe everyone an apology. I was so excited when I saw the bird's coloring that I made a terrible ID error! The last photo is NOT a Towhee. It is an "Oregon Junco" that is probably an intergrade with the "Slate-colored" Junco.

Looking for a Sunset Bird in Winter
by Robert Frost

The west was getting out of gold,
The breath of air had died of cold,
When shoeing home across the white,
I thought I saw a bird alight.

In summer when I passed the place
I had to stop and lift my face;
A bird with an angelic gift
Was singing in it, sweet and swift.

No bird was singing in it now.
A single leaf was on a bough,
And that was all there was to see
In going twice around the tree.

From my advantage on a hill
I judged that such a crystal chill
Was only adding frost to snow
As gilt to gold that wouldn't show.

A brush had left a crooked stroke
Of what was either cloud or smoke
From north to south across the blue;
A piercing little star was through.

I know that not all these photos apply to the poem (which I thought was lovely),
but I wanted to share more of "my birds." ;-)

The photos below show a visiting female Towhee!

Happy days!


Jim Groble said...

Your pictures are wonderful. How do you get so close?

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

What a nice poem, I think the pictures go very well. I always enjoy seeing your bird visitors, especially the Tufted Titmouse :)

RainGardener said...

I think the birds went very well with the poem. Your Towhee is very different from the one we get here. Beautiful birds - I miss them as we seem to not have any in the winter.

troutbirder said...

Perfect Shady. Just perfect!

Noelle said...

Thank you for sharing your pictures of your winter friends.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

It's fun to watch the birds in winter. The first shot is really cute.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Love your bird photos!

Kate said...

Wonderful poem and great pics. I am looking out my office window at a pair of pretty doves who look just like yours. I never tire of watching them...

Anonymous said...

It is wonderful to see your birds, Shady! Love the poem, and the vision it conjures. Could the towhee be a juvenile? Where's Lisa of Greenbow? Or am I just being difficult? Either way, it's a beauty! :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm jealous, we haven't seen any gold finches yet. We also haven't seen any snow. We are missing out all around.

Randy Emmitt said...


Your a winner! The pink flamingo fell over on the date you selected and now I need your contact info to send you your gift. my e mail is birdcr@concentric.net

Rosey Pollen said...

Congrats on winning the contest on Randy's blog. I can't believe it already fell!

Love your pics. esp. the cardinals on your header. I miss those!
We had them come to ourhouse in MI and now we get bluejays.

Rose said...

Robert Frost is one of my favorites, and it always surprises me when I find a poem of his I've never read before. Your photos of all the birds are great! I took so many one day when we had lots of visitors, only to discover later I should have used a different setting--so disappointing. Now that much of the snow has melted, many of our birds have disappeared. I'm hoping they'll return.

Gail said...

Your birds are delightful and so is the poem. Have a good weekend~gail

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Jim! First of all, most of the bird feeders are within 15 feet of my kitchen window. Secondly, I purchased (a long story) a new camera (!) this past Summer... Canon PowerShot SX120 IS. It has a 10x magnification, but it even zooms to 40! Pretty amazing. (Long distance shots at "40" lose clarity.) I haven't yet sat down to read my booklet on manual controls. These photos are all being taken in "Auto" mode.

Catherine, Isn't he cute? He's one that darts to the feeder, grabs what he wants and takes off with his seed. ;-) Very quick!

Raingardener, According to my book, you see the Spotted Western Towhee. We are privileged (rarely, for me) to see the Rufous-sided Towhee. This is a female. I haven't spotted the male, as yet.

Hi Troutbirder. ;-) Thanks!

Noelle, Thanks for visiting again. Don't we share a most opposite landscape these days??

Hi MMD, Isn't he cute? I love the goldfinches. (Are they looking a little more "yellow" than usual? Or is it the contrast with the snow?)

IGW, Thanks for visiting! I must reciprocate! :-)

Kate, I know what you mean. I love their soft "coo," also. Whether it's a tale or not, there's satisfaction in thinking of their mating for life. :-)

Hi Frances, No... it's a female. The juvenile is shown to have spotted stripes similar to the female house (and purple) finch.
(Lisa is in Indiana... are you missing her?)

Chad and Brandy, I should say! However, you wouldn't want the freezing rain, ice, cold temps and sleet that we've had this past week... and now the fog... But it did reach 37 degrees today. That means the ice began melting from the power lines (!) and tree branches.

Shady Gardener said...

Randy~! I cannot believe I won! :-) But I'm smiling from ear-to-ear. Can you see the glow over the horizon? ha. At any rate, I'm thrilled to be receiving one of your photo CDs. :-) I'll send you an e-mail asap.

Hi Rosey... :-) Who'd have thunk? We've been going in and out of cold weather, lately. I'm very excited, though!

Rose, I felt so sorry to hear of your situation taking photos of your birds. Right now, I'm taking on "auto" setting... so it does the work for me. Although I'm looking forward to learning how to do my own work, I can empathize with you. (Even on "auto," I rush and many of my photos are what I consider sub-standard.) I'm going to assume you'll get another chance??

Hi Gail! Thank you. I'm going to assume you're beginning to heal - because you visited and left a note! :-) Good to know.

Ginger said...

We have all the same birds, how neat! I never knew the name of the Towhee, so thanks for the ID!

Great pictures.

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Ginger! Thank you for your visit. This is a very cute bird. If you have a bird book, you'll see the male is quite different. :-)