Sunday, December 09, 2018

Cooper's Hawk.

12-9-18 SHORT HILLS: I was watching the bird feeder activity out front yesterday morning. There were birds bustling about on the ground under the feeders, birds flying onto and off of the feeders, and birds on the suet feeder pecking away. It was a sunny morning, and I noticed a shadow cross the area.

Every bird suddenly disappeared into the shrubs. A moment later a large hawk landed in the ash tree that hangs over the feeder site. I got several shots while he/she hung around for about ten minutes.

An hour later everything was back to normal.

My expert consultants, Mike and Donna, agreed that the bird was an immature Cooper’s hawk. I find it hard to tell one immature bird from another.

Thanks to Lynn and Bill for dinner last night with Leeza and Roger and us.


Coopers hawk, immature-above and below...




Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Darker and Colder.

12-5-18 SHORT HILLS: We’ve been back in NJ for a couple of days. We had a warm rainy day followed by a cold windy one and today cold without any wind. The ground is starting to freeze again.

The days are shorter, darker and colder. We are almost down to only nine hours of daylight, and we won’t get longer days until the end of January. Sorry.

Since this year saw record Global Carbon Emissions, and the CO2 levels rose above 400 ppm for the first time in at least 400,000 years, maybe as long as 20 million years, it will be much warmer in the near future, and with a hotter atmosphere, the weather will become more unpredictable and more extreme.


Goldfinches, mostly in winter brown, have taken control of all eight perches on the nyjer seed feeder.

Mourning doves on the ground under the feeders.

From VT, the Bushnell game cam, catches a deer looking for the grass on a snowy night.

The Moultrie game cam on a dark afternoon.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Big Early Snow.

11-29-18 VERMONT: We came up yesterday, the day after the latest storm. The last 25 miles of the trip were slow because of light snow and slushy roads. It looks like February here, except the rivers aren’t frozen. We do get snow in November, of course, but multiple big dumps like this are unusual.

We have had damage, one half of a trunk of a multi-trunked pine tree fell in the yard, and the viburnum by the driveway steps lost four big stalks. They both will be fine eventually. More damage that may have occurred will probably have to wait until spring to get assessed. I walked around the yard in boots, and guesstimate that there’s a foot and a half of snow.

My new winter sport, since I don’t ski any more, is shoveling. The deck had been partially shoveled when we arrived, but I did the rest.

The skies are densely overcast, it’s in the low thirties and windy. The distant views are hidden in clouds and fog.


Yesterday afternoon. What's that by the fence?

It's Bally taking a snow bath.

A very big piece of pinetree on the ground.

About a foot and a half on the bench.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Baroque Thanksgiving.

11-15-18 SHORT HILLS: Thanksgiving has come and gone. We had Alison, Dan, Anna and Lily. Usually we take a walk between hors d’oeuvres and turkey, but it was just too cold. We lit a fire for the first time in many Thanksgivings. We never got to the movies after dinner either.

Saturday Judy and I went to Lincoln Center to see the NY Phil conducted by Emmanuelle Haïm play a Baroque selection. This was her debut with the NY Phil. Baroque is her specialty. They opened with Handel’s Concerto Grosso Op. 6 and then did two Suites from the Water Music, one with Sebastien Marq playing recorder. After intermission they did Rameau, Selections from Dardanus, an opera. We never before heard Rameau performed live, and the NY Phil never did this piece before. The NYT was not enthusiastic about the program, but we liked it.

The big rain started during the performance, and our trip home was an adventure. Today was in the fifties, perfect for a dog walk with Bebe and Ronnie.


It was a little brisk for alfresco dining, I thought. We ate inside at Cafe Fiorello.

Emmanuelle Haïm, the conductor, just before intermission.

Image borrowed from the NYT, Emmanuelle Haïm, conducting the NY Phil.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving at Lincoln School.

11-21-18 SHORT HILLS: Monday was Thanksgiving Day for Ms. Catalano’s Second Grade class at Lincoln Elementary in Newark, NJ. Jo-Ann does special Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, at lunchtime, for her students, at her own expense. Judy and other volunteers from CCPT go to Lincoln monthly with therapy dogs to help the kids develop reading skills. Normally the kids quietly read to the dogs.

The holiday dinners are Bacchanalian feasts, of sorts, compared to the regular study days. I join Judy on the feast days to take pix, and of course, to get fed.

Judy teaches the kids about dog care and training and has them walk the dog and give them dog treats. The dogs are showered with pats, hugs and treats.


All the desks are re-arranged to make a dining table.

Judy is demonstrating the 'Come' command in the hall.

Maizie is obeying the command...

To the delight of the kids.

Reward for Maizie is lots of pats and love and treats.

Maizie loves being fussed over.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Winter Seems to Follow Me Around.

11-15-18 SHORT HILLS: Not to be outdone by VT, NJ has four inches of new snow with more coming. It might turn to rain later tonight. Most of the leaves are down, but oaks, viburnums, beeches and others still carry some foliage and so are at risk of damage. We live on a hillside, and cars are already sliding downhill and not getting uphill. The plows are out.


Snow falling while the last of the leaves still hanging on.

Junco seated at the table.

Already about four inches.

It will, perhaps, turn to rain tonight.

Junco and sparrow hanging out under the feeders.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Winter Is Here.

11-13-18 SHORT HILLS: I woke up at 7, and there was six inches of new, heavy, wet snow on everything. Fearing bad driving conditions, I packed up quickly, shut down the house and left. By the time I got to Norwich the precip was mostly rain. The roads and I-91 were snowy and slushy, but by Brattleboro the snow was gone. By Hartford the rain had let up and it was in the mid-thirties. By the NY state line at Brewster, the rain had stopped and it was in the forties. The rest of the trip was uneventful.


White-out in VT....

But still Fall in NJ.