Life's Little Moments

By dbifulco

Pine Siskins!

I was hoping to see some Pine Siskins this winter - they don't always get to our area from their northern range, just depending on food availability.  I'd seen some reports lately of other people in my area seeing them so I've been on the lookout.  And today I was rewarded with three of these feisty little finches, holding their own agains the larger House and Purple Finches and generally wreaking havoc with the regular feeder birds.  They also never seem to be particularly shy around humans, so I was able to get some nice shots from only about 10 feet away.  This was my favorite because you can see the yellow plumage on the wings as well as the aggressive posture of the second siskin in the background.  

It was another beautiful day and I spent a fair amount of time out in the garden.  Jax was (predictably) tired from his play day yesterday and was content to nap on his bed on the deck while I pottered.  Temps pushing 70 F so really nice to be out.  

I didn't check on the salamanders today but I did see Slinky the Shrew zipping back and forth in his little tunnel in the garden.  Like voles, shrews tunnel near the surface so there are open areas where you can see the them running from one end to the other. They also tunnel just under leaf litter which provides some open patches to watch them passing.  I have to confess that I am very smitten with this little creature, venom notwithstanding.  I was able to get some video on my cell phone yesterday of him flashing out to grab seeds - and Hubs named him.  

There is one chipmunk coming around right now that doesn't have a tail - well, it's actually got about a half inch of tail left.  After years of observing them, I am inclined to think it lost its tail doing battle with another chipmunk rather than a tangle with a predator.  Their fights are epic and very intense, and it's not uncommon to see a chippie with a very short tail.  Never have I seen one quite this short, however.  

Life on the Lane.  

Dark with sea salt today.


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