Friday, January 23, 2009

Frozen Fog and Winged Visitors

Though I'm anxious for winter to come to an end, this week has been quite beautiful in a way that only winter can do. There are several inches of snow on the ground, which not only covers the dirty brown on the ground, but provides for brighter days even when the sun is hiding, due to its reflective properties.

One of the most beautiful phenomenons that occurs only in winter is frozen fog. We had two mornings of it this week, and while I wasn't anxious to go out and do some macro photography, I did snap a few images through the windows.
We have several feeders placed around the property, all within our view as we stay warm in the house. In fact, two of the most active feeders are attached to the windows of the family room. This not only provides us with entertainment, but the inside kitties spend much of their time watching and chattering at the birds when they're feeding.

So far, there have been no out of the ordinary visitors to any of the feeders, but the regulars are spectacular and seem to be losing some of their shyness when we approach the windows for a closer look.

We didn't see much of the blue jays all summer, but come winter, they have taken up residence here in great numbers. They intimidate the other birds and I've dubbed them "The Bullies." How can such a beautiful bird be so mean?

The house finches are a common sight at all of the feeders. They usually don't appear singly like the one in this picture, rather in groups of two or three. I love the red coloring they have.

While the male cardinal is brilliantly handsome, wearing intensely red feathers, I find the female just as attractive. The soft brown feathers are a perfect contrast to the red beak.

The most common feeder is the American Tree Sparrow. They are voracious eaters and the only thing that will get them away from the feeders is a Blue Jay. Though the Mourning Dove is a much larger bird than the sparrows, they eat side-by-side on a regular basis.

"Mr. Sparrow, your beak gives you away.
You've been eating seeds again, haven't you?"


Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Very pretty pictures. I love to see the different birds that we don't get to see out her in the northwest. When I was young we lived in Missouri for awhile and I really loved the cardinals.

Brenda Pruitt said...

I'm so enjoying the birds myself! As we all wait for spring to come. Your photos are amazing, by the way. Winter at its very best.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I am glad that you have the birds to keep you occupied during this rather dull time of year.

Have you ever tried cross country skiing? It would probably be a piece of cake for a runner like you. I would love to try it. We never have enough snow for a long period of time. Plus just getting all the gear. Maybe some day I will be able to try it.

Unknown said...

Love the ice fog--I haven't seen it this year, or maybe it's happened while I was still sleeping...and of course bird photos just make me smile and smile and smile.

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

These pictures are just magical.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Hoar frost is the most amazing winter phenomenon. So far we haven't had it this year. I'm very hopeful that we will before the winter is over.

I think the female cardinals are beautiful too.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Great pics! Love those bird shots!

Meems said...

Hi Kylee, Your white winter photos are striking and make me long for a trip to the snow. Your birds are happy to have the feeders... I never tire of being entertained by them either. Those blue jays can be mean and antagonistic ... we had lots of them this summer.

We lost so much in the garden this week there won't be much for you to see in February. Sigh.
Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

Robin Ripley said...

I never heard of frozen fog. Is that like frost? Or more like snow?

It has been wicked cold here. I believe if it's going to be this cold, we deserve some beautiful snow like you have.

Great photos!

Robin Wedewer, Examiner
also at

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

For some reason, I initially misread your post title as frozen "fRogs!" Which would be cool, too, as some frogs (the spring peeper and at least a few others, but I've forgotten the species!) do go into a deep turpor over the winter, except they have a kind of chemical "anti-freeze" that keeps them from dying even though they're frozen. I'm looking forward to doing a frog & toad survey in March! Anyhoo, your bird photos are lovely. I too think the female cardinal is just as lovely as the male, and the finches are just so cute, all around!

kate smudges said...

Gorgeous bird photos, Kylee! Frozen fog is so beautiful - it has been a regular visitor here this winter. Have a good weekend!!

Anonymous said...

Your lovely winter photos make me realize why I love winter and birds so much. Coleridge, in describing beauty, used a metaphor of frost on a window. Beauty resides, he said, in seeing at once the whole and the parts that make up the whole. Freezing fog has always reminded me of Coleridge's description of beauty, as do your phtographs.

Shady Gardener said...

What a Gorgeous Tree Sparrow photo! My questions... does the clear feeder on the window stay there without falling off? And, does it create any problems by having any more birds run into your window than usual?

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

Scrub jays are the indigenous jay to our area and they're just as mean with their bully dispositions. They even will attack, kill, and eat younger birds (particularly finches). I love your female cardinal. We don't have cardinals here at all so I always enjoy seeing photos of them--especially the pretty tawny colored females. Like you said, it's a lovely color contrast with the beak.


Kylee Baumle said...

Catherine ~ I too love to see the different birds native to different areas. And the cardinals are the best of the winter visitors!

Brenda ~ Thanks! The birds do help us get through those gray days, don't they?

Lisa ~ Yes, I have! I even have my own skis. It's been years since I've been on them though. This winter would be a good one to get them back out.

jodi ~ We had two days in a row of it! It makes everything look so beautiful.

Debbi ~ Thank you...everything did look magical!

Robin ~ Hoar frost is what I've always known this to be, but now even our weather people on TV are calling it "frozen fog." I'd never heard it called that until last year on someone's blog.

Sue ~ Thanks! :-)

Meems ~ I feared you might have, when I heard how cold it got there. That's okay, I'm sure there will be something to see, mainly YOU! :-)

Robin ~ I'd not heard of it until last year either, Robin. I've always known it as hoar frost, although this is a bit thicker than that. It occurs when there is fog and it crystallizes on everything, layer upon layer, until it looks like everything has been flocked. So it's like both frost and snow, but very, very fragile. The slightest breeze will blow it off. As I told the other Robin, even our weather people are calling it frozen fog now. I'm trying to get use to that term.

I agree! If it's going to be winter, give me snow!

Monica ~ LOLOL!! That is interesting about the frogs. I think I'd heard that before but had forgotten until you mentioned it.

Kate ~ Hi Kate! I hope you're staying warm up there!

Randy ~ I can't say that I love winter (quite the opposite), but these days with the snow have been beautiful! What a great description Coleridge has of beauty. I'll have to remember that.

Shady ~ The Tree Sparrows are abundant here! As much as they eat, they should look like little Tubby Tree Sparrows before long! LOL.

Yes, the clear feeder stays on the window. It hasn't fallen off yet, and it's had as many as three birds on it at once. We haven't had any birds run into the window yet either! :-)

Cindy ~ I kind of thought cardinals were all over the U.S. Sorry you don't get to see those there! They are gorgeous. The males really stand out in the drab winter landscape. They love the berries on our Washington Hawthorn trees. I'd love to get a good close-up of one on that tree while there's snow. (Not picky, am I?)

woodswoman said...

Hi! I also have been enjoying my winter winged ones... they just liven up a grey Minnesota day so much. I was going to comment on the bird feeder/window placement for safety of bird strikes, if that's ok. The advised placement these days is either a minimum of 15 feet away from the house/window source, or within 3 feet of the window itself. The thinking behind placing the feeder or house within 3 feet (or on) the window is so that the birds will either be slowing down their flight for landing, or just taking off if they DO happen to strike the window. (I guess a light thump is better than a full out header.) The only time I've had any 'mistakes' with this placement and a bird striking the window going full out was when they were evading a hawk that came cruising by looking for food....they just scattered so fast he didn't look where he was going! Enjoy your birds, and don't forget your suet blocks! :)

Rose said...

Lovely pictures of the "frozen fog", Kylee. I wouldn't mind just a little more snow here to cover up the dirty brown everywhere.

Watching the birds has become a favorite pastime of mine this winter, too. I haven't seen many bluejays at our house, though.

Kylee Baumle said...

woodswoman ~ Thank you so much for the information about the bird feeder placement to lessen window strikes! I'd not heard that before, so I'm glad you shared!
Thanks too, for the reminder about the suet. I have a couple blocks in the refrigerator that I need to put out.

Rose ~ We've had some snow melt now, but till plenty of it left to protect most of the plants. I'm soooo longing for spring!

Benjamin Vogt said...

Gorgeous shots of frog, or icog, or.... Why don't you have any pics of squirrels at the feeders? I had two on one this afternoon.

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