December Mountain Living

We had a real cold snap last weekend, and as much as I’d love a white Christmas, it isn’t in the forecast for this year.  Somehow, the cold makes the skies crisp at night, lots of stars out to see.   Occasionally, I have a bout of insomnia, and this particular morning I was glad, as the sunrise over the mountains to the east of ours was spectacular.  Rain was on the way, and dawn brought brilliant color to the sky, seen through the architecture of the bare trees.

December Dawn 1

The wider view was difficult to get the brilliance of the dawn, but you can see the color was most of the horizon over the mountains.

December Dawn 3

Out in the valley, the color there was beautiful as well.  My camera just doesn’t do this justice, I’d need a wide angle lens to show you the true grandeur of this moment.

December Dawn 4

Our avian visitors have been eating us out of birdseed, emptying the feeder in just a few days rather than over a week.  I am thinking some of the other neighbors have stopped filling their feeders for the winter, so these guys are hungry.  We have such a wide variety right now too, titmice and nuthatches, cardinals and chickadees share the feeder, sometimes with 8 or 9 on the feeder at once. I managed to get one shot of seven at once – two chickadees, two nuthatches, and three goldfinches.

December Bird visitors 4

The goldfinches are regular visitors, wearing their duller brown coats for winter.

December Bird visitors 7

A blue jay comes around from time to time.

December Bird visitors 1

But the biggest surprise was seeing a pileated woodpecker gobbling up the suet.  He made short work of a lot of the seed in the feeder too.

December Pileated Woodpecker 1

I could not believe he could land on such a small spot!

December Pileated Woodpecker 2

The crows finished off the pumpkin and DH threw away the shells.  This week I put out the insides of a spaghetti squash and they brought their buddies to polish off the treat.  I think the squirrels got some of it as well.

December Crows 2

December Crows 4

Then these guys showed up.  Robins!!  In winter!

December Robins 4

There were more than a dozen of them, and I got pics of some of the individuals.  They were scattered over the lawn and the meadow, in the trees and down the driveway.

December Robins 3

I couldn’t get a clear picture of the group, and they were gone in an hour.  DH thinks they are migrating south, but I thought they would have done that by now, unless we are near the end of the journey.  It has been too warm through fall so maybe they stayed longer than usual.

December Robins 2

We had doves and towhees stop by in the last few days too, but no pictures, they flew off when they sensed movement.  DH saw a purple finch on the feeder last weekend. The cardinal finally showed up again, I have missed him and his lady.

December Bird visitors 6

The turkeys haven’t been by in more than two weeks, so I think they have moved on for the winter.  I was saving some bread for them, but I think I’ll spread my mixture of bacon fat and peanut butter on the slices and press birdseed into them for the suet feeder.

Are you feeding birds now?  Who is visiting at your place?



Take Me Away!

24 thoughts on “December Mountain Living

  1. I love seeing all of the birds at your feeders. We have a couple of our winter-over hummers and lots of finches still coming to the feeders here. I wish we had cardinals. They are so pretty.

    What is it they say about red skies in the morning….sailors take warning???? Very pretty.

  2. Mary Jean Cunningham

    I guess those gorgeous photos of the sunrise over the mountains are your compensation for the “curse” of insomnia. I’ve been waking up worrying about all the things I need to get done for Christmas because I’m behind this year – my mom became ill and passed away at the end of November and all the plans I had for all the things I hoped to do fell by the wayside as something far more difficult and important took over our lives. She loved watching birds, so I enjoyed the photos of all the different birds you posted – she would become excited every spring when she saw the first robin. I feed the birds (and the squirrels, too, those bad boys of the backyard!) but don’t have the variety of visitors you are enjoying. Thank you again for sharing your beautiful views with us!

    1. Rosemaryflower

      Mary Jean. Do not push yourself. I am sorry your passed away. She is safe now. I lost my mom in October. She was 93 😦 Have a blessed Christmas

  3. Rosemaryflower

    Excellent photos, Carole. Just wowie
    Dad and I went for a long walk at the nature preserve area in my neigbhorhood.
    Their first apartment from their move 2.5 years ago was one mile from my house here in Broadlands.
    We had many many walks and enjoyed so many creatures living there. I believe the walk around the wood decking trail is 1/3 mile.
    I love the cardinals.

  4. Marianne

    New reader here, I enjoyed your birds as I am a big fan of them! When we used to live in Cleveland we’d go over to the Metropark in January and hand feed the chickadees. The park ranger would provide shelled sunflower seeds. You’d stand outside with one glove off and hand extended. So much fun, every once in a while I’d be able to sneak a quick pet with my thumb. The chickadees always had warm little feet!

  5. Cheryl Buchanan

    Robins – WOW. We don’t have any this far north. I have a clear plastic feeder attached to my window and all the regulars come to feed. I love watching them so much. I even had a red tail hawk sitting on the railing, I guess it was waiting for the smaller birds or the chipmunks I feed. Loved the woodpecker, how beautiful. Also love seeing the turkeys when they come to visit you. We are truly blessed to live in such a beautiful place. God is good. By the way, Merry Christmas and wishing you a Happy New Year.

  6. Rosemary

    Hello from the Pacific Northwest. Right now the Stellar Jays are making their presence known. They are quite noisy when my little dogs are outside. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your e-mails. Your photos are spectacular!! The colors, the designs, the scenery, oh boy! I look forward to checking my e-mails to see if there is one “FROM MY CAROLINA HOME.” You bring so much joy and beauty into our homes. Thanks so much. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  7. Melanie

    Ditto to Rosemary’s comments! Such spectacular photography, bird photos and captions! So very enjoyable, interesting, informative. Thank you for sharing with all of us. :o)

  8. Pat Evans

    I gave up feeding the birds several years ago. We have so many black walnut trees in the neighborhood and hence so many squirrels, that the birds hardly stood a chance. This summer, for the first time, I saw bluebirds around my deck. While they have always been in the area, I’ve never had them close to the house. Wish I had a good place to put up a bluebird house or two.
    Thanks for all you do, Carole, and have a Merry Christmas.

  9. Sharon Schipper

    Methinks a landscape quilt is in order Carole: time to try your hand with those beautiful black tree silhouettes against the ombre dawn! coral and pink and orange and red, and I hope all three photos in this post are entered into your fair this fall!!

    We had a lovely sunrise yesterday, but no precip until Christmas Day is expected. It’s been just warm enough to take away the ice on the roads, but still packed on the side roads. Love the clear cold skies…

  10. Phyllis Smith

    Happy holidays from Ga. Gracious sakes the scenery was beautiful. Reminds me of the trip my Jay and I took to Hong Kong way back in the 60’s and when we were high in the clouds the sunset was so beautiful, those pictures reminded me of the glory we got to enjoy for quite a while. Another thing Jay talked about the peliated woodpecker , he said they were really big birds, Jay was born in Kokomo, Ind. So he got to see a lot of birds I haven’t. I too have had all the littler birds coming up to my feeders and eating me out of the house, so to speak. Also have a squirrel that likes to raid the feeders.
    My stove is to be delivered tomorrow morning so I can get back to my baking and finish up the rest of my chores before Christmas.
    Have a great day

  11. Actually had a pair of Bluebirds stop by the feeders the other day. A surprise for MA this time of year. Tons of finches, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and juncos. In the early evening, we get the cardinals. 🙂

  12. Linda Wagner

    Thank you so much for pic’s of the birds. The woodpecker, bluejay, & and especially, the cardinal brought back memories of living in GA. We see alot of doves, robins, & chickadees. Linda in Colorado

  13. what beautiful birds!! that is the one good thing of waking early I have found is occasionally the sun rise is gorgeous – can’t always see it with all the trees around but pretty – your post of the bird feeders reminded me to fill mine up it is about empty once again greedy little things.

  14. I can’t believe you had a Pileated Woodpecker on your suet feeder – they are such magnificent birds!! I haven’t seen my cardinals lately, I sure hope they come back soon. I have tons of bluejays, chickadees, mourning doves, nuthatches, juncos, downy woodpeckers, and I saw a Red Breasted Woodpecker on the flat feeder the other day – he was gorgeous! Merry Christmas!!

  15. I have the same birds, Carole, except for the nuthatch. I have seen one occasionally, but he is not a regular feeder. The pileated woodpecker doesn’t come to our feeder, but I do see him in the old oak tree. We have Carolina wrens and song sparrows, too. I enjoyed your excellent photographs.

  16. Love seeing all of the birds ♥ I can’t keep my feeders full either and the squirrels haven’t been raiding them yet. I love it when the pileated woodpeckers show up here too but haven’t seen one yet this winter. We’ve had one snow but it is gone already. No white Christmas here this year either.

  17. How wonderful to have so many visitors, Carole. Beautiful photos of the birds. The red of the woodpecker is so bright! And the sunrise photo at the top is stunning. Pink galahs and Eastern Rosellas are visiting our feeder at the moment.

  18. I have a bird feeder with seed and also a suet holder. I have many of the same birds as you. I never tire of watching them. The pileated woodpecker is one of my favs. I’ve only seen one here 2-3 times. I’m amazed at their size and beauty. The cardinals hold special meaning for me. I love them. Merry Christmas!

  19. jean f

    Our barn shaped sunflower seed feeder attracts white crowned sparrows, goldfinch, house finches, and more. The Christmas present for the birds is a suet feeder and a block of suet adn seed that has also attracted a crowd. We get hawks doing a fly-by, looking for one of those “little brown jobs” as my sister calls them, to have for dinner. Snow is disappearing at this time, slowly. Thank you for the beautiful sunrise photos!

  20. Carole, beautiful photos of the sunrise and the birds. I enjoy our cardinals during winter…we are getting snow tonight, so I should see lots of birds out feeding tomorrow!

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