February 13th, 2016

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Great Backyard Bird Count

This is the weekend of the Great Backyard Bird Count, which we use as a census point for birds (and whatever else we can find.)  Often it's been a weekend of rotten observing weather.  This year it's gorgeous: sunny and warm.  And I'm sick, so I can't make it out to the far ends of the place.  Drat!

BUT the backyard is full of birds, lots of birds, though not as many species as we usually have in winter, or as many individuals in some species that have been numerous before (American Goldfinch, Lesser Goldfinch, etc.)  No Pine Siskins in several years.  What we do have is four pairs of Cardinals, a lot of house sparrows, a lot of White-winged Doves, at last two pairs of House Finches,  one or two American Goldfinches, 4-6 Inca Doves, a few White Crowned Sparrows, one Savannah Sparrow, four Blue Jays,  a Mockingbird heard early this morning but not out there feeding, a few Carolina Chickadees and Black-crested Titmice...and that's it.  Week before last we had a Downy Woodpecker and a Red-bellied Woodpecker, but not this week.  Last week we had a Phoebe, but not this week. 

Of the winter residents, we have only the American Goldfinch, White-crowned Sparrow, and Savannah Sparrow.  I saw some Harris's Sparrows earlier in the winter, but none in the last 2 weeks.  They may be starting north earlier.  No White-throated, no Field, no Chipping, no Lincoln's Sparrows, all of which we used to get every winter.  Climate change.  Birds are moving nowth, it's said, over 1 km/year.   What used to be migrating bat populations in Central Texas are now here year-round.
woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Non-Sock Knitting

Largely because I wanted to free the size 5 needles I'd used to start it,  I picked up a project begun...um...according to my Ravelry projects page, June 29, 2015, shortly after we were allowed back in the train station in Fort Worth after a "shots fired" incident.  (Nobody died; nobody injured.)   I started it because knitting is calming, and I'd finished a pair of socks so had some yarn and needles with me.   I've looked at it a few times but haven't gone farther.   I'd been wanting to learn to do fingerless mitts for some time, but socks were a priority, and still are, except that in this illness I've made mistakes that cost me a lot of itme.  So today, after working on the shorter of the two "Bitterroot Rainbow" socks, and remembering that some size 5 needles were in this, I shifted to size 4s (of which I have more)  and then, as it was going pretty well, went on.  Here's what it looked like when put aside last summer:

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