house finch, gray catbird, cottontail

5.16.22 ~ house finch
Coogan Farm Nature & Heritage Center, Mystic, Connecticut

It was a lovely spring day and the air was filled with birds singing and bees buzzing. I couldn’t catch most of them with my camera but the scenery at Coogan Farm reminded me of a setting from a historical drama. I half-expected to see a character from a Jane Austen novel come around the bend on our path.

sunlight on dandelions
old farmland

It is clearly posted that dogs must be on a leash at Coogan Farm. This one arrived at the same time we did and was darting around the parking lot while its owner was getting things out of his car. We had two doors of our car open as we were getting ready for our walk, too. Next thing we knew the dog jumped into our car through the back door Tim was at, then squeezed between the front seats and exited the car through the front door I was at. She seemed very friendly and not too big so I wasn’t afraid, but, startled and annoyed. The man she belonged to called “Sadie” away and offered no apology. I assumed he would put her on a leash when he saw the signs at the trailhead. They took a different trail but our paths crossed later on and there was no leash to be seen, the man wasn’t even carrying one on his person.

We moved on, trying not to let the selfishness of others spoil a lovely walk for us.

Intensely selfish people are always very decided as to what they wish. That is in itself a great force; they do not waste their energies in considering the good of others.
~ Ouida
(Wisdom, Wit, and Pathos of Ouida Selected from the Works of Ouida)

In 2016 this tower (below) was designed by an Eagle Scout, specifically for chimney swifts. It provides a suitable nesting habitat to help increase the chimney swift population: Connecticut Project Chimney Watch

chimney swift nesting season is May to July
distant view across the Mystic River

Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.
~ Jane Austen
(Mansfield Park)

gray catbird

I’m seeing and hearing so many catbirds this year! They have a way of cheering me up. 💙

dandelion magic
buttercups and dandelions
cottontail rabbit
lupine (thanks to Mary for the identification)

Walking is the great adventure, the first meditation, a practice of heartiness and soul primary to humankind. Walking is the exact balance between spirit and humility.
~ Gary Snyder
(The Practice of the Wild: Essays)

Connecticut’s positivity rate is up to 13%. Not good. It’s been going up since its lowest point in March.

34 thoughts on “house finch, gray catbird, cottontail”

  1. A wonderful post. I always love your photos of nature. That finch is beautiful – we have those lovely birds here. Like the picture of the rabbit. The gray catbird is beautiful – I have never seen this bird in our area.

    1. Thank you, Peggy. It’s funny, I know now that I had been hearing catbirds for years but had no idea what they were. One of their calls really does sound like a cat meowing. House finches I very rarely see, so that was a treat.

      1. If I hear a bird that sounds like a cat I will really try to find where it is. Who knows we might have them here too. We see a lot of finches here.

        1. I looked at the gray catbird range map and it indicates that you have them in your area, too. Good luck! I hope you do find one! 🙂

          1. I heard Tim talking to one outside our kitchen window last night, while I was washing the dishes…

  2. Sorry to hear about your encounter with the selfish dog owner. It’s a good thing you’re not allergic to dogs, since your car probably got a good dose of dander. Cute dog, though. I had a friend who was like this– letting her dogs off the leash. I always think of her as very boundary challenged, due to this and other things. It’s interesting to think of this behavior as selfish, which I hadn’t before. But I believe you’re right. Nice pictures, as always.

    1. I suppose in the grand scheme of things with so many major problems the world is dealing with this pet peeve of mine isn’t so very important. But it just aggravates me no end when people ignore the rules! Who do they think they are??? The very definition of selfish is “lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.” A lot of dog owners (not all of them) have no clue (or don’t care) that not everyone shares their passion. I doubt it ever occurred to that man that we might be allergic to dogs…. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now!

  3. Dandelion magic, love that photo. Sadie seems like an adventurous sort of beast. I don’t know what I’d have done in your situation. Funny story, really.

    1. There was so much dandelion magic along the path — I’m embarrassed to admit how many pictures I took of those perfectly sunlit dandelion seed heads. Sadie seemed like a happy-go-lucky sort of friendly dog, but still….

  4. Another delightful walk, Barbara (despite the idiocy of someone letting a dog off-leash when signs clearly indicate otherwise). I love the puffy stage of a dandelion and feel a strong urge to blow on them. Beautiful catbirds; great quotes, especially by Jane!

    1. Thank you, Debbie! The sunlight was illuminating the dandelion seed heads in such a magical way that morning, they were so enchanting. And catching the catbird and the bunny with my camera was the icing on the cake. Jane has a way of getting right to the point of things, doesn’t she? 😉

  5. Hi Barbara! The house finch is beautiful and the daisy photo is my favorite. I’m so glad that you are getting out in the spring weather to rejuvenate your spirit.

    I have resigned to my own understanding that I will never understand why some people feel that their dogs may be without leash control in public places. It’s beyond my understanding as many things that people do!

    I made it to my appointment for the third Moderna booster and the second Shingrex booster. I was misinformed about needing Shingrex ever 4 years. I have no side effects on it. The Moderna side effects has been the same as previous for me which is a soar inflation heat where the injection. Not any concern. I’m glad that I was able to get both at the same time.

    I’m enjoying your blog!

    1. So true, TD. People letting their dogs off leash is as baffling to me as why some people are litter bugs or feel free to cut in lines. Sigh…

      Happy to hear you had no side effects from the Shingrex booster. I’ll probably go ahead with getting that vaccination, too. Staring to feel like a big pin cushion.

      So happy to know you’re enjoying my blog and nature photos! 🙂

  6. Lovely photos of your walk. We have several catbird pairs vying for territory around the suet feeder (we take it in at night)… we love watching the activity with our morning cuppa.
    I love the chimney swift tower… what a great idea. I wonder why we don’t see these more?

    1. Thank you, Eliza. I would love watching catbirds every morning! When we had a suet feeder we got woodpeckers, including a big bossy red-bellied. Never a catbird, though I’ve been seeing them in the tree outside my kitchen window for the first time this year.
      This was the first time I’ve ever seen a chimney swift tower. I hope I get to see an actual chimney swift some day!

      1. Swifts are in steep decline, sadly. We used to see lots of them twittering overhead. This year I’ve only seen three. I haven’t seen them since so I think they were migrants passing through. Last summer, there were a few, I’ll keep looking for them, fingers crossed.

        1. It is so sad that they are declining. Do you have a chimney in your house? There are suggestions on that link for making chimneys more inviting to the swifts. I hope you will see them again, even if they are migrating through.

          1. We do have a chimney, but they’ve never roosted here. Not sure where they do nest, but perhaps an older home has a more welcoming chimney.

          2. Interesting… Makes me wonder how they decide which chimneys to make use of.

  7. Last photo is lupine. Happened upon your luscious pictures and quotes while searching for a poem from a major male poet about a beach with a fallen tree. Visitors hung shells on the branches and the lines were about the prayers and wishes of those who passed by. Obviously you’ve done lots of reading, so if you or any of your readers know this poem, I would love to find it! Thanks for writing these posts, these memorable photos, and reading this comment!

    1. Thank you for the lupine identification, Mary, and welcome to my blog! I wish I could return the favor and identify your mystery poem but unfortunately it doesn’t ring a bell with me. Sorry it took me so long to respond to your comment but I am pleased to know you enjoyed my pictures! I hope you find your poem, it sounds like it was very inspiring.

  8. Dandelions go from sunny faced to wispy seeds in no time … it has always amazed me. You had a wonderful walk in nature Barbara – just look at what you saw .. from wildflowers and mushrooms to a bunny and a catbird. You are lucky to keep seeing catbirds. I have never seen one, nor heard one. I hear their noise they make is unique, like a cat mewing. I feel the same way as you about the dog’s antics – I’d be appalled. I have a low tolerance for people who don’t obey laws the older I get. Dogs are not allowed, by ordinance, at Council Point Park, yet people walk them every day, some off leash.

    I especially like the Jane Austen quote as I sit here at 11:30 p.m. because some loud neighbor is blasting music full blast. The noise ordinance is 11:00 p.m. – How considerate my neighbors are, whether it is the weekend or not. Next week will start the fireworks in the neighborhood and continue through to Labor Day – who buys fireworks for Memorial Day – you are not celebrating war dead with firecrackers? I like the quote, but find it difficult to forgive.

    Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure. – ~ Jane Austen

    1. There’s a particular sort of dog owner that gives all the others a bad name. A woman at our beach confronted another woman who didn’t pick up after her dog pooped on the lawn. The dog’s owner told her, “if it bothers you so much, YOU pick it up.” Can you imagine the nerve? It’s hard to look on the bright side when there are those bad apples spoiling things for everyone else. I wish the police would do a little more patrolling but I suppose they have more pressing crimes to deal with.

      I hope you do get to spot a catbird one of these days. They’re related to mockingbirds and have a good vocal repertoire besides the meow, which is so adorable. I was grateful for all the creatures I saw this day to get my mind off the selfish man. And the dandelions were pure magic.

      Sorry you had to put up with the loud music so late at night. 🙁 We have the same problem with fireworks here, all summer long. Sigh. And the music coming out of those boom cars. We can hear them from miles away, getting louder and closer, sometimes rattling the windows and the decorative plates hanging on my walls. The worst part is when they sometimes pull into the complex parking lot to pick someone up and leave the music on full blast while they’re waiting for their friend(s) to come out to the car. Summer is not my favorite season! (Except for the flowers!)

      1. I suppose we should not be amazed, but we are, at the audacity and selfishness of people. It is such a “me, me, me” world anymore and that is sad. They needn’t bother with having noise ordinances as they are never obeyed.

        I like dogs, but if there is an ordinance for no dogs to be in the Park, then there is a reason. The guy at the Park with his huge dog and its leash is a material, similar to braided rags. He lets the leash drag on the ground behind him and you can bet if confronted by authorities on why the dog is there to begin with, let alone without a leash, he’d say he dropped it from his hand. Today, the dog was chasing three families of goslings that were grazing together in a huge group – the parents were hissing and agitated and I was wishing one of the ganders would go after that dog or the owner.

        And, we have a woman who used to walk with a big tree branch and if a squirrel gets too close she hits it with the branch. Now she uses a golf club – the squirrels beg along the path, they always have, even if I put their seeds and nuts in three spots – it is their nature to do so. So I saw her go to raise her club one day and confronted her and said “they’re not hurting you – they go up to people begging.” She went on a tangent about how people feed them and they are capable of getting their own food and people who feed them are stupid. Because the world is full of crazies these days, I steer clear of her, but am disgusted with her actions.

        1. Noise pollution is right up there with air pollution and light pollution as significant health hazards. There was the time someone was walking a large Rottweiler and even though it was leashed the owner lost control of it when it dashed after a squirrel. Very scary. There is no justification for that woman hitting the squirrels, even if she doesn’t believe people should be feeding them. It’s not the squirrel’s fault. Logically, she should be taking it out on the “stupid” people. Sigh. People can be so incomprehensible when it comes to our feelings about animals. Makes me think of a very good book I read some time ago, “Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard to Think Straight about Animals” by Hal Herzog.

          1. Noise pollution – yes it’s all too much, whether the neighborhood or anywhere else. I prefer walking alone at the Park I go to daily. I am really not in the mood to discuss current events as I listen to the all-news radio station and keep up on the daily horrors of the world and can rant and rave here all by myself at the atrocities I hear or see on social media. So, the Park is my brief escape from reality. I steer clear of people to avoid them and just wave high and move on if possible. It’s wrong of this woman to hit the squirrels – they beg because they are friendly. There were three or four other people feeding them, but they no longer walk there. There was a huge pit bull at the Park for about a week’s time last year. The woman had a thick leash on it, but she was slight. I thought to myself “that dog will pull her over if it lunges at something” and sure enough that happened. It saw a small dog and over she went and she managed to stop it while she scrambled to get up … dogs are not allowed there, but who reads the posted ordinance signs anyway – just do your own thing.

            I’ve jotted down the name of the book. I’ve got books I bought for last Winter to read and I’ve resigned myself that along with the blog and walking, the art/painting as a hobby, once retired, reading will return to the forefront as I once was an avid reader. So I’ve added this to the list to buy/read.

          2. When you mentioned the pit bull going after the small dog it reminded me of an incident at a shopping village here last summer. Two dogs on leashes got into a fight and one of the owners was bitten trying to separate them. I couldn’t see how big the dogs were because a crowd gathered around the scene. Dogs can be very unpredictable.

            So many books, so little time, right? 🙂

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