our first southern nor’easter

12.17.23 ~ drenched northern cardinal outside my window

We experienced our first nor’easter down south here on Sunday, getting over two inches of rain and plenty of wind. This cardinal sat on the branch outside our dining room window, looking in, for several hours. I finally got up and grabbed the camera. He was thoroughly soaked and I saw no sign of his partner. The juncos weren’t around either.

His behavior made me think of the mourning dove who hunkered down in the arborvitae behind our condo back in Connecticut during the remnants of Hurricane Ida. (Story here.) Except this cardinal was very exposed on a bare branch.

The winter solstice arrives tonight and the days will be getting longer. Warmest holiday wishes to everyone, whichever festival of light you are celebrating!

36 thoughts on “our first southern nor’easter”

    1. I’ve been thinking of you today, Janet, as we prepare for our solstice party tonight. So many pleasant memories of past ones with you and your family. πŸ•―οΈ

    1. Hope you didn’t get too much rain or snow with that storm, Eliza! Every day I get to see cardinals and juncos. πŸ™‚

        1. Yikes! That’s a heck of a lot of rain! Maybe you won’t have to worry about a drought this summer if this keeps up. Too much… too little… so much seems out of balance.

    1. Thank you, Jet. He was such a bright spot in the storm, even though he seemed annoyed with the weather. 🐦

    1. He is a regular on that bush and he usually has his mate with him. I see them almost every day, along with quite a few juncos!

      1. Oh that’s very cool! Cardinals have such a pretty song. He must have been worried about his mate. I hope they both will visit you soon!

        1. I love hearing cardinals singing and get to hear them so much more frequently down here. His mate might have found a more sensible place to ride out that storm!

  1. That’s a beautiful picture of the Cardinal Barbara – so vibrant. I remembered your Mourning Dove in the Arborvitae and went back to look at that post, but I also remember a bedraggled Blue Jay peering in the window at you and Tim. Was that during a a nor’easter or during that big blizzard you had a few years ago? I can picture that poor bird you photographed. Yay, that in one hour from now we start creeping toward Summer, gaining more daylight daily. It may be Winter, but we will be 54 on Christmas Day!

    1. Ah, yes, the bedraggled blue jay during Hurricane Henri in August 2021, the month just before the mourning dove. Thanks for reminding me about him! It turned out he was also molting. We’re supposed to be 61Β° on Christmas Day here. This morning it was only 34Β°. I have to check the temperature every time I go outside, never knowing how warm or cold it might be from one day (or hour) to the next. Keeps things interesting!

      1. Those blue jays do look bedraggled when they molt too – they turn grayish. When we got our canary, we bought a book on taking care of him as we always had parakeets. We learned a canary loses 2,000 feathers in a molt. Both Buddy and Sugar were listless during/after their molt. We used a small recorder to record their singing before the molt and played it after they were done to encourage them to sing again – it worked! That’s really warm weather. The weather is wacky, but nice not to worry about snow/ice. My neighbor put up a new outside thermometer this Fall and I always glance it even if I heard the weather report on the news.

        1. Molting might feel like going through the awkwardness of adolescence, but every year instead of just once!

          1. Yes, I always feel badly for those birds, wild or domestic. Some of Jocelyn Anderson’s pics of her favorite “Queen of the Boardwalk Cardinal” show how awful that process really is. Our canaries were so listless from June to August – feathers everywhere. Just walking over to the cage to say “hi” and feathers would be flying around.

          2. I will have to pay attention to the cardinals this coming late summer and fall to see if I can observe them molting. Don’t think I’ve seen it before.

          3. That Mama Cardinal that nested in the barberry bush looked pretty ragged after being in that poorly made nest for so long, not only incubating the eggs but keeping the chicks warm. That nest was not made of much and every time she went in/out of the barberry bush, I’m sure she lost a few more feathers. Poor thing. I’ll bet she thought I was a thorn in her side and doesn’t return this year, but I’ll be watching for her. πŸ™‚

          4. I hope she comes back to see you! πŸ™‚ Maybe she will be a more experienced nest builder by then.

          5. I hope so too Barbara. I think it was likely poorly constructed since it was in a prickly bush – she (and if her mate helped) would have a rough time carrying in materials and to avoid hurting themselves on the thorns. I’ll be all eyes there come Spring. πŸ™‚

          6. P.S. – Hope you stay unscathed from this Winter storm. I heard it may hit parts of North Carolina. We deal with some awful weather next Tuesday-Wednesday with very high winds (yes, the big, dead tree is still there, not cut to nine feet above the ground like he said would happen).

          7. We’re just getting rain today, it’s above freezing so the freezing rain they were concerned about didn’t happen here. We’re supposed to be getting some rough weather on Tuesday, too. So frustrating when people don’t follow through when they say they’re going to do something. I hope the big dead tree stays put — keeping my fingers crossed for you!

          8. Depending on the weatherman, they are going back and forth on the Tuesday snow event – some calling for mostly rain, others snow, but at the most for us 2-3 inches, but heavy snow. Maybe they’ll all be wrong and it fizzles out. Thank you Barbara – that tree terrifies me and I can understand the $15,000.00 charge for the tree, but I’d snatch up that $2,000.00 deal to get it done now. I likely will stay up as late as I can if the high winds go into the overnight hours.

          9. My sister got about 8 inches of the white stuff in Connecticut from your storm this weekend, might be getting more today. Right now it looks like they’ll be getting rain Tuesday and Wednesday. Down here for Tuesday we’re supposed to get temps in the 50s, heavy rain and thunderstorms. Sometimes I wonder about all the trees surrounding us but the locals don’t seem concerned and I don’t hear any stories…

          10. We lucked out and the storm bypassed uf for this weekend, but we did get freezing drizzle and just one inch of snow last night and I didn’t go out until this afternoon, but just to run the car as it was so cold and damp. Our weather forecast is all over the map – calling for two or three inches of snow on Tuesday, but followed by heavy rain. Like you, the trees are worrisome as they are still calling for 30-40 mph winds Wednesday and now more worrisome is that we have a more impactful snowstorm next Friday night. So Winter arrives with a bang now … I’d have rather had a “regular, normal Winter” as opposed to one with “impactful snow” … hope your sister doesn’t get slammed with that storm too. My friend who lives near Rochester, NY had the same snowstorm she was mentioning it on FB earlier.

          11. Sometimes I think the TV weather people invent these terms, like “impactful snow,” to keep their viewers glued to their reports. After all, how dull to say, hey folks, it’s going to snow or rain or whatever. They have to dramatize it to keep their audience, which gives the rest of us more sensitive types more anxiety than perhaps we need to experience. We’ve had so many weather alerts down here that haven’t amounted to much. Anyhow, that’s my theory…

          12. That makes sense Barbara … since I am a weather worrier, I am always in tune to what is going on. I was at the eye doctor today – my eye was swollen and I got an eye infection – how, I sure don’t know. So I said to him “well, it was Summer, I would have waited a few days to see if it cleared up, but with these two big storms on the way, I couldn’t take a chance.” He then said “we’re getting snow?” Maybe a new year’s resolution for me is to resolve to worry less about the weather and take it as it comes.

    1. It’s that classic red and white color combination, well, at least if there is some snow in the picture. πŸ˜‰

  2. We are currently having several tropical storms pass through here, Barbara. I often notice how our weather, even though on opposite sides of the world, has its similarities. I would love to see a cardinal here, but that’s not happening! I have to enjoy your beautiful photo instead. <3

    1. Thanks, Joanne. β™‘ I know what you mean, when it’s morning here it’s evening where you are, and our seasons are opposite, too. We can see some of your native Australian animals in our zoos, including tropical birds. I wonder if you see any North American animals in your zoos?

      1. There are very few zoos in Australia now. I don’t remember the last time I visited a zoo actually, but I think it would have been Taronga Zoo in Sydney. Are beavers from North America? I remember seeing them at the zoo. They reminded me of the beavers in the Disney movie Lady and the Tramp.

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