sightings on another gloomy day

2.9.24 ~ North Carolina Botanical Garden

When we arrived at the botanical garden on Friday, Tim needed to tie his shoe, which gave me a minute to look at the roof of the gazebo he was sitting under. It was full of reindeer lichen and all kinds of moss so I took a few pictures with my zoom lens. When I got home I noticed those tiny red dots on the lichen. (above picture) Apparently these are called lichen fruiting bodies (apothecia) which contain spores that are dispersed in the wind. Just a little biology lesson for the day…

bee hotel
(female) Purple Finch, #80

A quick stop by the bird feeders and there I found another life bird, this time a female Purple Finch!

The Purple Finch is the bird that Roger Tory Peterson famously described as a “sparrow dipped in raspberry juice.” For many of us, they’re irregular winter visitors to our feeders, although these chunky, big-beaked finches do breed in northern North America and the West Coast. Separating them from House Finches requires a careful look, but the reward is a delicately colored, cleaner version of that red finch. Look for them in forests, too, where you’re likely to hear their warbling song from the highest parts of the trees.
~ All About Birds website

Carolina rose hips

We listened for a long time to a Carolina wren singing its heart out in the branches above us…

If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment. If a shower drives us for shelter to the maple grove or the trailing branches of the pine, yet in their recesses with microscopic eye we discover some new wonder in the bark, or the leaves, or the fungi at our feet.
~ Henry David Thoreau
(Journal, September 23, 1838)

And finally, tucked away in a shady spot in the herb garden we found a patch of Lenten Roses blooming. They’re not actually roses, they are in the buttercup family. There are many varieties, flowers ranging in color from deep red to white and many shades in between.

It was a lovely surprise to find these flowers blooming so abundantly on a gloomy February morning!

23 thoughts on “sightings on another gloomy day”

    1. I’m so happy to hear how much you love my pictures, Leelah! I often think of you when I’m taking them, wondering which ones you might appreciate. 🙂 Nature gives us so many little treasures to share. 💙

  1. I love your photos of the Carolina wren! Its feathers almost make me want to reach out and stroke him! And what a great find, those tiny roses! Gee, Spring will be here (in your area, at least) before we know it!

    1. Thank you, Debbie! It was fun to capture a Carolina wren perched in the same spot for more than a few seconds. I never would have seen it way up there if it hadn’t been singing so loud. It does feel like spring is right around the corner. 🌸

  2. Love a little biology lesson for the day…Barbara! I would not have noticed the red dots without this lesson.

    Fun to spot and identify the female purple finch. Your new bird list is growing.

    Do you have the Carolina Wrens at your house? I went to google to hear the songs and learn more about them.

    I would have never guessed that those flowers were buttercups. Very pretty.

    I bought two hummingbird feeders on sale over the winter to hang from my front porch. I think that it’s still a bit too early. But this false spring sure has me looking forward to spring.

    1. I didn’t see those little red dots either until I saw the pictures larger on my laptop.

      My first thought was a sparrow for that finch but somehow I detected a subtle difference and submitted it to the “What’s This Bird?” group on Facebook. They can be so helpful because so many birds look so similar to me and it’s interesting reading the comments as the experts explain why it is one bird and not another. Maybe with time and practice I will become more discerning.

      Oh yes, we have many Carolina wrens in our yard here! I first encountered them down here back in 2018 when I spent two months helping my daughter with Finn when he was a newborn. I heard their endless pretty singing outside her windows and finally spotted one and identified it. I’ve been in love with them ever since and even saw one occasionally in Connecticut after that. Their range is slowly moving north.

      Wishing you good luck with your new hummingbird feeders! We planted petunias in a pot a couple of years ago and got lots of hummingbirds, which made me happy that I didn’t have to clean a feeder. 🍀

    1. The Carolina wren is a favorite of mine, it’s adorable and its song is so sweet. Can’t wait to see what new discoveries the springtime has in store for me. 🐞

  3. Lovely discoveries, Barbara! Big woot-woot on your Purple Finch lifer!! 🤗💃😊 Great shots of it and that beautiful Carolina Wren in song, I can almost hear him. 😊 And I love the little biology lesson, something I didn’t know and now will look for those ‘rubies’ in the lichen. Nature is amazing, big and micro-small!!

    1. Thank you, Donna! 😊 We went back 5 days later and there were still a couple of female purple finches there, and a male house finch hanging out with them at the feeder. I wonder if they interbreed? I hear the Carolina wrens all the time down here and it was such a pleasure to actually stop and watch one singing away. 😊 I didn’t notice those little red dots until I saw the photo on my laptop screen. Nature is truly amazing.

        1. Thanks for letting me know that, Donna. I continue to learn many things about birds from you. It was nice seeing the finches together at the feeders. 😊

    1. The bee hotel is in the Children’s Wonder Garden there, as well as the bird blind and feeders. Always something cool to see there.

  4. I learn a lot about nature from your posts Barbara. I Googled for the sounds of a Carolina wren singing – that is a very sweet song. And I had never have seen a Lenten Rose. Nor a Purple Finch male or female. Your bee hotel has pizzazz compared to the bee hotels I’ve seen around town.

    1. I had never seen or heard of a Lenten Rose before moving down here either. Thank goodness for the little identification signs in the botanical garden. 😉 The bee hotel is in the Children’s Wonder Garden section of the botanical garden, as well as the bird blind and feeders. A magical little place with a cute mailbox, in case a child would like to drop a note in for a fairy. 🧚

      1. I wish our botanical gardens had identification signs on the flowers … a few roses but I think that’s because they were planted in someone’s memory who was a volunteer or donor. I like that idea of dropping a note to the fairy – how sweet is that! Our botanical garden should expand its horizons a little, although they do have a Little Free Library at the Gardens just for children’s books. They have another Little Free Library near the old log house.

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