Recipe for a Perfect Winter Day
First, you need snow. Next, you need company.
The snow started after dark, in the wee hours of Saturday morning. So by the time we woke up we had FINALLY a blanket of Winter White to celebrate.
It’s been an extraordinarily mild Winter so far here on the Long Island Sound, so this could very well be the our only chance to watch a Red Wing blackbird come to our bird feeder. Although the way he is perched on this branch (see below) you can’t see the bright slash of scarlet on his wing. Although I could plainly see that he was eating snow the whole time he flitted through this forsythia bush in the backyard.
Our bird feeder has small perches and low feeding windows, so it’s best suited for small birds like these.
Usually we put out a plate of seed for the Cardinals and a plate of dry cat food for the Blue Jays who are too big to fit on the feeder. Because they know damn well that there is grub up there in that feeder and they get mighty annoyed if they have to just sit and watch the pipsqueaks enjoy the banquet.
But FINALLY one smart Jay figured out how to FINALLY swing it so that he could fit his huge butt onto this itty bitty feeder:
I LOVE this guy, hanging from his toes to dip into the feed bag here. I was laughing as I took these pictures from the other side of the picture window in the den, and I’m sure that the Jay heard me. Because he gave me the hairy eyeball:
Well, he must have taken offense because he then turned his back on me.
Heart. Be. Still.
This is the shot that I call the Blue Jay Map, because here are all the feathers that I lust after. Here, on the bird, are the heart-breakingly gorgeous tail feathers and the stunningly beautiful flight feathers that I collect and treasure.
This picture is so important to my — and your — understanding of Blue Jays that I will post this below in detail so you can scroll and savor.
Here is your own Blue Jay Map:
But this delicious Winter Day wasn’t all about birds. We had plenty of other critters hanging out in the backyard on this fine snowy day. Even the opossum waddled out of the basement…at the exact moment that Dudley was rounding the corner to check out the bird feeder:
It happened too fast to photograph, but Dudley stopped in his tracks as Pogo Possy shot past him and Duds had to choose: opossum in the bush, or birdies almost in the hand? Poor Duds: his mind just doesn’t work that fast. So Duds just got confused in the snow.
Miss Candy was out and about, pawing her delicate way around the new fallen snow.
While her boy, Taffy, was leaping and hopping, frisking after snowflakes and jumping into small drifts.
He tried to get Dudley to share in the fun, but Duds wasn’t having it.
Although it looked to me that Duds was certainly enjoying the snowfall in his own contemplative, birdie-wishing way.
But I know what you’re all really interested in on this first and perhaps only Snow Day of Winter 2012.
You want to get to the Champagne-O-Meter.
Overnight, the Champagne-O-Meter had gained a nice little cap of snow by the time I checked in on it at 8 o’clock in the AM.
By 10 o’clock another half inch of snow had fallen, but the weather was just about to change to wind-driven sleet.
Conditions remained cold, but wet, throughout the rest of the day.
Shortly before dusk, I took one last measurement and determinded that we topped out at about three inches of packed snow.
And then it was time to add the last ingredient to my recipe for a perfect Winter day:
Take a bottle of the first and perhaps only backyard- ice- and- snow- chilled Champagne-O-Meter of the Winter of 2012, add one Top Cat.
Blend in front of a roaring fire with a Frank Sinatra CD playing in the background.