Friday, January 30, 2009


Why don't Woodpeckers get headaches?

The Pileated, Red-Bellied, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers claim my woods as their home. We have hundreds of oval and round holes chiseled in towering trees, some are decaying and some are live. Usually these hard workers prefer decaying wood, but have been known to chose healthy trees to call home. I've seen both sexes in each species, subtle differences in coloring distinguish the exact sex. For instance, with the Pileated Woodpeckers, both have red crests on their heads, but the male(Top two photos), has a thin red moustache, whereas the female does not. In Ohio, it's considered an uncommon permanent resident in the area it calls home. I was very excited to see the female first, and a couple of weeks later the male showed up close to the cabin, too. I've seen them from a distance down our driveway in the past couple of years, but never this close...maybe 25 feet from the cabin. Interesting fact, the American Indians used the red crests of these gorgeous birds to decorate their pipes.

One day as I was watching the male Pileated Woodpecker, the largest of the woodpeckers, I thought to myself how that must hurt them hammering away and wondered if they end up with a major headache? After some research, I actually found an explanation. It seems that thick, dense muscles in the neck contract right before a strike to the tree. They have sponge-like bones that act as a cushion and a third eyelid. This third eyelid closes as it's hammering away, which protects the eye from wood chips and literally holds the eyeball in place.

It's a great design when you think that they hammer away and strike about 15 times per second! So, this is the answer to the burning question...but...all this really explains is why their eyeballs don't pop out. We all know woodpeckers can't talk...but if they could, I'd bet they would ask for a Tylenol!

Posted by Picasa Now, there's something else I'm wondering about...just a third eyelid? Is only one eye protected? Does this third eyelid somehow cover both eyes? If anyone knows the answer, please...drop me a comment!

Monday, January 26, 2009


Keeping true to my original idea of this blog, what brings me calm here in Wishnik Woods...I present yet another vivid sunrise painting the twilight sky. This was this past Sunday mornings' greeting to the world, every color of the rainbow except green. The last sunrise that I shared, I claimed it was the most colorful sunrise yet. I stand corrected! The sky was bursting in color here on the horizon, yet the rest of the skies were very deep muted blues. Darkness lingered for the most part outside as I made my journey to the back of our property which overlooks fields and yet more woods. In the still of the early morning, with a minimum of light to guide me through the woods, I set out with my camera and tripod. Not far behind, my husband hurried to catch up with me. Initially he thought that I was going to capture this sunrise from the pond up by our cabin. I was, until I got outside and the colors quickly deepened and spread further along the horizon. That's when I decided to take a walk through the woods. These images were zoomed in, that...along with the overall dark atmosphere explains the dark silhouettes of the trees. Believe it or not, I could see where I was going. I followed deer tracks along the path. If you click to enlarge this first photo, you can see the snow along the bottom, it was dark out!

My Nikon captures the rise and sets with absolute true color and clarity. I'm extremely happy with the results.
A couple of photos here I cropped for a slightly closer view.

This last one of the series, is the final shot I took as the sun began to show itself. I couldn't last any longer, as I was standing there in amazement, the pain in my toes reminded me that I was quickly freezing over! If I remember correctly, the air was 9 degrees. As I glanced back towards this sight on our way back to the cabin, the colors were quickly fading just as fast as they appeared. I had made it just in time...and I think even my husband was glad he was being the ever protective husband, he hadn't even finished his first cup of coffee!
I'd like to send out one big thank you to all who stopped by and sent birthday wishes to my mother in the last post. All the kind words made her day all the more special. She asked that I let you all know that she says...Hello! ...and a big thank you to all! She was surprised and told me she's not sure she deserved all the praise. Note to Mom...Yes, you do!
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Friday, January 23, 2009


This is her day...

a day we celebrate all that she is. She is my mother...and today is her Birthday! Mom always liked Cardinals, so I chose a few of my favorite captures to accompany her here.

Mom is the most caring, thoughtful and loving woman that I know. She is the very definition of mother. She has given so much to each of us in my family, on so many levels. Inner strength, compassion, and a sense of humor define her. Her entire life she dedicated herself, unselfishly, to our family.
Mom has been a big part of Wishnik Woods...she has supported this dream of ours and had helped out in the building process. I don't know where she gets it, but she has an amazing amount of energy! Just last summer, Mom was out in the woods swinging on vines with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren! She's a real fire cracker!
I decided to post her photo ( it's a current one, she ages gracefully!)today on her birthday because she faithfully reads my blog...AND all of yours!! I call her "Shadow Dragon" for that reason! We live three counties apart, and mom will e-mail me with comments about all of your posts. So, if you've left a comment can be sure she has checked out your blog!

So...Mom...SURPRISE!?!...I hope you're not mad at me!! I hope you have a wonderful birthday today!!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Posted by Picasa I just did my last post this morning, and look what I see....SIX Mourning Doves high in the tree top! I couldn't resist sneaking it in!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


The past few mornings offered a couple of pleasant surprises. A pair of Mourning Doves and a large squirrel have found there way to the feeder. The doves and the squirrel were photographed from inside the cabin. Now, I know that I have my work cut out for me as far as the squirrel visiting the feeder, but I was thrilled to be able to capture a few good shots. This big guy(girl?...despite the pose, I'm not sure!) was positively frightened when he saw me. I admit, I do look pretty scary in the morning! He must've scurried on every branch of this tree twice over. Up, down and all around...until I opened the side door and he took a flying leap from about 15 feet high and landed on the ground about 12 feet from the tree! I expected to find an empty feeder this morning. So far, it's still intact and my fingers are crossed.

Saturday morning as I looked out one of my back windows up the hill to see how the day was about to greet me...I was greeted with this view. This was the most colorful, spectacular sunrise I've seen yet here in the woods!

Of course, I had to venture out in the frigid cold twilight to capture this vivid sunrise, keep in mind, the coloring in these has not been enhanced, these are true colors.

Same view, I cropped the previous photo.
Here's the same view once again, only about eight minutes later, as more of the sun peeks up over the horizon.

The early bird gets the seed in this case, the first one I saw at the feeder before heading back in the cabin was a Dark-eyed Junco. My granddaughter, Celine, built that feeder out of scrap wood when she was bored one day...she did a fine job!

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Friday, January 16, 2009


BRRRRRR!!!!....Here is where I often wonder if we are truly the fittest of all life on this earth. Survival of the fittest...while I am warm and cozy nesting in this cabin, I think of how all the creatures outdoors flex their will to survive with all their strength. Through the series of storms and bitter cold this past week, I have seen the most activity yet this season around my feeder. As I prepare this post, the actual temperature outdoors is -10 degrees. The wind chill factor brings the temperature to -30 degrees!

I have this fascination with viewing a subject up close and personal. I'm not sure why, maybe to be a little closer to the heart and soul. As I was admiring the woods covered in snow on a dreary day, I stood at my back window gazing up the hill behind our cabin. There in front of me, icicles regularly take their form until my husband knocks them down. While I know they can cause damage to the roof, that doesn't stop my love of icicles. They constantly change, and if the sun or moon is in position over the back hill, they glisten all the more. Drip, drip, drip...tempting me, teasing me...hmmm?? Can I catch a drop falling from the icy fingers? After thirty four shots, I finally captured a water drop. My challenge to myself was to NOT use my feature on the camera that will automatically take a succession of shots. I stood there counting seconds between drops in an attempt to meet that challenge. VICTORY!! I just let you into the quirky side of me..I know, too much time on my hands!
On the 11th of this month, the night skies over Wishnik Woods were too cloudy to photograph the moon. The night after was another story. This first capture was taken out the same window were I shot the icicles. I had a rough nights' sleep and awoke at 2:20 a.m., there was my old friend waiting for me in the sky.
These next two captures were taken a few hours later at 5:oo a.m. in the same morning....except this time I braved the cold. I took my tripod outdoors and sturdied it in the snow. The atmosphere was very hazy with a good dose of cloud cover. Perhaps that explains the overall softness to these photographs.
Just a sliver shy!

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Friday, January 9, 2009


Having my kitchen window facing this tree is a real treat for me. It gives me so many photographic opportunities, especially in this cold weather. As I watch the various birds going about their business, sometimes I'll find that one or two are watching me. This Tufted Titmouse was quite amused with what I was doing as it peered into my window. The tree is very close to the cabin, there's no need to use my zoom. I often wonder what thoughts are going through their little heads as they take in my activities. Here the Titmouse is acting nonchalant as it glances over its' shoulder. After a short time it mosies on over to the feeder...
Then it turns to look at me as if to say.....yes, can I help you? Then just a few feet back over to the tree branch...

I've got my seed , do you mind?...
The heck with her! I'm eating.
Here the Cardinal is surely she looking at me?

Yes, she is...doesn't she have anything better to do?
Half of this tree had it's first date with the chainsaw, we're hoping that will do the trick for awhile to maybe buy it a little more time. The tree is in such sad shape, I'm sure it will eventually need to come down. But for now, it hosts some of my favorite entertainment during the winter. The best part is, I don't have to leave the cabin for a front row seat, even these photos were taken from inside. As I'm typing this post our winter storms are beginning to roll in, that's O.K., I've got my kitchen window!

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