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January 2012

Monday Morning Mystery 012312

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My wife and I made two loops of a snowy Celery Farm on Saturday, taking photos as we went.  Over the next few weeks, I will post a new "mystery" photo or two.

You need to identify where they were taken. Or you can just enjoy the photos from the warmth of your computer.

The first two are easy...

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Red Fox!

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The past two mornings around 8:30 a.m., from our window, my wife and I have seen Red Foxes on Lake Appert, too far to photograph.

But Barbara Dilger, walking in the Celery Farm early this afternoon, succeeded in getting a couple of shots of one of the Red Foxes along the trail by No Name Culvert.

Now that's a great job! I love the shot of the fox racing down the trail...

(Thanks, Barbara!)

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Clever Winter Birdbath

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In my last birding column for The Record, I wrote about birds' need for water in winter -- to drink and to bathe.

When the local outdoor water supply freezes up, a friend of mine adds an especially designed birdbath heating element to a big bowl, and he is in business.

IMG_1938-1The trouble is that these things cost from $50 to $60. Dan and Lyn Boyle have a nifty solution: For the past four years, they have put out water in a heated dog bowl.

Lyn writes: "Because the bowl is deep we don't fill it to the top. We place a large rock to the side to make room for bathing (it needs adjusting in the attached photo).

The photos were taken last week; the second photo is blurry because my husband was so excited - the Cedar Waxwing was a first for our Pequannock yard (he was traveling with a small flock of Robins). 

"I don't know if the dog bowl would be less costly than the heated bird bath, but it does work."  

I just bought a heated dog bowl at Petco for $30. We'll see how it does...
(Thanks, Lyn and Dan!)

My Latest Record Column: Birds Need Water!

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My latest "Bird Watcher" column in The Record features advice from Stiles Thomas, who reminds us that birds have a tough time getting water when the weather turns real cold. Here's the opening  (minus part of a beautiful poem by Wallace Stevens):

This time of year, as our thoughts and our gazes turn more and more to our backyard feeders, many of us tend to overlook one aspect of helping birds survive long cold spells: Birds do not live by food alone.

As my friend Stiles Thomas reminds me, birds also need water – not only to drink but also to bathe. When feathers aren't in tip-top shape, they don't insulate the bird's body as effectively, and the bird must burn more energy to stay warm at a time when it is a matter of survival.

The link to the columnn is here.