Woodpeckers and Nuthatches

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Woodpecker has been visiting a lot this week. This month, actually, now that I think about it. And today, while visiting with my brother and Mom on the veranda (social distancing of course) a pileated woodpecker flew overhead, landing on the old clothesline post, then flew to the pine tree. It is so spectacular seeing this bird in flight, a flash of red flying by and a body that is larger than what I’m used to seeing.

I took this photo of a pileated woodpecker in March 2020. ©WQuinn

Earlier today, as I was enjoying breakfast on the veranda, a Downey woodpecker stopped by for some suet. Not at all shy to be around us. Later, I’m not sure if it was Downey or Hairy, but a woodpecker was drumming on the south side of the house, again.

Just now, I stepped outside to retrieve my lap blanket. Stopping in mid-step as two nuthatches were on the veranda. One flew towards me, a foot away from me, resting on the bird feeder my brother made for me. I could reach out and touch him, he was that close. The other was about four feet away, pecking at the pine cones I have stored in a box. I couldn’t hold the position for long and once I moved, they both flew away. This is the first time I have seen two nuthatches at the same time, also the first time they got so close to me. Of course, I looked up Nuthatch in my Animal Speak book and read that nuthatch is the traveling companion to the woodpecker.

“As new rhythms are sounded out (woodpecker), the nuthatch works to bring them down out of the ethereal realms and ground them into physical life. Anyone with a nuthatch as a totem should also study the woodpecker, and vice versa.”

Nuthatch, Dictionary of Bird Totems p. 169, Animal Speak by Ted Andrews
This photo of a nuthatch was taken May 2019. ©WQuinn

So, what does all of this mean? Honestly, I have no idea. LOL! Sometimes when I read the spiritual meanings behind certain signs, the meaning resonates with me and I totally get it and understand it. Other times it’s like I read the words, they float through my brain and out the backside. Those times I tend to file it all away and trust that whatever I’m meant to know I will know when I need to know it. I mean, sometimes signs are just sign posts on the journey letting you know where you are, or that you’re not alone or that you’re on the right path.

But when do you sit up and take notice that it’s more than a sign post? When it happens over and over and over. So much so it becomes ridiculous. Or it’s right in your face. Like this evening with the nuthatch. He was right in my face. There was no denying that was something more than a bird looking for sunflower seeds. Same as the pileated woodpecker. He flew three feet in front of my face, twice! Then today, he flew right over my head and stayed long enough for all three of us to see him and acknowledge his presence. The daily woodpeckers, the almost daily drumming on the house.

As I write this, I get the sense the meaning of these signs, for me, is to move to the beat of my own inner drum. I am, and have always been, the type of person to wait for someone else to lead, to show me how to do things, how to build, paint, write… But lately, I’ve been getting the messages that I need to lead, to do my own thing, to break out of the mold, to be my individual self, to accept gifts, that it’s ok to be different, to do things differently.

Ha, it’s funny I’m writing this tonight because this afternoon my brother spoke about this very thing. See George, you’re wiser and more intuitive than you give yourself credit for! 😉

So…instead of scouring Pinterest for ideas on what to do with the pine cones, and instead of browsing Etsy for ideas on how to sell the pine cones, I’m going to go within and reflect on what’s best for me and these pine cones.

It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time.

Stay tuned!

Today’s photos

Sun rays beam over the backyard
Sun rays this morning. Photo of the day, 11 Oct 2020 ©WQuinn

Planted daffodil and tulip bulbs this afternoon; view of the backyard; morning view from the veranda; yellow petunias still going strong; geese coming in for lunch.

Best lunch break ever!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Happy Birthday Uncle Steve!!!

I was up early this morning and had a little extra time on my hands before I officially started work. Water in hand, I sat on the veranda with my camera and captured a couple of hummingbirds that were spending a lot of time at the feeders.

Hummingbird at nectar feeder. Photo of the day, 26 Aug 2020 ©WQuinn

Today’s lunch break was spent outside in my garden picking herbs and veggies. It was heaven! I had a surprise and several visitors too.

My surprise came as I pulled the cucumber vine out of the garden…and there was a large cucumber attached to it! I looked through that vine several times over the last week and didn’t see anything. Can’t wait to bite into it.

And my visitors: First, a red-breasted nuthatch serenaded me from a nearby tree. Once I gave him my attention, he flew away. Quickly followed by a goldfinch that flew right by my head, landing in the same tree. Shortly after that, a monarch butterfly flew by. I

As enjoyable as it was, I spent the rest of the afternoon paying for it…sneezing and itchy eyes. But it was so worth it. I love this time of year, as the temperature drops and the humidity is gone. Last night was one of the best sleeps I’ve had all summer. The temperature dropped to 9°C…perfect for sleeping.

Today’s Photos:

Licorice mint, chamomile, Dukes and Ashes actually getting along, Mom’s project today…painting the lighthouse, wispy clouds this morning, veggies from my garden, blue hour sunset, and the moon behind the clouds tonight.

Stormy Sunday night

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Thanks to the hot humid weather, I spent the majority of the day indoors.

My eldest nephew dropped by for a visit and spent a good part of the afternoon and early evening with us. I love seeing him and mom playing crib and chatting. Does them both good. I remember spending quality time with my Grandma, chatting, crocheting and laughing a lot. Special memories!

While I was BBQing supper, I noticed three crows in a tree by the river. I kept my eye on them because I knew there are usually four together. I snapped a few pics of them then saw the fourth one, he was on a lower branch. He flew up to a higher branch to be part of the family photo. I’m sure I mentioned these crows before. I affectionately refer to them as the Ancestors. They show up regularly and not just my backyard. I’ve seen them at my brother’s cottage, and around town.

The ancestors. Four crows in a tree. Photo of the day, 23 Aug 2020 © WQuinn

Thunderstorms have surrounded us all evening and continue into the night. As I type this, the sky keeps lighting up with thunder rumbling afterwards. I enjoy falling asleep to thunder and rain!

Today’s photos

I have a couple of photos of a bird that was in the garden today. At first I thought it was a nuthatch but after looking at the photos I’m not so sure anymore. Could be a white-breasted nuthatch – which I haven’t seen here before – or a Wren. I’ve heard there have been sightings of a Carolina Wren in the city but this bird looks grey and not a warm brown. I’ll post the photos to the FB group tomorrow and see if anyone recognizes it.

So I’ve just lost power.

And, it’s back. Phew! Going to upload this now. Back to work tomorrow, gotta watch the clock to ensure I get to bed early. Sigh. I liked being on holidays!

Gifts and Talents

Wednesday, 19 August 2020


I was sitting on the veranda with Mom, chatting about this and that. After a bit, I became distracted because of a sound I hadn’t heard before. It was commanding my attention. I interrupted Mom to inquire about the sound. We turned our attention to the sound and saw two birds flying around the backyard, near the river. I had a feeling it was coming from them but couldn’t quite make out what kind of birds they were so I jumped up to get the binoculars from the house.

I was able to focus in on one and it looked like a duck (with a large beak) but the body was off. My hunch was they were some sort of fly catchers. I grabbed my DSLR to get a picture…not the easiest thing to do as they didn’t stay still and focusing in on a small bird flying around and around was a challenge but, I managed to get one photo that wasn’t too bad, out of about 8.

I looked through the bird book to no avail so downloaded the image to my phone, used Google lens and Kingfisher came up! Yes, just the other day I had seen a Belted Kingfisher down by the river. It must be them. Sure enough, I looked at the Merlin app, listened to the sound and it was the same!

Belted Kingfisher in flight. ©WQuinn 2020

Once I identified the bird and shared my findings with Mom, the noise stopped and the birds left. Mom noticed it too and it was then I realized…that had to be a sign. What could it mean.

Funny enough, yesterday I was going through stuff in the basement to get rid of it. I came across Ted Andrew’s book: Animal Speak and I was going to give it away but something said, no, keep it. I rarely use it, preferring to check online or use another book. I was relieved I had it so I could look up Kingfisher. I won’t go into all the details but the Keynote is this: New Warmth, Sunshine, Prosperity and Love. Pretty sweet!

I don’t recall every seeing a Kingfisher in our neighbourhood before, especially as a kid. But then again, I don’t recall ever sitting on the veranda watching nature unfold as I had my breakfast either. Spending time in nature, watching it, being a part of it, opens you up to so many magical things. Not to mention keeping you grounded and centered.

Gifts and talents

Last week I wrote about having a feeling you should be doing something but not knowing what it was. Which led to gifts and talents and how we come into this world with a special gift and talent.

It seems like some people come out of the womb and their gift/talent is so obvious from their first breath. Look at toddlers on YouTube who can sing, dance, and name all the US Presidents. For others though, it can be tough to figure out.

Our special gift/talent is usually something creative and something we are innately good at. Look back at your childhood and remember what you used to like to spend your time doing. Maybe you wrote stories, liked to bake cookies, built forts or tree houses, liked playing with mighty machines, took pictures, drew, painted, danced, sang, skipped, jumped, played sports, skated…

Is there something you do today that comes naturally for you? Maybe you’re a good listener and people are always telling you stuff. It never fails – at least before Covid – people would come up to me in stores, in line-ups, wherever and tell me their problems. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but…” or “I’ve never told anyone this before…” are two common phrases I hear a lot.

These are just a couple of ways to discover and reconnect with your special gifts/talents.

Today’s Photos:

Black-eyed Susans. Photo of the day, 19 Aug 2020 ©WQuinn

Some photos of my garden: chamomile, blooming licorice mint, lemon balm and corn cobs!

Tonight was the night we finally got together to make our teacup candles. The workshop we wanted to attend in March was cancelled due to COVID and we’ve had the kits since early April but, again, thanks to COVID, we didn’t get together.