Avoiding cold feet

Hi everyone,

When the sun comes up over ice, you get a different perspective because ice is a better reflector than water. I won’t bombard you with sunrises but yesterday’s was splendid.

Later in the day I went grocery shopping and when I stopped at a residential intersection, I noticed a crow sitting calmly on the ground and not inclined to be bothered by my car stopped a few yards away. It looked like a pedestrian waiting to cross. Down came my window and up went my phone camera. 20161218_135534_resized On my return trip the bird was gone so I pulled up and took a picture of where it had been.

I know that crows are smart and this one gave me an example. Either the air beneath that cover was warmer than the ambient temperature, or the metal suited its feet more than the surrounding patches of snow. Either way I was impressed.

The crafty crow can be quite canny
Finding ways to warm its fanny.

Royalty visits Goose Lake

Hi everyone,


Frozen lake day. Birds have tiptoed across the ice but mostly they stick together on land or in the corner of the lake where a natural spring keeps the water from freezing. It gets crowded in that small space with many more birds than usual pressed together. It would be like shooting ducks in a tub, so to speak.

When I look off through my hackberry tree on the left with binoculars, I can see another creature that agrees sitting silently in a tree on the opposite bank. A Bald Eagle prefers fish, but some of those ducks look plump and easy. See it?


I’m reminded of the eagle poem in my e-book GOOSE LAKE. Here’s the prose segment followed by the poem.


Last night snow wove a thin white sweater. Today is oyster gray. The sun through a peephole is a pale pearl lying cold in the shell. Gusts of starlings blur the air from limb to ground in search of unfrozen water.

An eagle dives from the sky, startling five crows from a hackberry tree. The swan seems not to notice. Geese and ducks continue their aimless drifting and smaller birds carry on with their business.

But all eyes acknowledge the white-headed king that misses nothing from its limb in the hackberry tree.

Streaks down the lake, turns,
swoops back, lands on high limb,
studies the water with baleful stare,

settles to wait, but soon,
bored, changes trees,

quickly disappointed,
swirls into the sky,
soars higher, disappears,

leaves an unexpected
hole in the day
the size of an eagle.

(c) David L. Harrison

Goosing the neighborhood.

Hi everyone,
Thanks to all who came to my blog party. It was another nice opportunity to see old friends and become better acquainted with other guests.20161217_154110_resized This is a busy time of year so I know it was hard to find a few moments to drop by, and yet you did. I feel blessed to know so many talented people!
Meanwhile, as we chatted around the fireplace and shared good cheer, the denizens of Goose Lake were out paying our neighbors a call. You can see why I named the lake for them. Is this nice or what?

A December day around Goose Lake


Hi everyone,

Things have been busy around Goose Lake. Night before last I caught another raccoon in my live trap. 20161214_075050_resized Yesterday morning I loaded it in my car and drove it to James River. When I set the trap on the ground and opened the door, the raccoon shot out, raced down the bank into a pool of water, and dashed away into a wooded area.
The lake thawed just enough to attract a pair of swans. They swam close to each other, doing the kind of head bobbing that I generally associate with mating rituals. Maybe it was wishful thinking about this next spring.

Driving home in the afternoon I thought I saw something in a tree so I stopped (no cars behind me) and pointed in this direction. 20161214_141215_resized Can you see it? Blending into the limb it’s sitting on?

Does this help? 20161214_141224_resized It’s a Cooper’s Hawk, looking calmly across the meadow beyond my car, no doubt waiting for some small, unwary creature stirring in the grass. 20161214_141234_resized

During my party tomorrow, I hope you all get to see some of the neighborhood stars. You never know what to expect around here.

The ubiquitous raccoon

Hi everyone,

Last night when I was in the kitchen preparing the coffee pot for this morning, the security light snapped on outside the window. I hurried into the breakfast room for a better look and soon spotted a raccoon on the upper patio deck. Only the window glass and five feet separated us.

I didn’t have my phone on me and there was no time to go after it. I looked at the raccoon for a few seconds. It saw me and stood up on its hind legs to study me. There was no sign of alarm, only curiosity. Taking its time, it returned to all-fours, turned its back on me, and ambled down the steps into the yard. Within seconds it disappeared into the darkness beyond the light to continue its nightly rounds.

My coffee chore finished, my day over, I went to bed and left the night to the raccoon. The changing of the shifts at Goose Lake had been completed satisfactorily.