Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nature Notes: Cold ending to March

I'm posting early for nature notes because I'm not sure when I'll have time to do it if I wait. If I don't visit other participants this week it's because of work but I'll catch you when I can. After a warm early March, our weather has turned around to a cold late March.
We've been lucky in that the temperatures didn't fall below freezing until the very wet few days cleared.
If it had been as cold when it was raining as it was last night, we would have had snow or an ice storm instead of rain.
It was still cold when raining but it was a few degrees above freezing.
I enjoy the mix of weather. It's definitely not boring or all one thing.
I know the birds would prefer that it not keep getting cold but at least it's not extreme temperatures.
Some people talked about covering there azaleas last night but I have too many and they are too large to cover.
So far they are doing remarkably well in spite of blooming on the early side.
Even if I lose early blooms there are still plenty that are barely showing their buds so I'll have flowers left for later.
The shot below is the water which collected in an empty pot when it was raining and last night formed a sheet of ice on top.
The other shots are chronological starting with last Thursday and moving up through today (Tuesday).
I guess I should be better about labeling my nature notes photos. I can't think of the name of the bush below but the shot above is yellow jasmine.
The very first shot is an oak tree. The colorful part of the second shot are white and pink dogwoods. The third shot is a male cardinal in the pecan tree. The fourth shot is
kolkwitzia amabilis. The fifth shot is a mockingbird. The sixth and seventh shots are azaleas. The eighth shot is narcissus and the ninth is a tulip. The shot below is pieris japonica.
Below is another of my azaleas and is a smaller form than some of my monster ones.
If we have any nights that are more than 10 degrees below zero, I can put sheets over the smaller forms but the monster ones are on their own. Fortunately my enormous azaleas are farther behind the small ones.
The bluebird above was hiding from my but I got a partial shot. The last shot is of another of my oak trees.
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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Today's Flowers: Mix of spring flowers

I thought I'd start with some of the flowers blooming in my garden.
Much of the week was beautiful with warm weather but we've had a pretty cold and wet weekend. At least it has stayed one degree above freezing at night so no damage so far.
I can't remember a prettier spring. I suspect I'm repeating myself as I think I've been saying that on other posts.
The photos above were all from my garden. The ones below are ones I took at my doctor's office.
Thanks to Luiz for starting Today's flowers and I appreciate the invitation to be guest friend this week. My photos on the home site as guest friends were these same flowers at my doctor's office but I used close-ups of the tulips. Therefore, I thought I'd include the shot above and below to show the wider planting of tulips and pansies.
Click for the home of Today's Flowers.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Photohunters: Caged

Several families in my neighborhood keep caged chickens in their back yard.
They are fun to watch and I had photographs I took last year of the chickens and their cage.
My neighbor held out her hand to get the chickens to come towards her so I could photograph them.
It was funny how they walked past feeders full of food and approached the empty hand.
Although chickens are allowed in residential areas in my city, roosters are not allowed. I think the chicken below is hysterical looking. She probably thinks I look funny too.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nature Notes: Acceleration mode

I'm starting to feel like someone has hit a button putting the natural world into acceleration mode.
Everywhere I look there is new growth, new flowers, new life flitting around.
I spotted a single bee today and is warm enough for them but since the temperatures will be dropping back down again later in the week, I hope too many bees don't risk the warm days and get zapped by the cold later.
The top shot is of a thrasher in a cherry tree, second and third shots are of my redbud tree.
The changes at Shelley Lake are noticeable with new growth beginning and a change in the animal population.
Most of the seagulls have left, probably going to wherever they breed. The geese and ducks aren't in the lake as much. They breed in the protected areas around the lake and I don't see as many of them this time of year although soon they'll be noisy. Later in spring I hear a lot more ducks and geese than I see.
It amuses me to watch the Canadian Geese going up and down the hill which is actually a dam.
More and more flowers are blooming in my garden and the scents are heavenly.
Although a lot of the trees are still bare, there are more and more springing to life.
We have almost another month before we will be past our average last frost date.
I kind of like the temperature swings we are having with a warm to hot day and then a chilly day but I hope the more tender plants don't get ahead of themselves. In particular I worry about my pecan tree but so far it has barely started forming new growth. Tulips and narcissus don't mind a little frost if it comes again.
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Today's Flowers: Grace Garden

I took these shots on Friday in Grace Garden which is located in downtown Durham, NC.
This memorial garden is part of Durham Central Park which is a pleasant green area in the middle of a mixture of businesses, residential housing, warehouses, city farmer's market, etc.
It's less than a block from the old Durham Bulls baseball park where they filmed the movie Bull Durham.
The Durham Bulls have a new athletic park but the old one is still used by the community. You can't see the ball park in these photos but it's just out of view from where I'm shooting.
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Photohunters: License Plate

All legal cars on U.S. roads have license plates. Since this theme stumped me I thought, why not post road shots which include cars.
I usually try to avoid cars in road shots and certainly don't zoom in on license plates but they are there. Both of these shots were taken in the North Carolina mountains.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nature Notes: Noisy

One of the most noticeable signs of spring at my house is how noisy it gets. The brown thrasher below situates himself in a cherry tree and calls out for much of the day.
The shot below is the only one in this post which wasn't taken in my yard this week. I took this at a corner shopping area where I was struck by how just a week ago the same tree barely had any signs of new growth.
Back at my house I shot the male cardinal and sparrow having a chat in the trees.
My narcissus were bowing from rain but fortunately it stayed above freezing.
There are more and more days where the birds can get into the bird baths instead of leaning down for a drink in the cold.
I am starting to enjoy walking around my yard and drinking in each new sight, like the new flowers on the peiris japonica.
The titmouse below seemed to be debating whether to get into the water or not, it would have been too cold for me.
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