Friday, July 30, 2010

Photohunters: Public

The photohunters word this week is public. Below are some photographs I took of the downtown public library in Greensboro, NC last summer when I was killing time because a flight with someone I was picking up at the Greensboro airport was delayed.
I love the main area where the librarians have their desks and where the public enters before going to the books.
Of course the most important thing in a public library are the books.
Photohunters post their links at the home of the hunt beginning on Saturday mornings.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nature Notes: Trying to beat the heat

We have had a very hot July, even for us, in central North Carolina. My front yard bird bath is shaded by large oak trees and is very popular although not the best for getting good photographs.
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Fortunately for the wildlife and for my electric bill too, I have lots of shade in my yard.
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The squirrel below took such a long siesta in the heat of the day that I was afraid he had suffered a heat stroke.
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I decided against making noise to make sure he was ok because, if he was resting it was better to leave him alone so he didn't have to use energy running away in his fur coat in the heat.
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Finally after well over an hour of my checking through my window to see if he had moved, an itch he had to scratch roused him.
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He stayed in a new position on the same branch until finally he got up and came down for a drink of water. I was glad that he was ok.
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My deck bird bath is always full of a procession of birds.
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The small birds watch me from the trees when I change out the bath for cool water so they get a turn before the larger birds return.
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It's nice to see the pecan tree laden with pecans for a winter treat for me and the wildlife.
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I've gotten better at photographing the birds in the trees and bushes. I watch for rustling leaves when the wind isn't blowing and usually can spot a bird.
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The most popular cover is trees and bushes that not only have shade but also berries for the birds to eat.
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The porch swing is popular because that gives a good view of the bird bath.
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Nature Notes is hosted by Rambling Woods and the new link goes up by Thursday.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Today's Flowers: Hiding in plain view

I was fascinated with how my black-eyed susan (rudbeckia) seemed to be blowing in different directions.
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I thought it must be a very strange wind that kept changing course.
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Finally I figured out that there were several American Goldfinch feeding on the flower centers where the seeds are forming.
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The birds blend in so well that it is easy to miss them until they come out from the full part of the flowers.
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I usually see them feeding on the purple cone flowers (echinacea) where they aren't camouflaged as well as they are on the black eyed susan.
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Please visit the home of Today's Flowers to see flowers around the world.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Photohunters: Hanging

The photohunters word this week is hanging.
Atlantic Beach,NC,ocean,beach,sky
I'm not sure if the kite surfers are hanging on to their kite or if the kite is hanging on to them. As long as no one gets hung up I guess it doesn't matter.
Atlantic Beach,NC,ocean,beach,sky,sky
I think the moon looks like a skinny banana hanging in the sky.
Atlantic Beach,NC,sky
Photohunters post their links at the home of the hunt beginning on Saturday mornings.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nature Notes: Coastal North Carolina

This week my nature notes will be about coastal North Carolina since I was recently at Atlantic Beach, NC and took a ton of photos.
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Atlantic Beach is on the Bogue Banks and is a barrier island bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Bogue Sound.
nature notes dunaIMG_2012
I was so happy to see how well the dunes were doing with lush sea oats and other grasses in the best shape I've seen them.
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The beach has gone through a number of stages in my lifetime. I can't remember how long ago it was that the waves were lapping on the sea wall and major nourishment began at Atlantic Beach, NC.
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I think replanting native grasses and keeping foot traffic off most of the dunes is great but I have very mixed feelings about the way my state invested huge sums of money in hauling huge quantities of sand to basically try to push the ocean back.
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I don't remember exactly when the last major fill in of sand was done on this beach. It may have been as much as 20 years ago but the ocean has already begun to take back a lot of the ground.
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Part of what bothers me is that my state hasn't always been sensible, to my way of thinking, in terms of development on the fragile coast. Very little of the maritime forest which used to protect parts of the island has remained.
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We do have some great state parks on the coast but there are areas in the 1990s when I thought we should have known better that additional development was allowed. I think in particular of Topsail Island where an area which had been a major breeding ground for birds (the tip of the island where the sound and ocean meet) was developed with more condominiums and cottages.
nature notes dn IMG_2013
Topsail was already developed for many decades but that one particular area had been left for the birds. When the newer development occurred, predictably many new cottages ended up in the ocean after a hurricane and new roads on the part of the island which never should have been developed were covered with sand and debris.
nature notes group s aIMG_1999
My state then began an expensive clean up and cottages were rebuilt which seems so illogical to me. I've veered away from Atlantic Beach to talk about Topsail but what they did at Atlantic beach involved a major protection of established cottages by hauling enormous amounts of sand. Note- this is a quick and dirty non scientific discussion but I'll make up for that with links to better heads than mine.
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There is a good discussion of beach nourishment on the NOAA Site and you can click here for that. Basically the point is made that there is no reason for beach nourishment in terms of putting sediment on an eroding shoreline beyond political and economic reasons. I recommend that article.
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The problem I have is when we continue to have new development on the fragile shores. I can see the argument for some protection of existing buildings as long as we decide our state (meaning my state of NC) has already reached the point where we have to consider what we are losing with further development.
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I also think if we decide to stop developing our shoreline to the point of ruining it, the commitment to public access to the beach must continue as a priority. It certainly wouldn't make any sense to spend state funds on protecting the cottages for the few without giving beach access to the rest of the taxpayers. Frankly though my feeling is when a cottage ends up in the ocean, it's idiotic at that point to allow rebuilding in the same spot although I understand that it's complicated. Then again it would be simple if we let the buildings a block in from the beach front become the new beach front.
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On a positive note, there are some good programs which help the shoreline in positive ways. The NCCF has a Habitat restoration and education program which I think does good work. You can click this link for information.
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We had great weather at the beach. It was windy but there was only one early evening storm. However, somehow it makes sense to end with the one major dark cloud since this has been a somewhat dark post. Click here for the home of Nature Notes which is officially a Thursday theme. As usual I am early. I guess another point I should make is so far the oil spill hasn't reached the Atlantic but it's of course horrible what is happening in the Gulf.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back from Beach Break

Not only was I taking a break from blogging last week, I got a change of scenery.
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My family gathered at Atlantic Beach, NC. The shot above was taken from inside the cottage and you can possibly see my daughter, sister, and brother in law heading out for a walk after we arrived.
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The shot above was taken from the porch looking out on the beach late in the afternoon.
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We had a very dramatic sunset the first night that we were there.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blog Nap

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I'm taking a week off from blogging but I thought I'd put one post up for the week on each of my blogs.
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The little robin above was standing on my back stoop for quite a while. The adult robin below was flying back and forth between the tree and where the little one was until finally the young one flew off the stoop.
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The cardinal below spent a long time in the bird bath while a variety of birds waited their turn.
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I have a lot of catbirds like the one below that have settled into my garden.
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I'm not sure what kind of moth that is below but I've been seeing quite a few of them.
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I guess I'll end with a little carolina chickadee.
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My blog will be taking a nap for the week but I'll probably be back for the regular photo themes I participate in after that.