Saturday, February 26, 2011

Today's Flowers: narcissus

I am starting to have a few narcissus in bloom, although most are still at the bud stage.
I like it when the blooms are staggered because that way if some get zapped by more winter, others will come along later.
Each day I check my garden and am rewarded with a few early blooms. The past few years around the beginning of March we've had a little snow and I shot narcissus in the snow but it doesn't look like that will happen this year.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Photohunters: Mostly Black

I was stumped by this theme until I started thinking about moon shots I've taken over the years.
The first shot probably qualifies better than any of them for mostly black but I thought I'd use a variety of moon shots for this theme.
The next shot isn't a great moon shot but I liked the way it's shining through the trees and the roof below is covered in snow.
There are wispy clouds over part of the moon in the shot below.
The next shot was actually taken during the day and the sky was blue but I converted it to black and white for the mostly black theme.
The next shot was taken in the early evening.
Click for the home of photohunters.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nature Notes: More of the same

We are continuing to have a mix of spring like weather and then it gets chillier and then it gets warmer.
The cardinal couple above look like they may be beginning the courtship dance. The green above is misleading since that's an evergreen bush and it doesn't lose its leaves in winter.
The branch above shows what's happening with deciduous bushes beginning to show their first signs of new growth.
More and more american robins are coming to my deck for a drink of water.
The expression on the face of the one below made me laugh.
We've have had some beautiful blue skies which warm me as much as warmer weather.
While I'm writing this it's not particularly warm and I had to get the ice out of the bird baths.
I like the mix though because I'm certainly not in any hurry for hot weather.
I get nervous if it stays warm too early but it is nice to have some breaks in the cold.
I know the bird above was pleased to have a day warm enough to actually venture inside the bird bath.
Click for the home of Nature Notes.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Today's Flower: Tulip Tree

The tulip tree (Japanese Magnolia) is starting to show its buds.
Click for the home of Today's Flowers.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Photohunters: Silhouette

I have a lot of shots of silhouettes so this was a hard one for me.
It's easy for me to photograph the birds in the trees at twilight but they end up being silhouettes.
I like silhouettes but you don't get the detail on the birds and it's hard to know which kind of bird it is.
The trick to the shot below is to see if you can even find the bird that's hiding in the leaves.
Click for the home of photohunters.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Nature Notes: wild swings towards spring

Thursday morning, February 10, we had a snowy start to the day but it didn't last long.
I've enjoyed getting a chance to photograph the red-bellied woodpecker this winter.
She, or maybe she's a he, has been spending a lot of time in the tree near my deck wall and also swoops on and off the wall.
The carolina wrens are another visitor I've been enjoying. The wrens and woodpeckers both move so fast that it's always a treat when they are still long enough for me to photograph them.
The rufous-sided towhee and sparrow are much less nervous around me and I photograph them a lot.
Friday was a beautiful day and the snow from Thursday was all gone. The tree below almost looks like it is starting to bloom but those are actually little dry thingies that are on the tree in the winter. Sorry for calling them thingies but I can't think of the name of the tree so I can't look up what the thingies are. They almost look like the tiny flowers of the redbud tree but those won't be blooming for a month or so and I can identify redbud trees.
Much of the weekend was like spring and I enjoyed a pleasant walk at Lake Lynn.
I like to compare the birds at Lake Lynn with the ones at Shelley Lake (the lake I usually walk at).
This time of year they have about the same bird populations with lots of gulls. Later, the gulls leave and go somewhere else to nest.
I haven't seen any great blue herons at either lake since the late fall but I'm sure they'll be back both places later. They may not have gone away but I don't see them as much in late winter.
One thing I like about photographing the sights at Lake Lynn is with the boardwalk/bridge style path around the lake, I can photograph the birds on both sides of the bridge/boardwalk
The only part of the walk that isn't on the bridge/boardwalk at Lake Lynn is on the dam and then a little ways on either side.
So far this week we've had some big swings from cold nights to warm days. There was a 40 degree difference in the Monday day time and night time temperature.
I photographed the female cardinal Tuesday morning (today) on my deck wall. Click for the home of Nature Notes. I'm posting early this week.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Today's Flowers: Winter beginning to end

We had a small wet snow on Thursday morning and I decided to see if the camellias were doing alright.
They are still in the early bud stage and don't seem to have much if any damage.
I like the way buds and flowers look with a little snow on them.
It warmed up and since Thursday we've had pretty cold nights but much warmer days. I shot my helleborus this Saturday and it's close to blooming.
Soon spring will be arriving and in the meantime it looks like next week we will have some spring like days. Click for the home of Today's Flowers.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Photohunters: Education

The first sign of the new visitor education center at the NC Botanical Garden, which is part of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, was basically a big mess.
Then I saw a literal sign showing what was being planned and built to house garden education classes, visitor information, etc.
That helped me, somewhat, to tolerate the mess that was a part of the garden for the years of construction on the new education building.
I always liked the Totten Center which is the old garden Education building but the new one is much larger.
The shot above and the two below are of the old education building at the garden (Totten Building).
Since the new Education Building has been completed, the Totten building is no longer opened for public use but is used for plant propagation and other purposes.
The rest of the shots are of the new Visitor and Education building at the garden. First are several shots I took a month before it was officially open.
This 29,656 square foot building has 3 sections connected by breezeways.
It has a number of green features including rainwater cisterns, geothermal wells, photovoltaic panels, storm water retention ponds, clerestory windows, and the site was selected for a variety of environmental reasons.
To learn more about the new Education Center you can click here. The rest of the shots were ones I took in the early spring of 2010 about six months after the education building opened.
I will be interested in seeing how far along they are in terms of the garden around the building by this summer.
Part of what I like about the original education building is how it was nestled into the garden but I realize that will happen over time with the new education building.
Click for the home of photohunters to see what others did for the education theme.