Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nature Notes: Glad to see the end of summer

I had to laugh when I spotted this great blue heron on one of the Shelley Lake fish feeding stations, which are an attempt to encourage fish populations at the lake.
It kind of reminds me of the problem with feeding birds at places cats hang out. In this case it's a matter of feeding fish where birds hang out.
Since so many of my nature shots of birds are shot through my bedroom door, I thought I'd show you the set up. On the left is the door and in the middle of my deck are some makeshift bird baths.
On Thursday I caught a threesome of birds through the door.
natnnotes DSCN7603
On Friday a finch was fussing at a cardinal for hogging the bath.
The female cardinal wasn't going to be intimidated by a little finch.
On Saturday I was keeping an eye out through my front window at my oak trees. I lost a lot of leaves and small branches but no real damage at my house during the storm.
I can't believe how early the leaves are changing colors this year. Granted, not that many but everywhere I go I see a few changing. These are at my house.
On Sunday it was a beautiful day and we went on a walk at Lake Lynn.
It's quite close to Shelley Lake and I enjoy the similarities and differences in the water birds there.
Lake Lynn has some funny looking ducks (above) and swans which I don't see at Shelley.
It's close to my house but with Shelley Lake in my neighborhood I don't go the extra couple of miles to Lake Lynn all that often.
The lake side of the boardwalks weren't noticeably higher (water level) but the other side was.
Below is the side of the boardwalk at Lake Lynn that is usually wetland with more land than water so it was noticeable how high the water was after Irene passed by.
I was talking to Bill about how I usually saw great blue heron at Lake Lynn and was surprised there weren't any. He said, look there and pointed and sure enough there was one fishing.
Monday morning I decided to check out the Shelley Lake trails and see if there was any storm damage. I had to stop while the city workers cut up a tree that was across the path with a chainsaw.
In a way the fact that the city worker were clearing trees from the Shelley path just two days after Irene demonstrates that where I live had minimal damage from the outer bands of the storm.
In the late 1990s when Hurricane Fran made landfall on the NC coast and tore through the state, including where I live in central NC, it took forever to get all the roads clear and they put tape across the entrance to some of the Shelley paths saying they were closed. Actually a friend and I stepped over the tape and explored and I remember wondering if the woods would ever grow back because so many trees were lost back then. That was about 13 years ago. So many people ended up with trees on their houses and I was lucky that my oak trees didn't land on my house back then. That's part of why I was watching my oak trees during this recent storm but they are still holding firm.
Click for the home of nature notes.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tuesday's Flowers: August Ending

The partridge pea is blooming nicely along the paths I walk on.
The shot above is a closeup of the partridge pea and the shot below is a wide one where it looks like little yellow dots along the side.
I can't for the life of me think of the name of the little white flowers below.
Goldenrod is blooming in the woods and in my back yard for that matter but this is from the woods.
The bees and butterflies enjoy goldenrod.
The shot below is lantana growing at my mailbox.
The last shot is one I took out of boredom at a stop light.
Click for the home of today's flowers.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Photohunters: Symbolic

The dogwood tree is symbolic in a number of different legends.
One Native American legend says that a princess, who was killed by a suitor she refused, used dogwood petals to clean blood from her wounds as she lay dying. The red marks on dogwoods symbolizes her blood. Source Here
In Cherokee legends there are little people who are a race of spirits and one of these is the dogwood people. The little people are here to teach lessons about living in harmony with nature and other people.
The dogwood people are good and take care of people. (Source on little people). Some of the other little people are more mischievous.
I grew up with Christian legends about the dogwood and how it symbolizes the crucifixion. What I recalled from my childhood was that Christ was crucified on a cross made from a dogwood. In refreshing my memory, I found that there are legends saying that the dogwood was once as big as oak trees but that it was shamed to be used for such a bad purpose. According to that legend, Jesus, comforting the dogwood tree, told it that it would forever after be too small to be used that way and that its flowers would be formed like a cross. Source for this legend.
Another legend doesn't show the dogwood in a good light but instead God punished it and made it forever small and twisted after the crucifixion. (source for second legend). I must say I don't care for the second Christian legend and much prefer the first. I always grew up thinking the dogwood was special in good ways so I'm sure it was some variation of the first legend I heard as a child. I also ran across some sites mentioning pink dogwoods symbolizing the blood of Christ.
I ran across so many ways in which the dogwood is symbolic doing fast research that I only touched on a few. Click for the home of photohunters.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Nature Notes: Pleasant Days

I can't believe how pleasant it is after such awful June and July weather.
August has been getting better and better. We've had rain to refresh the plants, cooler temperatures and just the right amount of sun.
I guess the highs aren't my favorite temperatures but I don't really mind since the evenings and mornings are so nice. Even the highs aren't anything like as bad as they were all through June and July.
I felt the earthquake tremors (Tuesday around 2:00 PM) when I was inside which was a tad strange.
I thought a jet had flown too near the house. I even went outside to make sure there wasn't a crash.
My neighbor called and said did you feel that? She explained about the earthquakes.
I googled and sure enough Raleigh, NC where I live was impacted in a minor way.
My daughter called to make sure I was alright because she saw that where I live was one of the places that were feeling it.
I was glad she called because she works in DC and I had read that they were affected when I was doing my googling.
She said they felt it which was weird working on a high floor of a tall building but it was fine.
The goldenrod, solidago, (shot above) on the Shelley Lake trails is very happy now that it got some rain.
There is also a lot of partridge pea Chamaechrista fasciculate, Caesalpinia family (Caesalpiniaceae) blooming, shots above and below.
I like the way the young mallards have the little touch of blue in their feathers.
The next shot is a male common whitetail dragonfly. In looking this up I noticed that the dragonfly on my last week's nature notes was an immature male whitetail dragonfly. I didn't realize that until I looked this one up.
I wasn't fast enough to catch a shot of the great blue heron flying and he didn't land at a good place for a photograph but I took one anyway.
Click for the home of nature notes.