Friday, January 31, 2014

Photohunters: Bridges and Ways

I had to walk a ways in very cold weather to reach one of the bridges that crosses a creek near my house.
I could say that I walked a ways just for this week's photohunt but that wouldn't strictly be true.
I'm walking every day anyway and I wanted to reach the bridge so I could photograph the frozen creek. My round trip walk was less than 2 miles which isn't as far as most of my daily walks. I started trying to walk every day on January 8, 2014 and so far so good!
I prepared a draft for this week's photohunt on Wednesday but after my Thursday walk, I am adding a couple of different bridges I photographed.
These bridges are even closer to my house than the ones in the first group of photographs. The one above crosses a small creek between the Optimist Pool side of the park and the playground and recreational building side of the park.
Looking over the side of this bridge the creek looks like a snow gully.
Walking a ways further I came to the bridge above which leads towards the tennis court.
There's nothing particularly special about these bridges but I like simple wooden foot bridges. I also think they look pretty in the snow and I didn't want to walk a ways further to the lake bridges.
 Click here for the ways photohunt and here for the bridges photohunt.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Nature Notes: Moving towards late January

I didn't get the big fluffy snow I've been hoping for but I got a small dusting which had its own beauty.
Considering how cold it was from Tuesday night until Sunday afternoon when it was finally moderate, it's probably just as well that I didn't have a lot of snow to cope with.
The bird tracks above gave me the hint to try and provide some warm water and the carolina chickadee below watched me put out food.
The tufted titmouse below was quick on the mark to get some food.
 Next, a female rufous-sided towhee was getting a snack.
 I went on a walk and spotted the sparrow below in a neighbor's yard.
 A house not too far from me had a large cactus and lirope that looked pretty with a little snow.
 At my house another day, a male rufous-sided towhee eats with his mouth open.
 The little junco below is getting in on the action.
 Every morning I see birds in the tree below that seem to watch me put out cold weather treats.
 I caught the moon before it set for the day.
 I have never seen Canadian Geese before on the baseball field shown below.
The female cardinal motivated me to provide some warm water although it kept freezing again very rapidly. 
 We had a spectacular sunset one evening.
The red-bellied woodpecker was getting an early start on the food I provided during the extra cold spell.
 The brown thrasher also got an early start on the food.
 The nuthatch must have spotted something interesting beneath it.
 I think the mourning dove looked gorgeous all primped out.
When I went for a walk on Friday, I expected the lake to be frozen but the creeks and shallower parts of the lake were the only place I spotted ice.
The highs that day stayed in the teens F (-8 C) but for some reason more of the geese were in the lake than usual in winter. The Canadian Geese normally spend more time in the over wintered grass when it's cold.
The Great Blue Heron was keeping an eye out for fish, at least that's my assumption.
 I think the heron below looks like she's stalking.
The next shot is a Red-Breasted Merganser a bird I've never seen before at Shelley Lake.
The cormorants and gulls took over the fish feeding station.
 They also spent some time in the shallow water.
 I hope the mallard below gets something for all of her efforts.
 If anyone knows what is involved with ice taking the odd form below on the shore, please let me know in a comment. I think it looks like plastic but it's ice.
 In spite of how little snow we got Tuesday night, there was some sticking around six days later because it stayed so cold.
I could have used ice skates to get to the bird baths. All the water that spilled out when I was thawing and dumping created a treacherous area that is still there. I go very carefully with my aluminum hiking stick and watering can. Sounds crazy but it gets difficult to safely make it the few slick feet to the bird baths.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Today's Flowers: frozen camellia buds

We had a light dusting of snow which sugar coated the camellia buds.
The snow isn't the problem as far as the viability of the buds.
The problem is that the buds got too far along and then we have had spells of very low temperatures.
In the picture above, at the top of the picture, there is a bud that has already turned black and died.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Photohunters: Vast and Wine

Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina 
With a glass of wine in the evening feeling divine
Watching the vast sea my mood happy and free
This photohunt made me think of the old song, Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning. However when coming up with words to go with this photograph of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina I didn't use the old song because for me coffee or tea go with morning  and wine goes with the evening. Click for the wine photohunters and here for the vast photohunters.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Nature Notes: walks and home birds

I've been enjoying winter walks even when it's quite cold.
In some ways the slightly warmer days have been less fun to walk in than the colder ones because we've had rain many days when the temperatures are above freezing.
I'd rather have snow than rain when it's only slightly above freezing.
The birds in the tree are a male and female cardinal and a sparrow. The bird below is a male rufous-sided towhee.
Below is a little junco in my deck vines.
Next is a female rufous-sided towhee on my deck wall.
I took the next shot on a foggy morning.
The squirrel was watching me get the ice out of the bird baths.
I think bluejays are such beauties.
 I find the moss on the roof of a house in my neighborhood to be very beautiful.
I like the different textures of the various tree bark.
The past several years have been wet and a lot of the bark has moss.
I spotted some interesting fungi on a walk but it was drizzling and I left my camera at home. I'll have to try to remember where I spotted it the next time I take the same route for a walk.
I thought the sunset below was lovely.
I think the warbler below looks like he's dancing.
I think the male cardinal is giving me a quizzical look.
 I think the female cardinal below is debating joining the male cardinal or kissing the frog instead. Actually it looks like the frog is trying to hug the male cardinal.
As soon as I got the ice out of the bird bath the female cardinal below had a bath.
 The bird below is a brown thrasher.
 I think the bird below is a mourning dove.
It's easier for me to walk in the winter than in the summer because I have trouble with heat.
Below the gulls and cormorants appeared to be fishing in the same part of the lake.
I like the way the mourning dove looks all puffed out.
 In the next shot a red-bellied woodpecker joined the mourning doves on my deck for a cold day treat.
 I think red-bellied woodpeckers have such a sleek stylish look.