Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Local Fliers

Even though it is mid-summer, the bird activity is picking up the tiniest bit.  There have been reports of a few migrants already passing through the area.  I have two hummer feeders up in anticipation of their arrival, hopefully soon.    To date, no hummers have shown up but the house finches seem to be interested. 
Yesterday at this same feeder, there were three juvenile titmice hanging on the chain all at one time.  Needless to say, by the time I could get my camera they were gone.  Hubby told me today that just after I left the room, there were four juvenile cardinals on the feeder and chain outside my sewing room.   We have seen the titmice also clinging to the anchor bolts protruding from our brick wall, particularly when it was raining about 10 days ago.  Juveniles do strange things and it is so funny to watch them travel around together as they explore.  Won't be long before they are each on their own and won't be spending much time as a group. 

Another incident of no camera in time was yesterday morning when a pileated woodpecker swooped across the yard.  I ran for the camera and sneaked out into the garage looking for the limb he had landed on but the cluster of crows out there spooked and took off.  When they did that, the pileated left too, going across the street to the neighbors.  We don't often see pileated woodpeckers here, so it is a real thrill when they do visit. 

Late Sunday afternoon, I picked up Birdlady and we went to Ft. Pickens.  With the heat, its easy to wind up just staying inside all the time.  Too easy to do, so we figured we needed to get outside for a while.  There had been a thunderstorm at the beach the day before, so there were areas where fresh water was standing.  The gulls loved it and congregated for wonderful baths. 

We were hoping to see some late tern babies, but although we did see terns, no babies were visible. 

We did have good fortune, however, in seeing a somewhat unusual white morph of a great blue heron.  He was not a welcome visitor as the two great blues were harassing him constantly until he left their immediate area. 

Please forgive the poor photo.  You can see that a longer lens would definitely be of help.  Oh, well.  Not at the present. 

While we were on the beach, the Blue Angels came through.  Birdlady commented that she had many photos of them.  I didn't admit that I had none, and just snapped this one, hoping for the best. 
It was very late and they were across the bay,  but at least you can tell they're airplanes.  After they went by, they did a peel off where each jet went in a different  direction up into the sky.

Y'all take care. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Unexpected Delights

One of the things I love the most about traveling is the surprises you find in the most unexpected places.  On our way home last week, we stopped overnight at Columbus, Georgia.  We've never stayed at that location before and relied totally on the property description in our campground "catalog".   This turned out to be a nice campground with some lovely outbuildings that were available to the public for rent. 
The entrance foyer of the chapel had matching stained glass windows on each side.  Here's what they looked like -- taken through the front door so you could see them from the inside. 
The gardenia outside the door still had a few blossoms and the aroma was absolutely heady.  I think the smell of gardenia is my very favorite of all blossoms. 
My favorite location at this site was the wisteria covered arbor attached to the old building.  There was a wood burning fireplace under there, and a claw foot tub to hold the beverages.  What a fabulous place.

There were still some lovely flowers blooming, too. 

It was so neat to look at the windows in all the buildings.  Most, if not all, were antique stained glass or etched glass.  They gave the place the most wonderful atmosphere. 

Oh, how lovely it would be to have such surroundings at every stop! 

Y'all take care. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Travels Now and Then

During the summer, Hubby and I usually try to get out of town and find someplace a bit cooler than the coast of Florida.  For a number of reasons, this year we chose the Asheville, NC area and set out on the trip.  We stopped at Lake Hartwell on the way up and while I didn't take a single picture while there, I did get to see two scarlet tanagers.  I've seen only one other scarlet, so that was a real thrill.  You can take a look here for more info.  Scarlet Tanager 

Then we headed on to Hendersonville, NC.  It was such a wonderful feeling to head over that rise near the state line and see the hills swathed in blue mist rolling in the distance.  Unfortunately, our trip had to be aborted due to the elevation.  Hubby commenced having significant chest pains and we were gone in less than forty-eight hours.  To say I'm disappointed is an understatement, but given the circumstances there was no choice.   We knew this situation was a possibility but we were so in hopes that he could handle anything up to about 3,000 feet.  Didn't happen.  So, it looks like any future travels will be at low altitude.  

On our way home, we detoured through southeast Alabama to see my niece who was home visiting her folks.  She has always been a special child to me.  Starting when she was about three, every time I'd come home, she would be at the airport curled up against the glass wall waiting for me to walk into the gate area.  That was a great sight to see.  Now, she's got three boys of her own, one going into his sophomore year in high school.   My, how time does fly. 

This time of year three years ago, hubby and I were in Kenai, Alaska at the confluence of the Kenai River and Cook Inlet.  It was a unique place, with some unique architecture.   They served very good food in that cobbled together building, too.  

It had been rainy,  cloudy and blustery all day, but about 11 p.m., a break occurred in the clouds and the sun burst through.  We grabbed our jackets and a camera and ran outside.  It was one of the most glorious spectacles I've ever seen.  The whole sky and landscape were bathed in gold. 

Just across the way from the RV park was a Russian Orthodox Church which is beautiful at any time, but was especially so with that golden light washing over it. 

The salmon were running and the dip net fishermen were out in force.  I was fascinated by that whole process and wanted to be out there with them so bad!   That privilege is reserved for Alaska residents only, with permits being granted based on the size of the family.
It was simply breathtaking to see folks bring in fish after fish simply by standing the nets on edge and waiting until something swam into it.    Since the salmon had to enter the Kenai River at this very point, it was easy to catch them this way.

Y'all take care.