Thursday, December 29, 2011

A winter view across the Sound

As the light began to leave us today I shot a bit over the Sound. Swan Beach was lit with houses, the duck blinds took turns as shiny objects in the water.

A favorite view of mine is Currituck Light and to the far right you might peek out the chimneys of the Whalehead Club.

It's a perspective of residents and a privileged view, indeed!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Young eagle after a meal

Warm weather and few ducks have the duck hunters home today. Here is a young hunter I spied swooping over the few ducks and coots around my pier.

It rests for a bit on the osprey nest and then flies off, eventually heading north.

Wounded ducks are easier prey. On a morning walk I saw a wounded Canada Goose. It was paddling near the road and took an interesting evasive maneuver. It spread itself as flat as it could, crooking his neck down too, level with the water surface. I invited him down for some corn, perhaps he will find his way.

A cropped view shows off the wonderful feet and talons.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Swans overhead

I took a late afternoon stroll out to spy my little group of ducks. Before I was prepared for a pic a group of about 2 dozen swans came flying fast over me. I followed them as they flew and got a few shots. It is incredible how fast they go; you are left wishing you could fly along.

Here's one shot of a few and one of more as they screamed past me. It is mesmerizing watching these magnificent creatures fly over you.

Aren't they fantastic!

Monday, December 5, 2011

When we rise

'That's the time I love the best' as the song goes. Winter brings fantastic skies; the first view upon rising is out on the Sound. What will it be?
This morning I first glanced a wall of clouds with light high. Scrambling for jeans and shoes I was out in a flash.
What a soft grey totally flat Sound. The duck hunters had beat me to it and they were cooing without luck for a handful of ducks.
The show was on the water. Surely a trip out on this morning was worth it even with no catch to show.
Not sure my skills bring you the magic that I saw, but here is my attempt to capture the view that captures me.
Just wonderful.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Winter Robin

The Robin is underrated, I think. It's a beautiful bird, a large bird with color and design that deserve top billing!
Just look at the scalloped edged feathering on the breast of this Robin.
The weather was a gift today and this morning as I walked my garden the trees were full of Robins. The White-Throated Sparrows were singing their Disney song, the ever-present Chickadees were buzzing about and the Bluebirds were happy exploring all the nest boxes while singing their plans for next spring.
Add some Buffleheads splashing about, a flush of blackbirds above followed by a hawk. Mon ami, the day the was full by morning.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

December morning

The weather has a bit of a bite to it, but still mild. So mild that the wild ducks have yet to show in any numbers. The duck hunters quit in the morning, after trying to rustle up the few tiny groups (tsk! tsk!) that are plying the sound.

As I walked out the temp was about 49, the wind strong and the water was moving fast.

A half dozen bufflehead came close for my legal corn. They are very wary and make several attempts before diving near me. A male is making a fast break back out.

The female ventures close. I think the Buffy female is bold. I like her!

As the sun rises, the Buffies are spooked and head back out. A beautiful December morning. Mon ami, I hope you enjoyed yours!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ruddy Turnstone

Just last week I had my eye out for Ruddies and Buffies, or any duck with an early schedule. I found another 'Ruddy' on my Thanksgiving visit to St. Augustine. On the warm but windy beach a small group of Ruddy Turnstones were trying to find a bite to eat and keep out of the wind.

And what a treat to hear Ospreys call again just a couple months after they left our area.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Snake shed

Snake skin sheds (pieces of them) are typical around the garden. None compare to this one found on a high shelf inside the garage today. It is complete! I estimate a 2 1/2 feet to a yard long shed from a black snake.

This shed will be saved and placed in the vegie garden next spring for the Flycatcher to find. A snake shed is required for the Flycatcher's nest box, perhaps as a deterrent to who peers into the box? It's a deterrent for me climbing up to that shelf again, period.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A beautiful day

A gift in November, mon ami. Tee shirt weather, nearly. I finished a project in the morning, took a nice long bike ride with a friend in the afternoon. This weather cannot be wasted.
And to top it all off, a flock of Swans cruised by over the Outer Banks before 4 pm. The Swans can make the worst day a beautiful day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Barry White as a Frog

Hello Baby. That's just what I thought when I saw this fat guy parked on a jade leaf. He was on the same leaf yesterday. It's time to move summered plants inside and I need to find all the hidden frogs so they won't dry out in the house. This fat frog will probably winter over nicely in some potting soil and be a seed frog for next year.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Patchwork is a traditional quilting style. Pieces of fabric are sewn together to make a 'whole' cloth. It was originally a way of using scraps to a better end and made its way to cutting up 'perfectly good' materials to create something unique and new.

I have taken the patchwork style to a smaller purpose than the quilt. I make tiny patchwork bags. My patchwork includes my photography. I print my work on silk or cotton and work it into the design. Traditional three layers and free motion quilting complete the fabric before it is fashioned into wearable art.

My Mother's CD player bag: Waterlilies!

My own day pack with a bird and a fawn featured on the pockets.

And my latest, a slightly smaller daypack in blue with winter gulls on the pockets.
I'm showing the back. This one can be found at Mellow Dog.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Folded Wing Skipper

Folded wing Skipper
Yesterday my flower gardens were full of butterflies, especially skippers. The zinnias and marigolds are a magnet for these small butterflies.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Just Good Dirt

tree frog covered in potting soil
Today I planted pansies in some special pots (I'll show off those pots later!) When I was adding potting soil from a bucket, I found a frog turning in the soil. Did it come out of the potting soil bag? or the bucket? Frogs will find their way into potting soil,but that is usually late in the season when they find places to winter over.

I pulled it out of the soil and encouraged it onto one of my Jade plants, then ran for my camera. This little one was caked in good dirt!

I did give it a very gentle rinse when I watered in the pansies. And with the weight of the soil gone, this little one was soon gone too.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A shot at breakfast

While enjoying my French omelette with German strawberry preserves (yum!), a loud shot sound interrupted the quiet of my Sunday morning meal. The kitchen door was open, the storm door with the half window was closed. A look outside and there was a Brown Thrasher on the stoop. Completely dazed and collapsing, it obviously hit the window in full flight.
Brown Thrasher after crashing into window
This was unexpected, especially with my frog dirtied window pane.
After checking the bird, I grabbed my camera for a couple shots and then moved it to a flower garden for a hopeful recovery. I know the bird was hurt but it was a treasure to be able to hold it in my hands. There was no struggle just a little twitching of the feet, a good sign.

A check about 15 minutes later and it had moved a bit, hiding under a hydrangea. The head was moving and then it flew! with strong wings! Applause!

What happened? Perhaps the Thrasher was taking a shot at its breakfast. This very large (over 3 inches) caterpillar was found climbing up the wall adjacent to the kitchen door. Maybe it was on the door at the time of the bird's collision? It is a large moth caterpillar, but which one I do not know.

Large moth caterpillar

Later in the day I heard the Brown Thrasher sing again. I think it was my breakfast Thrasher, ready for another shot ... at life!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Aye, the Gnats!

Gnats over trees
Travel these parts in the dark, very early morning hours and you will slide through clouds of gnat-like insects. It's an amazing experience for former city dwellers. As a now long time resident, these bugs are nothing new. But here they are clouding up the skies in the late morning. I caught this cloud above my trees and watched birds and larger insects fly through them, feeding on the plenty. And I will say my frogs are very fat!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Male American Redstart

Male American Redstart in migration Currituck
American Redstart Male in migration Currituck
I have long watched for this fine thing. A fellow birder from way back asked 'have you seen the American Redstart?' I study my guides so when I saw it this morning I knew exactly what it was. You will have to excuse my handheld camera shots, but I had to catch him while he was here. The female was here last month and I have spotted her for three years.
(Here's a link to my shots of her from last year: )

He's very orange where she is yellow, and black where she is grey.

What a pretty bird, reminds me of the Orchard Oriole with his orange and black feathers, but the Redstart has plenty of white. The Redstart is very busy, looping in and out, very warbler-like in his actions.

Now this was a great start to shocking cool morning.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Four out of Five Frogs

Tree frog in the afternoon
Four out of five frogs agree: enough rain! In a short rainbreak I went outside to get some fresh air and when I looked up the frogs were looking down. The frogs are usually sleeping at 1 in the afternoon but here they were awake and looking out. At what? Maybe at the tiny bit of light that came through and maybe for the end of the rain. But the rain came again. So maybe tomorrow. The frogs have had enough for awhile.

Update: Perhaps the frogs were on snake alert. One dropped on me when I opened the storm door this morning. A snake! I think the folks in Moyock heard my scream!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Squirrel in silhouette

It may sound odd, but we have very few squirrels. Well, one or two is plenty. You can enjoy them and the loss from garden and trees is minimal. I spotted two together. They must be planning a grand theft of my pecans. One of the squirrels just froze along the trunk. See how well it blends in with the tree. It only moved enough to keep it's face out of view, even as I moved around the tree. Not even calling out 'Hey Squirrel!' would get it going. Too funny!

Squirrel hiding along tree trunk

Monday, September 19, 2011

September Geese

Canada Geese on the sound
Cool air has blown in this past weekend. On cue, local Canada Geese flock up. I have no idea how far they travel in these flocks. Perhaps to a wheat field in Shawboro and back to the sound. Maybe they venture up to the Eastern Shore and the Chesapeake Bay. But fly about they do. Last night I heard some honking in a moonlit flight over the sound.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rose Buds

Two frogs on a rose blossum
Two green frog buddies share a rose bloom to catch a nap. I was admiring the new roses that my yellow tea just put out and found these two asleep. I bothered them a bit to steady the stem but they stayed put and were back to rest quickly. With all the rain from Hurricane Irene we have a good number of frogs. Yeah!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Blimp over the Beach

Blimp over Currituck OBX
By chance I caught sight of a blimp traveling south along the northern Outer Banks about 1 this afternoon. I followed it until it reached the Corolla area where it turned west and headed toward the Elizabeth City area. Probably out for a test ride (a blimp construction facility is located in E-City) and taking advantage of the low winds and clear skies, a trip along the beach must be some fine sight-seeing. And for the beachgoers, I know it was a fine treat to see a blimp overhead. Where do I sign up for test rides?

Here the blimp has just passed Luark's Hill, a sand dune in the four wheel drive area of Currituck County's Outer Banks. For reference I am looking East at the soundside of the OBX and as always, click on the photo to get a closer look.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


North Currituck Sound after Hurricane Irene
Wow, what a long few days it's been. Luckily, our power was restored late this afternoon. Now the humm of the air conditioner is just buzzing in my head, replacing the brumm of the generator and the roar of the wind. There are plenty of properties in my immediate area in awful states. This is the highest water seen in this area by me and certainly by most lifetime residents.

This morning I took a few shots of the high water on the Sound and this one of the view across the Currituck Sound looking east.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene Final Prep

Hard to make out in the cloudy blue morning, a work boat loaded with crab pots heads west toward Coinjock Bay this morning about 8 am. Final preparations for the storm are keeping the locals busy. Lunch today will be the hard crabs that I have left. Oh, here comes the rain already at 9 am! Better go move some plants.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A young Cardinal

Young Cardinal in Live Oak
The new and the established male hummers were so busy chasing and challenging that I thought I would try to catch a shot. One male hummer sits on a leaf edge in a live oak standing guard over the window sugar water feeder. It bombs any comer, even the finches. Well, the hummers were in full chase and the one was not going to sit on that leaf edge with me so near. He chattered and hid inside the oak between chases. So I did the next thing a photographer does, I shot what I could get. And here a young Cardinal obliged my lens.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Just some Zinnias

Zinnias in the Garden
While waiting for some of the regular crowd to show up in the afternoon garden (the hummers, chickadees, wrens and cardinals), the zinnias were front and center.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Silver lining in the Dismal smoke

The smoke from the new fires in the Dismal Swamp comes and goes with the wind. The Swamp is about 50 plus miles northwest by the crow but when 5000 acres are burning that mileage is not a factor. The smoke has obscured the sun on occasion which creates an odd light on the landscape.
With an hour in my pocket and no plans on how to spend it, I headed to my bird blind yesterday afternoon. The smoke gave me the cloudiness for a few shots that a normal 3 o'clock in the afternoon denies.

Cardinal in the Garden
I watched a hummingbird playfully spar with a wren in a crepe myrtle, then spotted this young Cardinal looking for sunflower seeds or perhaps the water from a garden sprinkler.

Wren bathing in the Garden
A wren came in for a nice little shower.

Goldfinch in the Garden
Look who paused on a sunflower head right in front of me. I think I suprised him, too.

Hummingbird bathing in the Garden
This Hummingbird came to the garden to get a soaking shower. Chasing that Wren is hot work!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Harvesting for the year

Summer has been hot but busy with projects inside and out. Tomato season is here and we are getting plenty to eat, and some to put up too. With tomatoes you need herbs for seasoning. I like to dry oregano, basil, thyme, and parsley for cooking year round. I collect the stems in bunches and hang them in my soundside gazebo for drying. It is shady with plenty of air circulation for good drying. That is where I dry my garlic and shallots as well.

Once dried I bring in the stems and strip off the leaves and bottle them up. It's so neat to pull your own herbs out of the spice drawer to season your tomato sauce, stews, pizza! etc.

My platter full of oregano leaves is more than plenty for a year of seasoning.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chasing the Prothonotary

What a treat to catch this little bird in the garden! The Prothonotary Warbler, a tiny blast of yellow that is on the decline. This is about the time of year I spy one and it is hard to catch with a camera. Constantly on the move, searching the limbs and leaves for food. The song reminds me of the goldfinch, a little squeaky and sweet string of notes.
Next year we may try some boxes and see if we can get some mating pairs at the water's edge, though I think they favor the swamps.
Here are shots of the warbler scurrying through a sugar berry tree; it is a busy bird!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The garden pre-ride

In full Tour de France withdrawal, I planned a nice long bike ride. Just before I headed out, I visited the garden with my camera. My sunflowers are being enjoyed by cardinals and goldfinch and I was hoping to catch a shot.

Sunflowers in my garden
No luck, but I did catch a grackle eating a fig. It's okay, this tree is not as sweet as my other one and I have plenty to share.
Grackle eating fig