Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sleeping Ruddy

Ruddy ducks are typically the first I see in the cold weather on the open Sound.  They are so fun to watch:   they charge, chatter (a mewing sound to me), dive for food and sleep. Here is one in a watchful sleep posture. Beautiful golds against the blue water. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Nuthatch

I love the 'neep, neep ,neep' sounds of the Nuthatch.  Unusual, the wood is full of the nuthatch this year.  The call replaces the frogs and the cicadas; you can step outside and hear them in stereo plus!
They have found my black oil sunflower seeds and don't just eat.  They steal them away to secret places to be found later when it's cold perhaps. My sago palm will be a splendor of yellow flowers if the seeds are not retrieved from it's tight spaces!
Busy all day long, capturing seeds and plying the trees for bugs hidden in crevices.
The beak is made for digging, just the slightest little upturn. 
Here are a few pics of a nuthatch on a hackberry tree in the garden.  The bandit stripe across the eyes is so apropos for my little thief.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A few more pics from Florida

Mid day walks are not always conducive to shooting pics due to the light, but you have to carry your camera to try.

Citrus trees are common in yards, as peach trees are in my locale.  Here is a female Cardinal in a Lemon tree twisting a sunflower seed from a nearby feeder.

Along the waterfront I saw preening birds of all sorts in the afternoon sun.  Here are some Pelicans getting their feathers ship-shape.

Heading back I spotted this Snowy ( Golden Slippers!)  walking the shoreline.

The trees are full of birds that I see here in NC, and the local waters sported ducks, cormorants, kingfishers, pipers and osprey.  The osprey call was a welcome sound along with the owls hooting at night.  So much to explore,  I'm ready to take my camera back south!

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Plover in Florida

I was in north Florida of late and what did I catch but a Plover.  I think it is a Piping Plover, a protected bird that I have never seen.
It was too cute and not very spooked by our presence.

Tiny and busy.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Heron in the morning

Herons are usually seen in singular.  I recently counted 10, yes 10, fly over me in straight line formation (well, a little squiggly) and high up.  The squawk is unmistakable, the shape and wing flap as well.  I have seen four or five together before this sighting.
This morning I shot this photo of a single blue on a perch along my pier.  Once disturbed, three blues went a flying.  The others were out of my sight.
Perhaps they roosted for the night.  They are a winter regular here, so pretty when spotted on the causeway perfectly camouflaged against the marsh grass.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Making tracks

The Green Tree Frogs were everywhere and anywhere last couple weeks, perhaps the height of the season for them.  Windows, doors, plants, and everything else were full. 
When the weather starts to turn we get a fog on the windows.  The frogs continue to do their thing, but the temperature change gives us a a little treat in the morning.  We get to see the tracks of a frog chasing a bug, making it's way to better hiding place for the day, who knows?  The tracks are there.
I want a rubber stamp that looks just like these tracks.
Here are shots of  frog tracks on my kitchen door on a recent morning.  Aren't they fun?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A bird in the hand

Today I had the rare privilege of holding a Pine Warbler in my hands.  I was sweeping away the green and yellow leaves from my door and caught a glimpse of a clump (even got a peep!).  I just swept a bird!  I scooped it up and held it for about 20 minutes.  Most likely stunned from hitting the glass storm door, it did not object to my hands or my cooing.  I couldn't leave it for my camera, I just soaked it in and warmed it.  It did fly from my hands and as I clapped in celebration I realized I needed to wash my hands good.   :)

The photo has nothing to do with my little story, but here is a male Kingfisher from a couple days ago.  The battles for territory have been great this past week.  This shot is closely cropped, these birds are hard to catch with the camera and I could never imagine one in my hands.
The migrants such as the Warblers and the residents such as the Kingfisher are all welcome and every view is new and different.  But a bird in the hand is simply incredible.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pensive frog

Headed out the door this morning just as the rain began I spotted this little one on my rocks.  It has a very serious look which I thought 'pensive'.  Just google 'pensive frog' and you will find me in good company.

My pensive frog is sending a message, perhaps 'leave me alone'.  The look says it all , no?

Friday, September 21, 2012

The blue ones

"The blue ones are very good you know,"  this little tree frog seems to say as he finishes his morning meal of damsel fly.  I was surprised to find one eating in the morning. They are typically sleeping or positioning a spot to manage the heat of the day.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Swallowtail with no tail

Here is the Red-spotted Purple Swallowtail.  It has all the look of a typical swallowtail without the long tails on the hind wings.

This one has the specific Eastern US characteristic of the red orange spots on the forward wing top edges.
The underside has plenty of red spots and is a show on it's own.

So pretty, especially so on my Beauty Berry bush.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Leopard frogs

Maybe the wet summer brought them in, but we are loaded with Leopard frogs.  They are especially fond of the herbs and greens.  Just walk by and they start jumping!

Here is one trying to bury itself in the cool soil of an empty bed.  Maybe just for the day, like a mud bath at a spa!

And another in the bed of Field Crest.  My herbs and greens are frog approved!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


So busy this morning, but I made it out to dead head my flowers before lunch time.  I was so captivated by the sheer numbers of butterflies that I traded in my clippers for my camera.

Skippers, the large swallow tails, fritillaries, painted ladies, sulfurs and more!  Newest fav is the long tailed skipper shown below.  Gorgeous blue back on this large skipper!

I have so many zinnias, a result from regular dead heading of the flowers through the summer.

A swallowtail hangs on the salvia.

Another sits on a bright zinnia.

 Two battle out for this pink zinnia's offerings.

So many swallowtails!  And of course the fall standard, the sulfur, on my false dragons..

Monday, September 3, 2012

Seagull Time

I know the season is changing because the birds are changing.  Ospreys have long fledged and moved on, Crows that love the Osprey fish scrap are plying other opportunities.  Grackles, Barn Swallows, and Blackbirds are no longer heard.  The high perch is still visited by a Kingfisher, a year round resident.  Today it was occupied by a Seagull.  The Seagulls are absent in the summer but show up in the fall, probably scavenging far and wide from the regular course.
Large gulls fly in and you look hard trying to make out an Osprey that is not there, an Egret that no longer moves back and forth across the sound. 
When the Gulls show up Fall is nigh.  They are here.  On the bright side my winter favorites are planning their trip down.  I can't wait to hear the honks!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The New Kids!

The young male hummers are feeling their 'wheaties', so to speak.  The fighting or play fighting has begun.  I have a feeder at my kitchen window and my breakfast was served with a live play of sword fighting, bump and run,  and plenty of tiny screams!
I ventured out just to make sure the other feeder was full (it was) so I found a hiding spot nearby to try to catch a few shots.
Near the kitchen window is a flower garden.  I caught this young male resting between bouts on the climbing rose.
You can see a few red feathers poking through, he's a fine mess! Here's a crop.
The view through the vines.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I've been growing Lavender for a few years.  Letting the bees enjoy and cutting stems for friends.  It spreads! and I needed to do something with the lavender besides letting it just go!  I harvested it in the dried stage for use in sachet.  (I let it dry on the live stem after the flowering.)
The fragrance is super powerful.
I am making sachet packets out of cotton for my lavender.  And of course I am painting them up, what else I  would do?  The packets are about 4.5 inches square, filled with about 2 heaping tablespoons of dried lavender, hand painted!, and with a ribbon loop for hanging if you want.

A closer look at one of my favs, the sandpiper!
I need to grow more lavender!  I have more ideas for painting that I do dried lavender.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Farm Truck

There are farmed areas nearby. Waiting to be platted into house lots in some future perhaps, but for now they are planted, run through by deer, dove and hunters .... mostly enjoyed by neighbors for the vistas, the growing and the harvesting.  The machinery is so interesting especially for one whose Grandfather once plowed with a mule.  So when I spotted this truck parked as the wheat harvest was ongoing I had to take some shots.

 It's a fine truck, an International, just a letter missing.

 Pretty as a red barn!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A little walk about

Another big rain last night, a lightening strike that made me jump.  After a morning run on the bike, a walk about the gardens was therapeutic.

A ragged zinnia may reflect the state of us all in the heat!

 The flower garden the zinnia stands in is looking just a bit tired, too!

The vegie garden is giving gorgeous eggplant!  So good.

Nearby hollyhocks try to keep upright.

This ragged swallow tail is making the best of it all.

 Black-eyed Susans are a new favorite and they spread more each year.

Birds were feeding:  the wrens, chickadees, cardinals, hummers, phoebe, blue gnat catcher, brown thrasher, woodpeckers, the cuckoo and more.  It is a great show when you stop and wait ... and watch. 

On a walk about, more of my effort is on watching than shooting pics.  I just put the pictures in my head.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Young Dove

The summer of baby birds continues.  The wrens are never ending, the osprey are flying and eating on their own and maybe even catching.  New hummers are about and today a young dove was spotted in an oak tree.  Very quiet and not very nervous  so I caught a few shots before testing it.
On a morning bike ride I spotted a killdeer with a brand new little one, 15 feet down the road another brand new little one was a flat splat!  What a shame.  I pulled around and picked it up and put it in the weeds.  So tiny!
Here's the young dove, happy in his oak and nearby seeds and water.  The babies are doing well.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dragonfly Contact?

If one is around plenty of nature, as I am, and tries to engage with the other creatures of this world one may find another willing creature!

I went out to shoot pics of a farmer's old International truck that was parked nearby and was greeted by a dusky blue dragonfly.  Dragonflies usually scoot if you approach, but this one just flew up and back down.  Perhaps it was engaged with the lens, but it seemed to listen to my stream of compliments and kept posing for me. I shot for quite awhile and may do another post with all those shots, but for tonight here is one of  my dragonfly, looking in earnest it seems.  I offered my hand at the end of my shoot and he gladly climbed aboard and we said our goodbyes.

My dragonfly, posing as Earnest in "The Importance of Being Earnest."  Isn't it an interesting creature?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Red-banded hairstreak

I'm sure I have posted a shot of this type of butterfly but it's worth repeating.  It is tiny, tiny.  Less than an inch total.  I found it sampling some parsley this evening. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

First flight

One of the Osprey young took the first flight this morning.  Our boathouse is close by and long ago we installed a high perch.  A natural branch is attached so it attracts the Osprey, Kingfisher, Barn Swallows, Grackles, Crows  and many more.
The young Osprey flew to the branch and has been moving about today, even landing back at the nest this afternoon.  Momma brought a fish to the branch this morning and kept a great lookout on passing gulls.

Here is the young Osprey looking very spiffy in his early feathers.  I shot this after lunch, in the hazy hot weather.

I watched the young one swing his head side to side.  I observe this action among Osprey, I do not know what it means.  It seems to be an action of satisfaction, like a dog wagging a tail.

So we named this one 'Sagan' after the young rider on the Tour de France who likes to improvise his celebratory finishes:  young, strong and dancing! 

Friday, June 29, 2012

A HOT day for the Ospreys

Our family of  Osprey were so hot today. A close up shows the open mouth of one the young.  The other young one is shielded by the open wings of the adult and tucked down between the the two birds.
Plenty of fish kept them hydrated, and tomorrow promises to be another hot one. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sago Palm, with cone!

Our single Sago has been in the ground for many years, in a pot for many years prior and gave us the surprise of a cone this year (this is a male plant).  I was hoping to find a nearby Sago with flowers (the female plant), but the nearest Sago is putting out pups and not blooms.
I will be on the look out for a bona fide female Sago for the garden.  The Sago is a very old plant.  I liken it to the Gars in the Sound waters which may be a stretch, the gars are prehistoric.

Here is my male Sago with cone.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A mike boat passes

The sound is home to many boats, but typically the small variety.  This afternoon a Large boat passed by and created plenty of interest with my family guests and myself.   Marked as US Army and with a large flag at stern.
Binoculars and cameras were brought out.  What a site!
Then our local crabbers, Carolina Blue Crabs, came along with Fudge the dog barking madly.  You could hear him giving the big boat what for.
An unusual site, makes you wonder where they were headed.  Happy they got past that sticky part (the sound is very low in places) and on their way.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Flycatcher Fledging

The wind has been awful, a north east wind blowing very strong for days.  What is this weather?, I expected it in March not June.  At least it's not raining, and my osprey babies are big enough to handle it.  The water in the Sound is low.
My young peach tree is loaded with fruit, almost ready, and has attracted another eater.  This one eats at night!  While wrapping the peach tree to protect it from whatever, I heard heard the Flycatchers and spotted a fledgling in Crepe Myrtle.  The wind is blowing a gale and they fledge the nest!

Here is the fuzzy little one:
And nearby an adult swinging on a branch in the hard wind:
They had more to fledge so I left them to it.  That wind was too much for me.