Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Autumn Ice?

Nope!Just the sun on my Porcupine Grass Miscanthus sinensis 'Strictus'.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fabulous Fall

It was 48 degrees in Northern Alabama this morning!!
Did I do that???

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Alabama Birding

The time has come for birding in Alabama!
We joined the North Alabama Birdwatchers Society for our first birding experience!
And what else do you see when you go birding?
Goats!Our trip took us to Guntersville State Park.
It was a rainy day and we didn't have much time to enjoy before the rain came but the scenery was, as usual, beautiful.
(see the Heron?)We saw two Bald Eagles way off in a tree like this, but it was gray and dark and I didn't try to photograph them. Even the drab Eastern Wood-Pewee was more drab than usual.But the Beautyberry and Goldenrod couldn't be more stunning! We ended with a trip over to the old harbor in Guntersville at the foot of the bridge into town.
There were quite a few Terns including, a couple Common Tern, a few Black Terns, Caspian Terns, and Forster's Terns. A lifer for me!We spotted this American Coot. Very common here. The picture is heavily cropped.
See the rain drops!And waaaay out in the distance, our bird of the day!!!
An American Avocet. A very rare find here indeed!
Being a newbie here I never would have known! It was a very good day, and I met some new friends that I hope to spend a lot more time with!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Alabama Surprise

The gardens are still going strong here in the rainy south. As soon as the sun pops out so do the butterflies. I'm seeing Gulf Fritillaries again. This one perched on this beautiful pink Sedum. Now I had a number of plants here that I did not know. This one gave me some grief because it was covered in huge leaves and just kept getting bigger and bigger, in my sunny island, creating shade I didn't think I wanted. However I got an email from the original gardener/homeowner and she wrote...WAIT!...and see how beautiful they are!
Something is happening......oh and don't forget the American Lady... What is this? WOW! Now I can see why they call them Angel Trumpets. They are quite tall, over my head and smell wonderful in the evening.

Yesterday I saw a hummingbird looking up in there. I think that might be a little scary for them but maybe I can get a picture of one looking into that BIG feeder!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What do you feed a Praying Mantis?

Why......a marshmallow of course!!
Would you like a green one? How about a pink one?No pink? I know Daisy...she's crazy! Maybe this nice smelling orange one? Daisy Lu would like it.She would REALLY like it. Now Daisy, you have to share with guests.What do you think? Maybe its a little too big. Morgan will break off a little piece for you. Is that tasty?First try a little lick. Slow down now, you want to savor it! You're on your own kiddo.Going...going... ...gone! You're welcome! A little after dinner Patty Cake......Bakers Man! Would you like to go to a more suitable hangout?There you go. Have a good evening! That was some fun, huh Daisy Lu!!!
Only Morgan would come up with the idea to give a Mantis a marshmallow. She hung out with the mantis for a while and later told me it got a little wild. I told her you would too if you just ate a marshmallow as big as your head!
The following morning our new friend was still out in her new home catching bugs and looking very content.
What fun!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Woods Walk (Final)

I came out of the woods near the top of the steep grade of the driveway. This is probably about 1/3 of the way up toward the house. My driveway is about 1200 feet long so it's quite a hike up this hill when it's hot. This is the view turning back toward the road. That next bluff is probably on the other side of the Tennessee River. So far, it's almost always been a hot humid view but I look forward to seeing it this winter. That little pink spot is a Crape Myrtle bush along my driveway, one bloom still hanging in there.I saw a shadow go by my feet and looked up. I never would have known, if I hadn't seen it, the vultures were above me circling very close. As I was photographing this one, another snuck over me just above the trees.Now at this point I decided to head home. I took some photos around the house and called it a day with the photography. Soon it was time to go down the driveway to meet Morgan as she got off the bus. "Should I bring the camera? No, I'd already carried it with the heavy 400 mm lens, I won't see anything!" BIG MISTAKE! The next series of pictures were taken later after I went back to get the camera. For as I waited for Morgan to come off the bus (I wait half way up the hill usually in the shade) a 2 1/2 foot Rattlesnake came out of the grass and crossed the driveway just as Morgan got off the bus! It went into the ditch but I never saw it come back out! Now I was watching Morgan so I may have missed it but I wanted to make sure I kept a good eye on her too.
Here is my description of the event!!! Clicking on the photo will probably make you laugh.After I got her home, I grabbed the camera and went back to try to get a picture of it, but no luck. It was gone. Where it had disappeared I found this beautiful Garden Spider instead. It was having a hot lunch. Then I spotted a Velvet Ant, which is actually a wingless female wasp. They are beautiful and will sting AND if you disturb them (as Morgan has discovered) they make all kinds of noise.Then I had to add this picture of the Buckeye I took yesterday. Every time I walk down the driveway I see one.

Now I have to say that for all these months that I've walked up and down this driveway, nearly 5 months, I've said to myself, "you'd better stop looking up all the time or your going to step on a Rattlesnake." I think it's time I start listening to that little voice in my head.

My mission, no matter how long it takes, is to get a photo of a Rattler!