My son was first to see the flock of Robins, alerting me with an excitement I hadn’t heard in a great long time. That was a blessing in itself.
“Mom! You gotta come see!” he exclaimed. “Just for a minute,” he added.
I knew I had to go see what he saw. I made it to the door in time to see the flock of American Robins gracefully landing on the moist and cold grassy lawn. The slight sound of their wings in flight, I can still recall. I like that.
I am grateful to be alive in these moments. Life is not easy, at least not for me, so when nature shows her awe, I do take notice. I catch a trillionth second wind moving me to carry on.
The red-breasted beauties hopped, stopped, and hopped again. My neighbor said they they hear worms, so they stop briefly to listen for them. I don’t doubt this, because bird brains are pretty darn smart! I do however wonder if wintertime lawns have worms to offer.
A fully grown man, my son, stood with me watching the birds, both of us glad to be there, together, without words and absolutely taken by the moment.
(Originally posted on Flickr. Edited on January 28th, 2014).
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A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. ~Chinese Proverb
I watched, as our recent winged visitor, a fat and sassy Robin, walked along the porch railing by the Holly tree. Big white fluffy snowflakes were falling. Everything was quiet, except for the beautiful bird songs, both of which I love.
The Robin didn’t seem to mind the snow. I wasn’t surprised. He (or she) has guarded the Holly tree and it’s cherished bright red berries since arriving a few weeks earlier.
Note: I’m not experienced in identifying birds. I made my best guess that the Robin pictured above is a male that has come to breed.
“Male robins arrive about the time that the average daily temperature is 37 degrees. (This fits the pattern of when the Robin arrived. The bird also perches in a coniferous tree, with a clear view of the Holly berries). “During cold or very wet weather, the males grow more silent and concentrate on feeding and taking shelter in thick conifer branches.”
Source: Journey North, American Robin (learner.org)
The above listed site is full of interesting facts and information about the American Robin. You can take part in, “Winter Sightings,” and learn their five vocalizations. (Listen to the Robin’s song: http://www.learner.org/jnorth/sounds/RobinSong_LangElliott.mp3).
The Robin has certainly made his presence known to all. I am quite sure he has claimed, at least temporarily, complete rights to the Holly tree and its bountiful fruit.
Several species of birds have made it to my porch rail by the Holly tree, but not for long. The few that ventured into the branches, trying to get a mere berry or two, well…
Without delay, the Robin lashed forth, thrusting his body at theirs. The birds took flight in haste!
One day, the Red-bellied Woodpecker that’s usually seen in the backyard, visited the Holly tree. Something was up that day, because all of a sudden, several birds came at once to the tree.
The Robin watched this spectacle, waited for about a minute and swoosh! He went first for the Woodpecker. Amazingly to me, that big Woodpecker flew away after one jolt from the healthy Robin.
The other birds followed the Woodpecker, returning to their backyard haven, safe from the large-breasted Winter resident.
The recent soft snow brought with it a few birds I haven’t seen this year.
One of the new birds (below) came to the Holly tree and it did meet the resident Robin on the porch rail. I don’t think it flew into the tree, but I was able to get a few photos before it left.
I haven’t yet identified the pretty little bird (above). Do you know the name of this winged visitor?
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- Varied Thrush (charleymckelvy.wordpress.com)
After visiting our dog’s resting place, which we only did for a few minutes because we want to think most about his life and all the joy he brought to us, we were taken by the warm sunlight shining on this old building as we rounded the curve on our way home.
Thank you again, Tiny. You continue to show us the good parts of life!
Via Flickr:They say you see a church on every corner in the mountain towns of North Carolina. I can tell you, it is true. Cross on the hill photographed at a campground (serving as a homeless shelter for men during Winter) in Waynesville, North Carolina, a town of which is surrounded by some of Nature’s most beautiful places in the world in our Beloved Blueridge Mountains.
Several days of hard rains caused me to wonder about “Baby Turtle” (BT), along with the more senior resident at one of the water gardens, “Frog”. I’ve observed these two critters many times, but only on warm and almost always, sunny days.
The heavy downpours had slowed to a light mist. My son and I headed out to visit the gardens. Sure enough, I saw Baby Turtle right away. Frog, however, was MIA.
(Below: Click to see the larger image for the best view of Frog and BT’s habitat).
Shortly after the staff at the Botanical Gardens discovered Baby Turtle, they placed a nice flat rock in the middle of the pond. Baby Turtle likes the rock, but more often than not, it sits near Frog ‘who’ spends most of the time, at least on sunny days, sitting in the mud or shallow water beside the Bald Cypress. I imagine the tree is why they like that particular water garden better than the others.
I don’t know much about turtles or frogs and haven’t spent much time around them until this summer. Alas. I’m in-love, again!
Frog doesn’t mind being in pictures, but BT is much more concerned by my presence than is Frog. He likes for me to stay at least five feet away, but sometimes my wish for a closer look gets the better of me. If I’m not careful, BT will take off, chase Frog along the way and they both end up leaving the scene.
I hear Baby Turtle will grow into a very large critter. I wonder if ‘he’ will always live in those water gardens. I hope he does, and Frog too.
Above image: The Real Deal
Another surprise during our visit to the water garden was a creative and fun colored set of sculptures depicting water-wildlife. My favorite just happened to be the turtle.
Below images: Artsy Turtle
We enjoyed our short visit to the gardens.
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Well, I’m back sooner than expected to share more Sunflower photos. I really can’t help myself. If I wasn’t tired, which I am, I’d give fun names to the ones I saw today! I guess some folks might think if you’ve seen one Sunflower, then you’ve seen them all, but today only strengthened my personal observation that each one is unique.
Note: Click on images to see the original size.
My friend and I had gone to the gardens to have lunch under the naturally vine-crafted Gazebo by the herb garden. I thought it would be cool spot to sit, but I used all except one napkin for wiping the out-pour of sweat on my body, and I had on a summer dress!
I may be a mountain woman in my heart, but I’m not sure. We lived in the mountains when I was a toddler, but soon moved to the Piedmont area of North Carolina, which is where I’ve spent most of my life. We’ve always had rather hot and humid summers in NC, but they’re hotter now than they were twenty (or so) years ago. I later moved to the mountains with my teenage son. After living there for several years, I learned that I like temperatures around 72 degrees. We had to move back to the Piedmont area for medical reasons, but I’ve never forgotten those beautiful blue hills. I’ve regressed. Back to Sunflowers…
My friend, Camila, who is also a volunteer in Horticulture Therapy at the Botanical gardens, was watering the Sunflowers when my friend and I arrived for our lunch outing.
Camila likes the heat. I salute her for enduring it because she is now solely responsible for tending the Horticulture Therapy gardens, which includes the Sunflowers. Yay for Plant People, especially ones who volunteer their time.
As much as I love the ‘Drop Dead Red’ variety of sunflowers, an amazingly large yellow one in the back of the garden overlooking the hill and the woods where the nature trails are was most worthy of our attention.
Camila had earlier tied the plant’s thick stem to a bamboo pole. “That one is so big it was falling down,” she said with a loving little laugh. We’re a lot alike in our love for the Sunflowers, as for all plants.
Is that a hummingbird hovering above?
I think perhaps the big bloom (above) is prepared for a special event. I mean who knows what goes on in that garden when the humans are sleeping and the Moon is shining. For all I know they have parties and beauty contests! I especially like the blown petals with fashionably curled tips on the big one with a very heavy head (above), but I must say, they were all beautiful!
Below is the tallest flower in the garden, not yet blooming, and Camila, a special one of the Plant People.
The Horticulture Therapy group is harvesting Watermelons today, so I gotta go!
Thanks for viewing my Sunflower and Plant People images!