Sunday, May 30, 2010

Birding and hiking Shenandoah

When we get the chance, hubby and I like to spend a day driving on the Skyline Drive and hiking on the trails in Shenandoah Nat'l Park.  So, yesterday we left early in the morning and returned after the sunset. The skyline drive is a great place to see the black bear, we lucked out and saw a medium size bear crossing the road in front of us. I love seeing any kind of wildlife and seeing a bear is really exciting to me.





After a 2 1/2 hour drive we were happy to get out of the car and take a hike. Our first hike was on one of my favorite trails called the Limberlost trail. It is an easy 1.3 mile hike consists of  a gravel pathway and some boardwalk. It is lined with beautiful mountain laurels, they were blooming beautifully with white and pink blossoms. The deer practically walked right up to us, which was great for photos. The area was once known for the beautiful Hemlock trees mostly gone now due to an imported insect called the hemlock wooly adelgid. Limberlost trail seems to be an appropiate name for this trail. There are still lots of trees and the mountain laurels and wildflowers are plentiful.


                               I think these are wild pink azaleas



The wildlife is a big attraction for me, not only seeing bears is exciting but the deer, birds and butterflies are wonderful. After the hiking the Limberlost trail we drove down to the Big Meadow area. which has a nice camp store and restaurant for a quick bite before we went on our next hike.


Some of the birds seen, id and pictured in my mosaic are the Cedar Waxwings, Eastern Phoebe, Scarlet Tanger. The deer is one that walked up to us on the Limberlost trail. I am not sure of the Butterflies and the tiny blue moth was beautiful.


After our lunch we decided to do the hike called the Stony Man nature trail, which 1.6 miles and a gradual climb to the second highest peak in the park. This trail leads to a wonderful vista of the Shenandoah Valley. Along the trail we heard many Eastern Towhees, Vireos and was able to catch some glimpses of the beautiful Scarlet Tanager.


If you click on this photo you can see some of the Skyline Drive way in the distance.


Part of the scenic view from the Stony Man Peak

I am combining memes with this post and will be joining Mary's Mosaic Monday and That's My World
Thanks to Mary for hosting the fun meme Mosaic Monday and thanks to the hosting team of That's My World. Also, thank you for stopping by to see my blog and post.

Great Crested Flycatcher

This my entry for Bird Photography weekly  click on my link to see more wonderful bird photography.
The last few days I have been seeing the Great Crested Flycatcher in my yard. A few times it was perched in my weeping cherry tree watching others birds at my feeders. Another time I saw it flying away with a clump of my dog's hair.







Since my Golden Retriever sheds a lot I put more of her hair out on my deck railing and that clump disappeared quickly.

This weeping cherry tree sits across from my deck where I keep some of my bird feeders. The tree is very popular with all my yardbirds.

This is a photo of a Brown Thrasher perched in the same tree on the same day.


Thanks for visiting my blog and to see my birds. Visit Birdfreak's blog for more Bird photography

Friday, May 28, 2010

My backyard birds and their habitat

This is my Nature Notes post and to see more click on my link and visit Michelle's Rambling Woods


Being a birder I like to attract different birds to my yard. I have landscaped the yard to attract birds with trees, bushes, brush piles and water. The blueberry bushes are a big hit with the birds, especially the Mockingbird and the Catbird. The pond is great for the birds to get drinks, take baths and there are lots of frogs and dragonflies. Besides the ponds I have a few birdbaths set up and one heated one for the winter. Different flowering plants attract the hummingbirds and the purple coneflowers are favorites of the Goldfinches. The butterfly bushes are wonderful attracting different species of butterflies and the hummingbirds and moths. The trees and bushes are great for the birds to nest and hide in from predators. Just last night I watched a Great Crested Flycatcher fly off with a clump of my Goldie Girls hair, I think it was taking it to a nest in the woods next to my house.


The rhododendron bushes are great places for the birds to hide and build their nest.


We use to have goldfish and have seen Hawks fly away with some of our fish.



The catbird  likes the pond


The catbird should be happy with these blueberries when they are ripe


I also planted Blackberry bushes, Holly bushes, Winterberry and we have some wild berry bushes growing.



This Wigelia is a favorite of the Ruby Throated Hummingbird


My weeping cherry tree seems to be a perfect spot for the birds to land and rest






Provide housing for the birds to nest

Offering seed and food
The cardinals make nice adopted parents


Plenty of trees for nesting and pinecones for seeds in the winter

                               Bird houses and butterfly bushes



This is my backyard habitat for the birds and other wildlife that visit my yard. Thanks for stopping by my blog

To see more critters and animals visit The Friday Ark and Camera Critters

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bluejay



Click here to see more of Wordless Wednesday.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Bird bath

We had a rainy weekend and there were puddles everywhere. The birds didn't seem to mind the rain in fact they seem to love the puddles. My neighbors driveway had some good size puddles that the birds used for their bathing.

One time I looked out the Robin was enjoying its bath time in the puddle.




The next time I looked out my bluebird couple were out bathing in the same puddle.


This is Mrs Blue trying to dry out

                                 The catbird preferred to use our pond as a bath.


One of the waterlilies in our pond

My Goldie Girl prefers to swim in the nearby lake.




This is my Watery Wednesday post and to see more click on my link. Thanks for stopping by to see my post and thanks to 2sweetnsaxy for hosting Watery Wednesday

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A few of my favorite things

This weeks Mosaic Monday and Blue Monday are mosaics made of a few of my favorite things. My favorite colors blue and purple, the bluebird, clematis and some of my irises.


To see more wonderful mosaics Mary's Mosaic Monday
and to see more of my favorite color blue click here Sally's Blue Monday










Thanks for stopping by my to see my Monday post and mosaics and thanks to Mary of Mosaic Monday and Sally of Blue Monday for hosting these fun memes.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Clapper Rail

The Clapper Rail are my entry for this weeks Camera Critters  click on my link to see more critters.
My skywatch post now follows my Clapper Rail.

One of the most exciting birds and the best bird I saw last weekend in Delaware was the Clapper Rail. My birding friends and I were headed to the shore when we heard these Clapper Rails. I have always wanted to see a Rail and up till now I was only able to hear them.

They are not the best photos but, they show the Clapper Rail's size, bill, the habitat where they find their food and water.








They are very shy birds and like to hide in tall grasses. I read online that the populations are down in the USA due to the destruction and loss of coastal marshland. The Clapper Rail is a chicken size bird that rarely flies, it is graysih brown with a chestnut breast.





They eat crustaceans, insects and small fish. They search for food while walking, sticking the bill into the water or mud. It was a cool experience for me to see this bird out in the open.


This is my post for Friday Ark and to see more animals on the Ark just click on my link.

Also my entry for Michelle's Nature Notes  click and visit to see more nature post.
 Thanks for stopping by my blog, I appreciate your visit.

Egret Tree

For this weeks Skywatch Friday I am posting my Egret tree I saw at Bombay Hook NWR last weekend. They are a  wonderful sight for me to see.  Sometimes they are perched on bear trees or branches and the Egrets and the sky really stand out.

   You can click on the photos for a larger image.


If you can see yellow feet, they are Snowy Egrets.



Do you like butter? This is a field of buttercups.
 I think the yellow buttercups along with the pretty clouds and sky look beautiful.



Just another bird I saw at Bombay Hook NWR, the Blue Grosbeak.

To see more wonderful skies click here Skywatch Friday!

Thanks to the hosting team of Skywatch Friday and thanks for stopping by to see my skies.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shorebirds

This past weekend I went to Delaware with a few friends from my bird club. We stopped at a few places along the Delaware shore to see the migrating birds.

The American Avocets at Bombay Hook NWR were beautiful along with hundreds of Dunlins and Dowitchers.

                 The Dunlins have black circles on their bellies.



The Avocets have black and white wings and their bills are slightly upturned. The breeding adult has an orange head and neck.








The Laughing Gulls were one of the most common birds we saw along the shore.



The Glossy Ibis


Check out Watery Wednesday and Outdoor Wednesday for more wonderful post and photos.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and thanks to 2sweetnsaxy and Susan for their fun memes.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bluebirds



  Bluebirds are one of my favorite yardbirds. This couple seems to be on their second nest and has found another house in my yard to use for their home. The male is such a pretty blue and seems to take great care of the female.











This is my mosaic for Mary's Mosaic Monday  Thank you Mary for hosting this fun meme.

And my post for  Blue Monday
Thank you Smiling Sally for hosting Blue Monday.

And thanks or stopping by to see my post and mosaic.