Sunday, December 1, 2019

Down but Not OUT!

Still trying to pick up the pieces of our recent loss...and the weather waxes and wanes from good to bad every other day...yesterday was good! My sis and her husband returned home this week, I sure miss her and hope she has a great winter... lucky me I have 2 sisters and one has remained for a while I'm so glad to report.  We are taking care of the last affairs and going through some of Mom's personal things...its hard but it has to be done.

Y'all know we are into the cemetery photography and so we decided the best way to resume normal for us is to go tromp around a graveyard and with Jimmy beside us, we did just that.

We had a list of about 50 names to find and photograph the headstone of, and we did find most of them.  This cemetery is named Bethany Tiller Cemetery.  It is a rural cemetery and has some burials as far back as 1860.  Some of the ones buried here have birthdays of 1794, so many generations  planted here.  This cemetery is only a mile down the road from Mr. McSween's grave,  the Scottish Civil War Solider that I have blogged about before.  

I did see lots of Pine Warbler in the trees...but I got no decent photos of birds on this day...After a lunch eaten in the car, out of the chilly wind,  we headed to one of our favorite places not too far away...

a cropped shot of the Pine Warbler

HE'S BACK!!  You just don't know how much good it did me to see that the Beaver has rebuilt his dam and his pond has returned to it's previous glory!  I wish there was some way I could have this legally protected...They had him down but he is not OUT, not yet anyways...

Sorry for all those sun spots.  We hoped to see the Eagles hanging around preparing for January's upcoming nest season...I guess it's a bit early yet, but you can bet I will be going over to check.  Beaver are actually hunted YEAR round on private property, and there is actually a trapping season from Dec 1- Mar 1 and mostly they are treated as and considered  a nuisance animal!! Can you believe that?????????


The little fellow did a fine job of repairing the man made damage that was done to his can see it actually reaches across a wide place in this shot, from the foreground to the edge of the pond where you see the reflections...I hope one day to actually see HIM if I can be there at the right time. 

Just look at the master piece he created! This lovely pond for turtles, frogs, birds and other wild life, like the Bald Eagles who nest here last season. Without the beaver, will the Eagle come here?  Doubtful. 

His dam is so perfect, it allows just enough water to flow out so as NOT to flood the entire area...

Happy Turtles...

Large flocks of Common Grackle passed over as we were there and some rested a bit...

Some swamp and song sparrow were also around...hiding in the brambles...on the drive back we caught up with a huge mixed flock of Grackle and Blackbirds..My horrid video skills meant I needed to edit it before sharing so here goes...

I can't figure out how to work the volume on vimeo...;0/

Then we spotted this Immature Cooper's Hawk? didn't see his tail but the size and coloration point to that conclusion... The eyes's are a little Coopers have red eyes, and immature have yellow.  We couldn't get around to see the shape and coloration of the tail without scaring him off..

So this was a good day.


My Mom Tribute for this post is a candid shot I adore of her...we were on one of our many picnics and she was enjoying her July 4th watermelon...this photo was taken in 2011 at Sandhills NWR. 

Never Forgotten. 

Hope all of you had a nice Holiday...ours was simple and bittersweet.

Every day is a new Adventure.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

A soggy Day in November

This is a post I began prior to my Mom going into hospital, I never really finished it but I'm going to use it for this weeks post until I get myself back up to snuff
Nov 8th, 2019
I normally start writing a post on Monday and it's done for posting on Sunday...I've been covered up with projects and I have done very little birding this entire week in fact I turned in one list to ebird in 7 days.  Last weekend it rained on Sunday but my sis and I went out birding anyways! We did mostly car birding.

Next to some cotton fields we had lots of Palm Warblers!  We had some Song Sparrow at this location as well.  

Then we moved about 1 mile down the road to a sod farm my sis ran in and got permission for us to cruze was raining pretty hard....we had about 7 horned larks on the ground...

Not a bird I see very often and a horrible photo thru car glass with drizzle.

Lots of Crow both Fish and American were about..

We had a couple Hawks hunting from atop the irrigation is the Red Shouldered we spotted against a really dull sky....

Two large flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds moved away in the distance...

And we had a couple White Ibis out there in the fog also.  This sod farm is just barely out of our county.  We sighted other birds like American Kestrel, Turkey Vulture, and at least one Northern Harrier was there early on, but left after he saw us. This is a spot I want to return to on a sunny day. 


...and my post just ended there....we had an enjoyable outing but by the next day mom was quite ill...

My Mom Memory for this post is a day trip we made to Swan Lake And Gardens in  

May of 2009, Swan Lake is in Sumter County southeast of us.  Mom was only having to use a cane at that time, 10 yrs ago!  This friendly Canada Goose decided to be Mom's pet for a while as we strolled around checking out the flowers, Swans, and other bird life of the garden... 

..what a great memory. 

Every day is a new Adventure.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Resume normal...

This was a really hard week for us, and now the "work" of wrapping up someone's life is either done or a lot of progress has been made.  Mom had a wonderful send off but the weather was not very good...cold and rain battled us.  She was so beautiful in life and in death.  I know death is not something any of us want to talk about but I do encourage you all to have a conversation about it!  

We were so happy when we got word her oldest brother and sister would be attending, they made a heroic drive down with their families so we had 10 family members at her entombment.  One miracle was in searching for some photos we wanted to share at her visitation my sister found a sealed envelope with my Aunt Jeans name on it, mom's sister.  She had written her a special thought and never for some reason given it to her so that was given..and what a sweet message it was.  A treasure forever.  

Mom made a lot of decisions herself, she had purchased her mausoleum space long back and so we had some decisions to make but not a whole lot...also she had enough life insurance to cover her final expenses but not excess amounts, so keep in mind your passing is not about leaving people wealth, its about your funeral and the debts you may be leaving behind.  

I am ok so far but each day leaves that empty feeling of "I really miss Mom", I can't have any more conversations with her, all the remaining wisdom of her lifetime she took with her, now we are completely on our own...she had always been there for each one of us...I don't know how a single child deals with this without my sisters I would have had a complete meltdown.

I hope to resume my normal routine soon, I do believe normal is soon. Today it's raining again so I made time to catch up on your posts and found all has been good in each of your lives.   I haven't taken any photos in 2 weeks or more because I was working on a project for mom when she started to have for an entire week or more I was busy doing that, unfortunately she only got to use it 3 times...but more on that later.  So I am sharing some old photos of some of my favorite flowers and stems. Saw the first Junco in the yard this fall from the water dripped window, my sis and I had planned to visit the sparrow fields today but that won't happen.  Maybe tomorrow?  

As a tribute to Mom for the remainder of the year I will post of photo of her and explain what we were up to.  Many of you were along with us in real time as had our little today it's

July 30, 1998, Yellowstone National Park.  We were into our Great Adventure Road Trip -- you can find the tab on my home page to the journal entry of the entire trip.  Mom was always a little nervous about being close to natural wonders sometimes she saw them as a natural, note the apprehensive look on her face.  She was 74 yrs old in this photo and I think I see one grey hair my hair is solid grey now at 66 she didn't grey till she was in her 90's! 

Every day is a new Adventure.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Mom (1924 - 2019)

The post I never wanted to have to write

Sadly today I'm heartbroken, as is my entire family, we lost Mom yesterday at 1:55 pm she was after 95 years at the end of her time on this Earth and there was nothing to be done except what she did so gracefully and that was to pass into whatever life comes after this one.  She was kind and gentle and she loved the outdoors and the Earth's creatures and her family.   We will miss her and mourn her till the day we join her.  I wanted just one more....of everything we shared...

She passed peacefully with us by her side.  Our family has gone from 6 to 4 in just 2 years, so we are due some days of Peace and Serenity.
I am not a religious person as you have guessed...I do believe in the life spirit I have seen it as we all have and I can only hold onto hope that Mom's in now with her mother who she has been embraced with in spirit for a couple of years now.  I dream she is sitting on the old home place porch with her Mom Dee, and her Grandma Dovie,  or her cousin Hestle down by the spring she loved so much from her childhood.  

Life will never be as it was for me...

Thank you's to those of you who wished her well in my last post I did tell her of your wishes and she held a little smile for a moment at that news. I will put up a link to her online Obituary once it's released I welcome all of you to join us in wishing her happy trails on that unknown journey to eternity.

Every day is a new Adventure.

Sunday, November 10, 2019


I will be Missing in Action as my Mom is not doing well and is in the hospital so until then I don't know if I will have time to come to blogger, I will be back when I am able...until then send your warm thoughts her way...

We Love You MOM!!

Every day is a new Adventure.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Fall colorful...

I've been immersed in Projects all of October! I'm so happy I took that day trip to go and find the Hudsonian Godwit a couple weeks ago..and I'd like to go back there as ducks arrive! I have made some Vlogs on my Youtube Channel (link on the right sidebar)  of my projects, both of the recent ones were pretty big projects...and I'm happy to have that hard work behind me.  I hope soon to be able to get back to making some of the Nature Vlogs I enjoy doing.  

Well it seems October NEARLY skunked me in the 5 mile radius.  I had  hopes when a person who had not birded this hotspot all year long reported a bird that I had not seen there this year.  He provided no photo of his early rare sighting (Louisiana Waterthrush) so I dunno it was not confirmed I did not refind that bird, if it was ever really there! Danggit.

BUT just today, the 30th, I was sitting in a chair at Mom's I saw movement on a tree via the window, a bird 'creeping' up the side...jumped up grabbed my sis's bins, and yes it was a Brown Creeper! A new yard bird for us and one for the Radius! #(124) I really didn't want to have a Zero month! No Photo as I was sitting with mom, and I don't normally take my camera on those days.  If you have never seen a Brown Creeper...then check this link to a photo

 ... the fall color is nice around the lake...

 sweet day

Cyprus trees loose their needles each winter but first they turn this awesome rusty orange color

focus focus focus

some early morning fog hangs around

Pied Billed Grebe swims in a puddle of color...

The side challenge for the month of October in our 5Mile Radius was "how many sparrows can you find" so I ended up with 3.  The Song Sparrow, the Chipping Sparrow, and the Eastern Towhee.  


On Halloween Night we had a terrific thunderstorm pushed in by a cold front.  It drove the nastiest gulf air possible into our area for 2 days prior to hitting us...humidity was 99% if you even had a thought in your mind you would sweat so the AC was back on high! That morning on my way to do my last day of birding for October, a black cat with 2 white feet ran across my path! OH MY--you know I'm superstitious...what a day to have that happen.  Later the storm hit with a fury unlike any October storm I recall.  The wind swirled, trees swayed, rain pelted, the sky lit up with forks of lightening tossed hither and tither...then the power went out!  No spooky movies for us on this night so.....

Every day is a new Adventure.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Pileated Woodpecker

Finally I saw a couple of Song Sparrows show up in the clear my fall buddies are back...not all but most also saw some Yellow Rump Warblers..

But I've seen nothing new so far in my radius for October.  I have about 5 days to go and right now I've got lots of chores I need to complete and am not getting out there everyday like i'd prefer.

So today my blog is going to highlight one species!  The Pileated Woodpecker.  It is the largest woodpecker species in North America it is the size of an average crow.  It is loud and raucous when it flies over and it sounds like a Jungle Bird straight out of an old Tarzan TV show!

As you can see this bird is striking with the big read tuft on the head...and it is the closest cousin to the believed now extinct Ivory Billed Woodpecker. 

This particular day I was birding my hotspot, Goodale Lake, and this bird was very close to the path,,,and when he saw me he froze...normally they don't pay me much mind, but this one decided to not move so as to be stealthy...But the blinking of the eye he couldn't stop..

When they are drumming on a tree it echoes and reverberates all over the forest...and can be heard for quite a distance. 

One fact I recall learning about woodpeckers is this the various length of the beak determines the bugs they eat in the trees..some bugs only go so deep and others go way down inside the tree...these guys will push their beak pretty far so they dig out the deepest of wood borers and other tree dwelling insects. This way there is enough food for ever beak size! And I've seen them push under the bark and get insects hiding on the trunk exposed! 

Hope you have a great week.. 

Every day is a new Adventure.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

3rd day is a charm...

I know you're wondering what the heck Im talking about it was Friday morning I got up and that was the 3rd day of a rare bird being reported in the exact same spot...I had slept in and having coffee when I read it on the ebird rare sightings for SC.  Only 2hrs and 15 mins drive..hmmmm by the time I arrived it was 1 PM! BUT sunny breezy the prefect day to go on a Twitch.  

In the Eastern corner of Charleston County is where the Santee River empties into the Atlantic Ocean...there's several places here I've been hoping to go check out but just never have gotten around to doing so this summer was SO HOT.  As  you can see it is chock full of mature old growth trees, since it was once part of 2 plantations! Eldorado, and Ormond Hall.  The Nature Conservancy acquired the land in 1974, its 24,000 acres of Coastal plain, flood plain, and contains Carolina Bays, odd small depressions filled with water!

I arrived so late in the day I only explored one area and not very thoroughly either! There's a boardwalk I really wanted to explore, but I was dead tired when I finished walking around about 5 pm sat down to eat my sandwich and began my drive home...if the weather was not going to turn sour I would have stayed over they have a Fabulous campground FREE!

each site is huge and nestled under the moss covered live oaks! All primitive so you're on your own if you stay here..beware of generators in hot weather.  MY Interest was in the 3 large impounds East of the visitors center and museum.  

Right away there was heron to greet me Little, Tri Color,  and Great Blue...all busy hunting for a meal some having success.  

And there's reptiles...
check out those golden eyes...

The Golden Rod and other plants still in full bloom was a treat 

Monarch butterfly

Double Crested Coromorant

Pied Billed Grebe 

The Big Well Trail was where the rare bird had been showing up so I took the trail.  It circles around the 3 impoundments.  

Parking is close to the trail so I drove over and parked by the boat launch area..right away small birds were darting in and out of the sedge and rushes.

If you're familiar with the Sharp Tailed Sparrow "Nelson's" you will recognize this guy...he didn't come out fully in the open I got 3 shots and each one filled in a piece of the puzzle.  It's been so long since I am seeing sparrows that it's like starting over!  We also had the Swamp, and Field come out for photo opts.

One of my fellow birders felt this could be a clay colored sparrow but no black outlines of the check patch so I called it Field Sparrow but then ebird reviewer saw it and said it's an Immature White Crowned...a state bird for me so yeah! 

                                                                     Gr Yellow Legs

We had Gr and Lesser Yellow Legs, Dunlins, Stilt Sandpiper, Least and Western Sandpiper, Short Billed Dowitchers,

Maybe some long thrown in too...couldn't tell you the difference!

Egrets, Night Herons, Semi-P Plovers,

Black Bellied Plovers,

Had Prairie and Palm Warblers peeking in and out of the tall flora along the trail edges...

Prairie Warbler 

Palm Warbler 

Wilson's Snipe

Fly Over Wood Storks 

I hoped for a Sedge Wren...couldn't nail one down but found my favorite the Marsh Wren 

And although we found our target right away I saved it for last wish my photos could have been better but he stayed just out of good range,

Hudsonian Godwit!  
That link takes you to the range map so you can see how far out of his normal range he was!

I had the place to my self for a while but then these other nice people joined in the search, everyone went home happy! 

The 2 people with their back to us in this photo run an Adventure Guide Service.  They will soon be taking a group to Costa Rica.  That's Paul on the left and his lovely wife Amanda on the right.  We spent a couple hours birding together and what a pleasant meeting it was.  If you want to check them out look for them here..

Epic Nature Tours 

... these young people give me HOPE.


Every day is a new Adventure.