Tuesday, November 21, 2017

3 Stop Challenge

I'm getting ready for a simpleThanksgiving by cutting some of my herbs, drying it, then chopping it up in a coffee bean grinder....nothing is better than fresh herbs. This is sage..I'll be putting that in my cornbread dressing...it's called dressing when it's served on the side, not stuffing. So I learned on a cooking show I watched. It's going to be a small affair this year my family is in Colorado! BUT my son will be here with me. :o)
ebird has a monthly challenge each month...you can win stuff normally it's a Zeiss Scope which I would LOVE to win --this month enter 3 checklists all from one day and you are in the drawing to win a Cornell Labs Ducks ID workshop...so I checked out all the birds at my place first, got 16 species, in the  yard, woods, and the field.  Here is some of what was around.

This bird was here a few days back he is not on my checklist for this challenge...but I wanted to add him to this post so here he is...the

 Hermit Thrush.  

    hermit thrush

Also not on this checklist was this:  I've been hearing a Screech Owl...I love the way they make those little soft trills...not the whiney but the little trill... to me I visualize little circles going up into the twilight as they trill away...One wintered in a tree cavity around here a couple years ago and when I sat outside at dusk I could hear him/her.  So I've been doing Cavity Searches!! 

                                                     UGH no owl here ....

Or here either!! GRRRRR these fuzz balls are taking over all the cavities in the yard!  So I'll have to keep looking...other birds in the yard were busy making a living...like these House Finches who are seed eating in the Yellow Popular trees on the back boundary of my place..

                                                           male and female house finch

Still having major problems with the zoom on my camera so trying to deal with it, was hoping for some big Black Friday Deal but so far, nope.  

But things are looking up as I continue to be able to keep using my old camera, it's just not as awesome as it was when it was new!  Speaking of looking up and new...my wintering Pine Warbler is here to hang out right in the same area where he is every single fall/winter, in the exact same trees.  He is outstanding! Welcome home my friend.

                                                        pine warbler

It's nice to be outstanding in your field...that's what I was doing, out standing in my field, when I saw this little guy flitting around up there...and then this next shot I  thought I'd missed the bird, but he is there do you see him?

                                                 chipping sparrow 

We had a cold snap so the Eastern Bluebirds come to roost back in the bird houses where they nested in summer...caught this one out catching some sun rays...these bluebirds live in family groups so there was males, females, and some first winter young. 

And this shot shows some of the problem with the camera not wanting to focus sharp when I zoom in...this Ruby Crowned Kinglet was bothered by me enough to show his top red patch to me...I kept this shot cause I kind of like this soft focus up in the yellow leaves...

I felt I had seen all I was going to see in the yard so I left to look for a horned grebe that had been reported at the Wateree Dam.  I didn't find the grebe it would have been a good  one for my county, but not a lifer.

Along the way I pulled off the road when I spotted this Logger Headed Shrike hanging out in a young pine tree tract...this one didn't count toward the challenge cause the deal is you start a new checklist when you get out of your car...like you stop bird, get in the car get out bird, etc...so this one I took from the car it was just sitting there!

I was on my way to the Dam, but I decided to stop and photograph a cemetery!  A small one but it needed to be done, It was on the way so I stopped...and low and behold the area behind the cemetery was birdy so I found..

More Ruby Crowned Kinglet, 

A few Carolina Wrens, an Eastern Towhee, a Northern Cardinal, a White Throated Sparrow, Blue Jays and before you know it I had 6 species for my second checklist!

Once I finished up the cemetery it was past 2 pm so I continued on to the Lugoff River Access just below the dam of the Wateree River.   Here is the dam and the Duke Energy Power Station attached.  

And I got 19 species there!  Which was fun.  Nothing new and like I said no grebe but I did enjoy poking around.  

The Wateree River:

Lots of Great Blue Heron's fishing and this one swallowed like an 8 inch sunfish! See the huge bump in his upper neck area...he just flipped it up and down it went...

This Great Egret found a honey hole and he stood there just gorging on minnows...one right after the other like eating Nacho Chips!

Watched this Osprey catch a fish and then go up on this iron tower to eat it...

Duke Energy has declared war against this bird...

                                                                  The Black Vulture...

I saw these horrible things...and I just don't see how they honestly think this will help?? It's just plain stupid!! 
Embrace the bird, encourage more birds of prey to the sight or just leave it be!

 That's the effigy...a dead Black Vulture hung up to rot in the sun...The USDA...in the bird eradicating business?  

This made me sad and mad I'm in a constant state of FLUX'd these days...

I try to stop yelling and move forward...

to the good stuff I found...I was happy to see all these GB Herons against the fall colors..

And other birds I was able to photo the Northern Cardinal 

And the River Cane was hiding great numbers of White Throated Sparrows just arrived for the Winter here in the SC Midlands scratching around in the leaves. I caught this one just barely.  Center just below that white leaf.

And a cute little Tufted Titmouse all fluffed up to the oncoming evening, as it now neared 4:30 and it gets dark at 5 so away I went...

That's it for now Hope you all have a great visit with your family...if you celebrate the holiday. We will not be having a bird on our table but we will walk away from it stuffed!! 

LoL, it's not working...in fact they seem to be sitting there enjoying the antics of this inflatable as it twists and turns in the air. A place to roost with entertainment too!

Every day is a new Adventure.

Monday, November 6, 2017

A Fun Weekend!

I had a wonderful weekend...boy it went so fast even though we got that extra hour compliments of yet another time change.   Saturday we had superb shorts and shirt sleeve weather as we headed to nearby Hartsville. 

Our weekend began on Friday night home baked pizza when sis arrived.  We totally solved all the world's problems if only we could get everyone to listen to us... lots of chatting, laughing, eating, followed by some quiet couch potato chillin' till bedtime.  It was a cool night, good sleeping weather, had me snuggled in till 8am when the dogs got me up as they always do!
We headed out around lunch time...our fist stop of the day was at McLeod's Farms about a 15 or so mile drive...for a cool treat, and to check out the seasonal trims and the foods they had out for purchase! We test drove the rockers on the porch  and watched travelers come and go.

                Ornamental gourds, raw p-nuts and sugar cane on this table 

This is a small local market conveniently located on hwy 151 that takes travelers to the coast and mostly Myrtle Beach.   This is a huge family farm operation with peach orchards, pecan orchards, they grow strawberries, blueberries, corn, and other produce.  They have a hay ride to the corn maze or to pick your own "punkin" which peaked last week before Halloween.  We were told a lady got lost in the corn maze so we passed on doing that. (they found her)

      Every color of pumpkin

        all are locally grown or milled...pecans, grits, 

and rice, honey, jams, jellies, chutney, all sorts of farm grown good stuff. 

Some cute locally made birdhouses too...

Let's rock!  No--> literally we did..lol 

Some nice Gulf Fritillary butterflies were around to entertain us while we rocked...

                     They love this flowering shrub, Lantana.

Once we'd had enough rocking to we hit their privately collected museum.  A really awesome FREE look back in time...from the divinely restored to the rusted and cool. We enjoyed this so much I hadn't been in here in a while so it felt all new like seeing it for the very first time! I continue to be amazed that stuff I have used is now in museums...YIKES! 

 Our movie theater had a phone booth like this one we used to play in it, now it's in a museum and I recall weighting myself on a scale like the one on the left in this photo.  

          My grammy used to make shift dresses for us out of cloth that started out as feed bags like these!

One of the Peach Orchards next to the store is in fine color.

                                      sis clowning around 

Afterwards we headed to downtown Hartsville and Kalmia Gardens, a Botanical Garden part of Coker College.  

            A 35 acre Garden and black water swampland. 

We had a really fine walk on a series of boardwalks, spying turtles at the pond, and great reflections at the Black Creek overlook. 

                                  a river cooter

                                                           the Black Creek

                                             The Lilly Pad and Turtle Pond

           The gardens had lots of variety of Camellia in bloom which we enjoyed very much!

                                                            some bold colors in the forest

                                                                 This could be pomegranate 

This land and the antebellum house built in 1820 belonged to Thomas Hart, who donated this place to Coker College, for whom the town is named, Hartsville, love these big live oak trees in the back...

And more rockers on the front..

                 the center of town, taken in 2016 when Mom and I did a Town Trip

Tired after all the walking we had an early dinner in town, got home in time to feed my dogs only a bit later than they normally get to eat...had a little rest followed by a couple of Margarita's I mixed up in my home bar and once the sun set we headed out to the fire pit.  A perfect balmy night just right for a little warmth while we watched the full moon come up behind the trees...it was such a great end to a great day!

Just wish all my family had been able to join us...

Every day is a new Adventure.