Sunday, February 23, 2020

7 Ordinary days

Friday: 02.14.2020
I propped two very sweet valentine's cards that arrived in the mailbox up on the fireplace mantle...and I dug through the many cards I had saved from Mom thru the years, and I put one on the Fridge...because it reminds me of how much she loved me.  Do you keep cards given to you, and do you hope the ones you send are kept and cherished by someone you love? 

Saturday: 02.15.2020
I went back to the County Park, and found 2 Winter Wrens this time.  They both chattered back exactly to the playback from my phone...Since I didn't get a sweet look  before they disappeared into a thicket, I wanted to be sure it was Winter Wrens again...and it def was.  I got an exciting shot of the rosy blush of the Red Bellied Woodpecker against a wonderful rare blue sky.

The Water is receding but still quite high as the sign below can testify.  The new shoreline has no path along the edges so I hope the bank walk  will return. 


Amazing what you find, some sort of fish?  Catfish? Ancient Alien?

I hung out there a couple hours, then I drove to another park. I love fields where fence posts follow the road, some great birding can happen along those barbed wire perches! Today I found not one, but two Loggerhead Shrikes...the other was in a tree...a mating pair?

At the Lake Wateree State Park, there was also flooding, note the hiking trail...

You could bushwhack and get around it for the most part... This Great Blue Heron was finding his lunch there just off the trail on he may have been on the trail, I couldn't tell. 

No picnic today! This is the table we sat at on our last trip here. 

Sunday 02.16.2020:
I took part in the Big Backyard Bird Count.  It's a 15 minute quick look...So on Friday at 4 pm I had 19 species, on Saturday I had only 9 species at 8 am...then today it's raining again, so I watched from the porch at about noon...I got 13 species.   So I learned something; my feeders and yard attract more birds in the afternoon..

Spent the rest of the rain day organizing some of the Mom photos that I did not have in albums but were stored in bins...listened to my Seals and Croft LP's, watched cooking shows on TV, read your blogs, and worked on this post. The Pine Warblers are warbling loudly from under the Dogwood by the window in between rain showers, and I saw one American Crow carrying nesting material! Life continues.

Monday 02.17.2020,
It was a blue bird day as we say.  The sky was as blue as, you guessed it, the blue bird.  I hung around the homestead and worked on a project...My found item deck chairs needed a new coat of paint so I scraped and painted.  I got 2 of the 3 pieces done..and I used the left over paint from Mom's Ramp. A squirrel has already taken a few bites of the chair! I had to remove the cushions after they destroyed one. Somewhere there is nest full of polyester fiber!

Tuesday: 2.18.2020
Gloomy! Awoke to grey bleak skies, answered email and was reminded of waking up on Saturdays as a child.  That meant the day started with cartoons, and always a day outside playing and wandering. Days like that gave me butterflies.  When was the last time anything gave you butterflies? 

Wednesday: 02.19.2020
More gloom and rain! UGH>I had to run into town for bird seed! I got some onion sets for my garden pots, and checked out my already coming up Black Seeded Lettuce, and Spinach.  Birds are happy! I am keeping these pots covered so the Squirrels won't get my baby greens.  

Thursday: 02.20.2020

Wow...lots of 2's.  In 202 years plus 2 days it will be 02.22.2222 None of us will be here for that...:o/  More rain! Im getting cabin fever, and we may get a wintry mix around 9 pm, it won't accumulate here they say but it could be icy overnight on the roads. Rain Rain Go Away...The SC roads workers have 9 tons of me they don't know how to use it, once they salted a road near us and they put it down so heavy it disintegrated the tarmac and it became a gravel/dirt road again!  They repaved, but what a waste. 

 a few camellia blossoms fell off in the heavy rain

Friday 02.21.2020
Finally a sunny but very cold day!  I went to visit Mom...and now it's all final the date she arrived on Earth and the day she skipped outta here and Arrived someplace else...I hope there's trees and birds there...and she gets butterflies every single day. 

Please take a moment to check out the new Etsy link on my right side bar especially if you're into sewing in any way, the Fabric Corner Store, fabric is $1 per yd!!  There is some finished items as well. (....pssst it's family owned) 

Every day is a new Adventure.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Water Water

We just had a gully washer, like 4 inches of rain in 12 hrs.  I was in the middle of trying to do yet another repair to my van.  I had to quickly slam the hood and let it go for the day  but I used the opportunity to run to town and get some parts I need to make this repair.  Good thing my windshield wipers are working good! Did I tell you about the time I was driving in heavy rain and my wiper flew off the car and into the woods?  LoL..that was way back in the 80's but I will never forget that.  Just when you need them Wham gone!

I had to get waterproof boots...

SO the rain stopped and the wind started 40-60 miles per hr for an entire day! A tree nearly hit my mailbox, the trunk missed but the limbs were all around it so I spent the morning sawing it up.  Then the battery died in my chainsaw so I will try to finish it up tomorrow.  It will go to the wood pile.  

One day later this entire park is underwater from the rain upstream 

The new norm...puddles and mud everywhere.  This is the new County River Park.  I put it on the ebird as a hotspot...and now the two other regular county birders are listing from there!  I snagged up 31 species there the other day myself.  

Black berry bushes are already leafing out...briers ready to defend, I notice the Eastern Towhees love to hang out under black berry brambles.  

                                                                red headed woodpecker

And the park staff finally fixed up the new boat location over at the State Park!  NO more wading in mud to get to the boats. 

I plan to rent one and paddle that Canoe Trail this year.  Tried twice last yr and nothing doing as you recall...

So As mentioned above, a day after the rain flooding started...our river the Wateree was 4 ft over flood stage!  I went to one of the spots I like to go called Bucks Creek  Landing, there is a Spillway dam there and GUSH it did!

This structure is normally 8 feet from the bank 

There is an Electric Generating Station at his location...

Normally no water comes over this dam...but the day I was there it was thundering over..

This guard rail of the fishing pier is 4 ft off the ground normally today a Double Crested Cormorant is enjoying having no fishermen in the way...

ebird didn't like it when I said there was 100 Great Egrets but there was...I changed to an X just cause I could not photograph all 100 they were all over the place flying, perching, stabbing at the edge, competing with ring billed gulls for the little "shiners" that slide over the dam with that flood water.  

That was last Sunday ....So I went back on Valentine's Friday to see...

Compare this shot to the one of the Cormorant standing on the fishing pier...above  You can see just how much the water has gone down yet there is still a huge amount thundering over the dam..which normally has no water coming over. 

Still many Great Egrets around I counted 28 just standing around...

As well as many perching this Carolina Wren..

Ring Billed Gull continue to pick up lots of Shiners...

The other park that was under 4 ft of water is drying out and was reopened.  All the picnic tables and the trash cans are gone probably downstream somewhere...and new Porta Potty's were in place.  I should have taken a photo of the new potty...but I did take this, the trail is in pretty rough shape...big drifts of debris cover it up in some areas.

And the trail Bridge has shifted about 6 ft to the right...and is unsafe to use in it's current condition. 

I found a Wren, not a Carolina, nor a House, so Winter Wren was my best guess that didn't fall into the rare category so I went with that...

That's how I spent my week and then Valentine's Day
it was SUNNY and Beautiful what a Gift!

Every day is a new Adventure.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Keystone Species

It was 79 degrees!  It was an amazingly beautiful day as the humidity was only 39%.  I worked outside gathering up what I hope will be the last wood pile I will need.  I find the recently fallen trees, or ones that are about to fall and that is what I use...I don't cut a tree UNLESS it's a hazard, has grown in  a spot that it can not fit, or is so deformed it will be a hazard.  

Today I found a Longleaf Pine seedling as they just replanted the clear cut area..So I found a seedling laying in the road I brought it home and planted it! In about 100-150 yrs it will reach maturity!  Some can be 500 yrs old.  It's a Keystone Species...and native to SC  This means we could have Red Cockaded Woodpecker numbers increase as now as much as 40% of pines planted are Longleaf.  These are being planted for a cash crop so they won't be allowed to reach that ripe old age...anyway I planted that one and there's others growing here too.

I took a Sunday Drive to this spot:

Beaver is also a Keystone species for ecosystem development! I did find a scientific paper about the Beaver, it will take hours to read and even more for my under-educated brain to comprehend...but I'm going to try. To me it's only smart to want to increase the size of Riparian areas especially since so much wetland (286 Million acres) has been drained to increase farm acreage, build roads, and subdivisions! 

Can you imagine with a little work and a lot of planning Beaver could actually bring more water to the Deserts.  The Beaver was eradicated due to early settlers having a fur hat on their head.  There was no rules or regs on taking them same as the Buffalo.  Today, on private land they can be hunted year round and on public lands like this place there is a season of Oct 1 - Mar 1  So currently in season! The reintroduction of beaver was a success but not completely. 

I found this lodge! No Beaver around but another River Otter, (above photo) he was very camera shy...

               I hope there is a Beaver sleeping inside this lodge. 

When I was in Canada I saw Muskrat lodges, they have lots of mud in them and grasses and smaller twigs are not finely thatched like a beaver's work  is, it's like a lazy attempt to be like a But I also saw Muskrat out of the water and it's really a cool animal I saw them in Texas, Florida, and Colorado!

you can see the beaver habitat, and the lodge on the right upper before the tree line

I did not find the dam This is a beautiful wetland on the Singleton Creek in the  Wildlife Management area and a hunter could come here and shoot a Beaver in season...and an OTTER too! I found 3 kingfishers in this area, you can see the beaver pond is still somewhat intact maybe his dam is under the bridge I had no way to see under the bridge I was on.  Here is the opposite side.  It is flowing toward me, and then under the bridge, it heads on till it empties into the Wateree Lake.

red-headed woodpecker

There is another road I can take it winds down to where Singleton Creek flows into the Wateree Lake.  So next time I will explore that road. 

This is a huge WMA.  I would avoid it during main deer hunting season tho.  And I  wished for my sisters and their 4 x 4's and all wheel drive vehicles to  continue on the road with as you see it in the distance in that shot above.  I went in as far as the Kiosk which I forgot to get a photo of...I didn't sign in since I was not staying there was one other person in there he signed the log book and said he was hunting squirrel...can you imagine that?  It reminded me of some stories my Mom told us. 

Belted Kingfisher

My Mom's family used to go on hunting camp trips.  They would bring back turkey and squirrel, and camp by the river cooking and warmed by huge campfires.  They slept on a 'bed roll pallet" on the ground.   This game meat was used to feed the family.  The Appalachian women would gather star grass or peel shiny haw bark, which was a medicinal remedy for women who were prone to miscarry their babies  

It was the bark of the Black Haw tree with a shiny black color, known to the mountain people as "Shiny Haw." My mom spoke often of time spent with Grandmother Dovie, riding her horse Dixie down into the "hollers" to gather medicinal plants for trade with the "traveling store."

Anyone who can afford a vehicle to drive way back into these woods in 2020  does not need to kill a squirrel for food!  Even if you're homeless you can go to the Food Bank and get food free of charge.  My Mom's family would all crowd  into an old T-model with kids riding the running boards, or walking behind. 

What would turtles do without this Beaver Pond to live in? They need slow water and not the swift current of the creek.  I thought of Mom's camp trips while I watched this water slowly creep by.

... way on the other side of the pond a Great Blue Heron was also hunting...the beaver has created the perfect ecosystem...there is room for  Otter, Kingfisher, and Heron and they are finding food.  Snags provide perfect nesting cavities and  insects/worms for the Red Headed Woodpecker...and where there is small prey there must be a bird of prey to help keep that in check...

a red-tailed hawk

Shy River Otter swims back and forth

On the way I pass a few lake access points so I cruised down one, and found a Common Loon swimming around...that was fun, not a bird I see often. 

Spring is here in between we will have more cold snaps for will be interesting to see just how hot it will get this summer around the World. 

Don't forget to participate in the Backyard Bird Count coming up Feb 14-17.  All you do is keep a list of the birds you see in your backyard in a 15 minute time frame...Find out more by clicking the link. 

Till next week...I'm taking life  day by day. 
Every day is a new Adventure.