Jumping the Gun

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A few warm days has stimulated the Indica Azaleas to begin blooming.  Normally, they do not bloom until early or mid-March.  And a Monarch Butterfly appeared in the garden, it is really too soon for butterflies.  The temperatures are dropping again and will  hopefully slow down the blooms.


Gator Hunting

DSC_0204The weekend weather was outrageously warm and sunny which made it a great time to go gator hunting…with a camera, of course.

DSC_0202These two big alligators were sunning right next to the hiking path. They did not mind the paparazzi at all.

DSC_0183In this area were about 30 young alligators with a mother.  It was interesting that the duck was near them, but a ranger explained that the gators eat very little in the winter.

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The trail was lined with Spanish Moss laden trees.

DSC_0219Across the water from the path were several more big guys basking in the sun.

DSC_0226This one is hiding its head in the grasses, but we can still see him.

DSC_0230According to park instructions, one is to stay 30 feet from the gators.

DSC_0234And if an alligator come towards you, back away slowing and don’t take your eyes off it.

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It was a wonderful day under the moss, spotting alligators.


Flashback Friday

Well, I just found out it was Squirrel Appreciation Day.  I am trying to think of a reason to appreciate them.  They are fun to watch … sometimes.  That’s all I can come up with.  Maybe some of you have some better reasons to appreciate them.

Today’s Flashback is to a cute little squirrel taking refuge on a second story windowsill.

Above the Flood

 

 


Trial Run

I finally purchased a new camera and took it for a quick trial run.  It is an improvement over my aging one.  This camera has so many electronic features, it may take a long time to figure them all out.  I remember when cube flashes were the newest thing!  What will the future bring?

Click on photos for a slideshow.


Flashback Friday

We have been suffering through several years of drought, which is highly unusual for this region as we  normally have too much rain.  We have gone from driving through high water and violent thunder storms to water rationing.  Now the rains have returned.  All those drought tolerant plants we were encourage to use are not very happy. Even the raised beds are soggy.

We received 5.5 inches of rain in the last 30 days and 66 inches for the last 365 days.  Our average is about 52.69 inches.

This week’s flashback is to 2013 when a rainy day was an event to photograph.

Glorious Rain


Winter Visitors Are Back

DSC_0684Sugar bird is back!  This is a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and I am sure it is the same Kinglet that has been visiting the garden every winter for a few years. The Kinglet hangs out in the bed outside the kitchen window and picks at the Camellias removing scale and over-wintering eggs from the shrubs.  The bird then heads for the hummingbird feeder for a sweet treat.  This is a different feeder from last year, but its tiny beak can fit right in.

The rest of the winter visitors have arrived and include, Sparrows, Goldfinches, Yellow Rumps and a Rufous Hummingbird.  A Robin has been hanging out in the yard too, but won’t pose for a photo.  The year-round birds have also been feasting from the feeders.  Some are Titmice, Chickadees, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, Carolina Wrens, Hawks, Doves and Cardinals.  (These are the birds found around the feeders.  Many others are passing by or gathering in the trees.)

DSC_0696What a difference a year makes.  Last year there was silence in the yard as most of the birds were missing.  It was happening everywhere in the area.  It was so shocking that people were writing to the papers.  Theories were that hawks had taken all our beloved birds.  But, there would need to be a lot of hawks to clean out such large area.  Some thought the birds were poisoned.  Well, that would have had to be a massive amount spread everywhere.  The most likely explanation is that the drought had finally ended and the woods were full of natural food that had been in low supply the last few years and the birds were feeding elsewhere.

Now the garden is full of Cardinals again.  There has been up to 10 feeding at a time and the males are busy chasing each other around the yard.  All is well in the garden again!


Flashback Friday

 

 

The nice part of living in the South is having flowers in the winter.  Something is always blooming.

This week I’m looking back at a Canna and its stunning seed pods.


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