Friday, February 28, 2014

Won't be long!


Click here for your e-card.


When I went searching for some of my photos, I found that Google had turned a recently shared one into a snow scene, and then saw this e-card that made me think about the hummingbird I found in California a while back.  I put the two together and decided to send you the card reminding us all that Spring will be here sooner than we think.  

CAMERA CRITTERS AND SATURDAY'S CRITTERS


And maybe some hand lotion?  This winter is really doing a number on my hands.


Have a great weekend everyone.

I am joining Misty's Camera Critters 




Thursday, February 27, 2014

Skywatch Friday - February 27, 2014 Edition










My thanks to the SkyWatch Team, YogiSandy and Sylvia,  for hosting this wonderful meme.

Please click here to visit other sky watchers.


Happy SkyWatch Friday!

A few more photos from our drive to Big Meadows last week.

Entering the park at one of the entrances, we followed a Park Ranger.


As you can see there is still some snow around but not in the valley below.


We didn't come across as many motorbike riders as we usually do, not today anyhow.


In shaded areas we came across sheets of ice.  







Here are a couple of the views we stopped at.






And fortunately it won't be long before these trees are covered with leaves.


We were a few miles from the meadow when we spotted deer crossing the roadway.  It was interesting as we watched several cross the road one after the other, safely.  When they heard a car coming they immediately went into a fast trot.  The cars don't drive very fast around here fortunately.  There are a lot of winding bends to keep their speed down.


This is the meadow.  Gregg took a lot of the photos - that's me in the black coat.



One of the signs that greet people before they make their way down.


This is one of the deer from my other post.  He was firmly planted inside a considerable area of thicket.


Here is another young one who was making his way to the rest of the herd.


They spotted a small group of people heading their way.


Another family here to enjoy them.


This one came running, tail upright.  I read that when they are disturbed they make a snorting sound and stamp their hooves to alert other deer to danger.  When they run away they will raise their tail which will stick up like a white flag.  This alerts other deer to danger and gives the fawns something to follow.  


They have very good eyesight and hearing but depend mainly on their sense of smell to detect danger.


The white-tailed deer is usually a solitary animal, but females and fawns will band together at times, and during the winter months they will form herds to keep warm.


The white-tailed deer was nearly wiped out in much of the northeast and midwest of the United States, but because of hunting restrictions and fewer predators, there are now more than ever.


Genus is odocoileus and species is virginianus.


This is the end of my photos from Big Meadows, until our next trip up there.


We left them as the sun started going down.  It took us about an hour-and-a-half to get home and we passed this pretty church on the way back.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

McKee's Botanical Garden, Vero Beach, Florida - Part 1

We found a jewel of a garden when driving from one destination to another on our road trip around Florida.  We passed the sign and decided to turn into the entrance, and I am glad we did. They were having the Seward Johnson Sculpture Exhibit.  I am not sure how long this exhibit will be on display, but feel lucky we were there at the right time.



I was delighted with this exhibit and I am starting off with one entitled "The Promenade".  The man and the woman are originally found in a painting called "Paris Street, A Rainy Day"  and that can be found here.  It is interesting to compare the painting with this sculpture.  













Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nature Notes - Deer at Big Meadows

Big Meadows is one of our favorite places and another we have frequented for years.  We would liked to have checked in at the Lodge not too far away but it is closed until Spring.  We stayed at the Lodge for a weekend several years ago, and have talked about going again for some time now.


It is not for just the beautiful scenery we find along Skyline Drive.  At Big Meadow we often enjoy seeing the deer and I have posted about them before.   



Most of the snow had melted but there were still large patches here and there.


On this visit we saw more deer than we have ever seen before.  We counted at least 27 by the end of our walk.


They were aware of our presence, but we were told when we first discovered the meadow that they are well used to people. We watched as parents with two small children and a dog on a leash walked around the first small herd we came across.  A few deer looked up and twitched their ears listening, and I thought that we wouldn't be able to see them much longer, that they would soon be off into the woods.  


I was glad to see that family behaving responsibly.  The children  and little dog did not run or make any noise, the dog was on a leash.  Their parents had taught them well.  I silently thanked them for not going any further and watched as parents, children and four-legged family member turned around and walked in the other direction. 


There was a lot of tasty grass to munch on in peace.


"Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything."
~Albert Einstein~


A few heads came up at the slightest sound.


We saw other humans come and go.


This mother took very good care of her youngling. When she ambled away her offspring followed.  We thought the younger might have been born last Spring.  



"The company of deer can fill one's soul with the love of Nature."  This quote is mine, I think.  It popped into my head as I watched and took everything in around me, but then I come across so many quotes as I love reading them, and I might have heard it somewhere and borrowed it.  It fit my mood perfectly, I find being out in nature completely soothing and relaxing, peaceful.  


I could sit myself on the ground and watch for hours.....


and hours.....


and hours.


And then come back the next day and do it all over again.  I am looking forward to the Lodge opening in the spring.



Look at that one ear turned in our direction?


Always on the look-out.


"The mountains are calling and I must go!"
~John Muir~


Another wonderful walk across Big Meadows, made even more so because of all the deer we found there.


You can go here to read about Big Meadows.

Added note: some of you expressed an interest in the grasses on the meadow.  I found this at the Shenandoah National Park site here.

"In Shenandoah National Park grasses can be easily viewed at Big Meadows where red top (Agrostis perennans) and tall oat grass (Arrhenatherum elatius) are particularly common.  The troublesome invasive Japanese stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum) can be seen throughout the Elkwallow picnic area where it has overrun virtually all other forest understory herbs.  Grasses possess a subtle beauty and provide a worthy botanical challenge to those interested in determining individual species.  Take a moment next time you pass some of the grass to bend down and take a closer look."

Good advice!  I think I must have been a botanist in another life as I have always enjoyed studying fauna up close.  It is amazing what you can see.  Now if only I can turn my toxic thumb into a green one!  

~~~~~~~

Thank you for hosting such a lovely meme Michelle.

Please visit other Nature Notes lovers here.