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Friday, August 29, 2014

2ND VISIT TO SEVEN ISLANDS BIRDING PARK

All shots accomplished with a Sigma 150-500 mm telephoto lens & Canon 50D



I hadn't planned to return to this place so quickly but did so because I was so impressed with it the first time I visited there.  I don't think that a blog filled with pictures of plants is a very exciting blog even though there are those who adore birds and could seek them out and watch them all day long.  I wanted, however, to only photograph birds this day but found them extremely elusive so reverted back to the plants that are highly diverse in this park.



There is one thing I really enjoy about this newest state park and that is lots of personal space - solitude and quiet. 
 I sat on the bench above and looked out at the view you see below and suddenly was motivated to write - something, anything.  But, alas I had no writing paper.  The bench is shaded and a very slight breeze could be felt there on top of the hill.

 There are hundreds of bird boxes all over this park that are labeled with numbers and no doubt GPS coordinates have been recorded for each of them.
 The little hi rise above is a bat house.  Note the opening along the side at the bottom.  This is where the little bats enter.  They climb up the side and cling there.  A better shot of the opening is below:  There may be an entrance for a small wren type bird under the comb of the roof - an extra chamber for a feathered friend.




 Fall is definitely getting close.








 This little rocket was blasting from flower to flower spending only three or four seconds at each one and I had to anticipate him stopping at this particular thistle and focused on the plant prior his arrival.  Whew!


 The shot below is one of my favorites.  It is, well, abstract in a way.  It makes me continually scan over it.  In a way it is off center yet not because there are things happening on the left side of the picture.  The colors are all natural and yet seem artificial at the same time.  No, I'm not drinking.  Hard to believe this shot was taken with a 500 milometer telephoto lens.
 Below:  the passion flower and Tennessee state flower.

 The wild grasses have lost the light brown colors and have assumed a dark gold tint over the past two weeks.  This is an indication that an early Fall is on hand.
A mockingbird sings out his many learned perfect notes that have been stolen from the professional song bird writers, wrens, canaries, warblers and others.  No matter as his voice is a wonder to listen to.





As noted earlier, the day is in the mid nineties and the birds are all deep in heavy foliage making them difficult to find and photograph.  I think I'll leave the plant shots alone for awhile as I'm not sure if they are interesting enough to gather general attention from readers.  The birds should be more available in the early Fall days and I should be able to gather some very interesting bird pictures at that time if I focus my attention at the endeavor.  So, that's it for this entry.  I like plants and am growing an acute interest in birds so bear with me on this.  I appreciate your readership and if there is anything wildlife wise that any of you would like to see - let me know and I'll try my best to turn it  up for you.

















Monday, August 25, 2014

A VISIT TO SEVEN ISLANDS STATE BIRDING PARK



I decided to take a drive out to the newest state park in Tennessee this morning.  The name of this state attraction is Seven Islands State Birding Park and it already has a fantastic reputation and following.  Over 180 species of birds have been documented on this 416 acre preserve and no doubt more will be discovered as time goes on.  The park contains really neat rustic trails that lead to the French Broad River with spurs that guide the hiker through groves of trees and large meadows and fields covered with natural grasses that grow tall and thick, perfect for birds.
This little guy is a Eastern Towhee (Rufous Sided Towhee).  He was perched as you see and was singing his heart out.  He would tilt his little head up and turn his volume up as high as he could.  They are a beautiful little bird with a Grammy award winning voice.



The expectation was to sight and photograph as many song birds as possible but that was not the case.  Oh, there were a couple interesting birds to photograph but the real eye opener was the amazing flower diversity that existed everywhere one would look.  This place is an amazing flower refuge as well as a bird refuge.






The trail lead through a wet land on its way to the French Broad River.  The flower populations were diverse and many.




 I won't act like I know the names of wild flowers but I have come to a conclusion about them.  They are far more beautiful than the domestic variety that are purchased across the counter.  Wild flowers are incredibly intricate and can be startlingly beautiful when discovered .
The flower below is fantastic!  It is fabulous and I think it is the most beautiful flower in this country.  That's saying a lot.  It also is the Tennessee state flower.  It is the passion flower and it is an elegant vision of delight.
 The passion flower is a vine flower and comes with huge round seed pods.  The blooms are shades of dark blue to purple and each bloom contains an enormous amount of delicate detail - intricate perfection.
 These flowers were prolific all over the Seven Islands park.
I'll post some other flowers below.  Again, I don't know all the names but I do intend to work on it over winter.  I often photograph plants that are highlighted in some way that singles out an individual like the simple leaf below.  It is a simple thing but appears abstract in the shot below.









 I've always liked wild flowers framed with rock or wood.











 The bee is  covered with pollen on his back.  Look at the yellow powdery appearance of his back.






The article below could prove dangerous to fast flying birds who are in a hurry to land.




video

The critter above is one of the strangest critters I've ever seen.  It is a woolly aphid. They can barely be seen moving.  The breeze blows the long tendrils back and forth as the aphid eats its way into oblivion.  The bug has a special gland that produces wax that produces the wispy, white tendrils that slowly undulate in the breeze.  When they want to move to a different area they simply release their grasp on whatever they are attached to and allow the wind to carry them along where it will.  They can control their flight however.  The plant leaves below prove the voraciousness of this critter.
 I'm told that a mixture of soap and water sprayed onto these aphids will kill them and will not harm the plants.  That's a good thing to remember.
There are more shots here than I thought.  Hope I'm not boring you.
 The wet lands border the river and have very dry, neat paths through them.  This park is first class.









 The trail follows along the French Broad River and provides very pristine views of the river.

And then the monster arrived!


 Below, a moon flower has ended its bloom and will soon break off the stem and fall to the ground.  It blooms only once and then the bloom folds in upon itself and dies.
 But, not to feel bad as a brand new, fresh moon flower youngster is growing in the wings and soon will add its color to the green stalk.
I apologize for the limited narrative on this entry but I am really beat and am ready to count sheep.  Hope you liked the birding park.  If you live near you definitely need to visit this place.  It is a wonderful get away.
And finally, a shot from earlier in the week on Douglas Lake: