Monday, August 04, 2008

Extreme birding . . . and other stuff

June 28, 2008.

Steve and I went birding up at Hoover Reservoir with Charles Bombaci, primarily to look at the Prothonotary Warbler nesting area. It had been raining hard all week and the water was pretty high.

We started out along a road just to the west of Area N and we found a nesting pair of Yellow-throated warblers. Charles was pretty happy to see them.

Here's another view of the male.

We then went over to Area N, which is where the "extreme" part of the title for this blog posting comes in. The water was up so high that we had to do some maneuvering to get from one part of the path to another via a wet log. Well, my boots weren't up to that because the tread is so worn down from all my hiking in South Africa.

I slipped and fell into the water, but foolishly grabbed a branch on the way down and injured my shoulder. A month later, when I finally saw my doctor, I found out that I tore the bicep at the shoulder attachment and probably injured the tendon as well. Oh well. I'm working on some physical therapy and we're in "wait and see" mode until I get back from my Ireland trip in September. Anyway - here's a picture of a male Prothonotary Warbler - worth the discomfort, I think.

Next stop was Mudhen Marsh where we went with Charles along a path not usually accessible by the public. Charles is the naturalist for the Hoover reservoir reserves and so we were able to get into some places we've not been before.

We had a great view of a red-headed woodpecker foraging for its chicks.

The nest hole was up in this tree.

It found a gold mine in grubs and bugs on one of the rotting branches.

You can see the big fat juicy meal in its beak after it pulled it out of the wood.

We came home in a light rain and the back garden was lit very nicely with the subdued light and the moisture, so I spent a few minutes doing some plant photo studies.

I liked the composition in black and white for this sunflower head about to come into bloom.

This is from the largest sunflower plant I've ever seen. It fell over onto the back patio and then started growing vertically from the bent over stem. The stem must be 5 or 6 inches in diameter near the base and the stem is about 12 feet long.

All of the sunflower bud pics are from this massive plant.

It's been more than a month since I took these photos and the plants are in full bloom and going to seed. The American Goldfinches are loving them! It's so fun to walk out the back door and see all the goldfinches eating the seeds from our garden plants.

These next two photos are here for Malcolm Zander. He sent me some beautiful snapshots of the day lilies he grows in his garden and I love day lilies, too. These are amongst my favorites in my garden - a delicate pale yellow in color and very short - less that 2 feet tall.

I love the moisture on the petals, and that looks like a pollination droplet on the stigma.

My cone flower patch is another big draw for the goldfinches. I let this part of my garden grow pretty wild to attract as many birds and butterflies as possible. I'm sure it looks like a weed patch to my neighbors, but I like to think of it as my private nature reserve.


Anonymous said...

hey you ... you know who you are. the one whose boots are too worn to hike safely...the one who waited too long before seeing the doctor. yes, YOU ...

don't you know understand that YOU must take care of yourself and put your health above all other so called 'responsibilities'.

ok -- my lecture is now over.

please take better care of yourself. for who else is going to provide us such lovely black&white photos of budding sunflowers?

blessings from the universe

Andi Wolfe said...

uhmmmmm, yes (and thanks for your concern!). If it's any consolation, I've had all of my annual check-ups and mid-life doctor maintenance visits in the past month except for getting my teeth cleaned (and that's scheduled for this month). . . . so, I'm not ignoring myself completely - just a little. ;-)

Aside from the shoulder injury, I'm doing pretty well. . . But, I will definitely get my boots retreaded very soon.