Friday, January 27, 2012

January Songs

January songs
Good for me but not for frogs
On warm winter days.

I am enjoying the warm winter days, but I'm worried about what it means for the environment. Frogs calling in January just doesn't seem right.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Winter Walk

Is there anything better than a brisk walk on a sunny winter day? Below are two viewpoints, first from today and then from December 2008.

Unadorned, empty,
Bare-boned hillsides lay exposed.
Life in waiting.

Winter Forest
Stripped of excess green
The winter forest reveals
Its inner beauty.

'Possum up a tree
Hid in plain sight unnoticed
Caught a glimpse of me.

Look closely in the center of the picture for the 'possum.

Friday, January 13, 2012

January Images

For the second year, Bill and I made a day trip to the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge to the see Sandhill Cranes. We don't go on the official "Sandhill Crane Viewing Days," which is this weekend, but make the trip during the week on our own. We shared the observation deck with several dedicated birders - from New York State, Alabama, Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee - all hoping for a site of the rare Asian Hooded Crane that has been seen with the Sandhill flocks. I was also hoping for Whooping Cranes. Neither made an appearance during the two hours that I watched. I did get a glimpse of a couple of bald eagles. Nevertheless, the Sandhill congregation and choir was magnificent. You may have already seen my short video on facebook. The visual image is not great and the sound is not pure. The music of the great flocks was the best part of the trip.

Yodeled harmonies
Thousands of voices lifted
Sandhill symphony.

The first snow of the season fell today...enough to close school for the kids, but not enough to keep anyone in.
A dusting of snow
Makes the world seem prettier
if only briefly.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

2012 begins the third year of my blog.  In looking back I see that 2011 was not as prolific as 2010, but I've enjoyed reviewing the year. For me this has been a good year. The two most significant events were the birth of Owen Robert Whitaker on April 4 and my retirement on June 30. Lots of other good things happened, but those two are life changing.

I can't believe that I haven't posted since mid-October. Our month in Orange Beach was so wonderful: fishing, hiking, birding, walking the beach. Then family celebrations around Thanksgiving. I guess I was so busy enjoying that I didn't spend much time reflecting. Of course, December was a blur of holiday preparation and celebration. I'm looking forward to some enforced indoor time in January. When I look back to last December, I see that the weather was much colder with lots of snow. We are expecting a freeze tonight, but they have been few. Still eating greens from the garden today. The New Year's Day bird count at the feeders is low, probably reflective of the mild weather. Today I've seen Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Nuthatch and Crow - common birds, but few in number.

Here are a few pictures from November and December:

Bill's Big Fish

Coyote on the beach

Claire and Amand love the surf

Heron in the fog

Heron at sunset
Pelican waiting for fish

Pompano for supper
Owen's first walk on the beach
Hiking to Big Lagoon, Bon Seceur
Mimi enjoying the pool

Jane Clark's big fish

Owen likes the beach

Owen and Mimi converse

Cousins having a good time
Owen at Christmas