Saturday, June 19, 2010



I always feel bad pulling out the dozens of maple tree seedlings from my flower beads.  If I didn't, I'd have a forest in my yard.  We did leave one in about 13 years ago and it is now one of the tallest trees in my yard.  

I was sweeping the front porch and came across this fellow:

I look at this and see a horse head, do you?

I moved him to my hanging basket of petunias so he would be safe.  And just as I stepped away, a hummingbird came for a drink!  No picture though, he was in and out in seconds.  Timing is everything, you know, so I was glad I was there to see him, no matter how brief the visit.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Every time I get on blogger to catch up on my blogfriends, I get a new link through them to 'meet' a fellow blogger. The talent and diversity on this earth is always a delight to me.  Look at who I stumbled across today:

His name is Richard Shilling and he creates art using natural resources - leaves, pods, reeds, bark, etc.  And not only is his art amazing - he is fun and insightful. 

So if you have a moment or two (or possibly dozens) take the time to see what Richard has created and be amazed.  If you click on his pics in his blog posts, you'll jump over to his flickr much to see!  I've only had the time to see a bit of it, but from what I have seen - WoW! 


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Allegany Nature Pilgrimage Day 3

The rains moved in overnight and brought with them the wonderful rumbling thunder.  Nothing like an Allegany rainstorm.  I love it (as long as it doesn't last for days......).    Thinking that the bird banding would be a washout, I stayed in bed longer.  I shouldn't have - what I was hearing wasn't the rain.  It was the creek:

(I took video, but now I see blogger no longer has an upload video option!)
Trust me - it was LOUD! 
Here's that same area of the creek taken just the afternoon before.  The water level was up at least a foot.  Crazy.
Meghan, Kyah and I went for one last morning walk down the road - Meg's goal was to get service on her cell phone; Kyah and I just like the walk.

After packing up and dropping off the key at the administration building, we took the long way out of the Park - through the Quaker side.  I couldn't leave without a visit to Science Lake or the spillway.  The rain was drizzly and it was cool, but beautiful all the same.

The spillway was flowing like I've never seen it. 

Hopefully I'll be back sooner than later....

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Allegany Nature Pilgrimage Day Two, Part II

Meg, Hannah, and I headed back to the Pilgrimage grounds at 10:30 a.m. to make ourselves a paper vessel using handmade pulp.  Cool.  Well, I was hoping it was going to be, but it was over-run with kids and very chaotic, so we left and sought out some peace and quiet around Red House Lake.

This bush smelled like heaven - I'm thinking it is some sort of old rose?
Meghan  took these shots - I love the angles she gets.  Very artistic.

While Meghan showered (on the Congdon Trail - ours has no showers!), I grabbed my knitting and headed for a rock.
Lush mosses are everywhere in the park.  So many different types.  Like mini forests.
Look at the cluster of tent caterpillars on this tree - there were multiple bunches like this all along the trunk!

This little fellow wanted to come along too - or should I say big fellow? 

I was glad the window was up! The girls would have been shrieking if that was actually IN the truck with us.  I tried to get a picture of his back, but this blasted camera was acting up again and wouldn't focus! GRRR.

Back to the cabin to await Claire's (the oldest daughter) arrival.  She wanted to see the Reptile and Amphibian lecture (the rest of us had done this on Friday), so we drove back down to the Pilgrimage tents. 

Although I don't think taking an animal from its natural habitat and keeping it in a confined space is 'right', I can certainly appreciate the reason why people do it. 

 Just look at these creatures!  They are beautiful.

Chris Duckett, the speaker, is a good soul.  All the animals he brought are rescues.  He has dedicated his life to giving these creatures the best possible life they can have.  I had the pleasure of meeting his mom and little brother, and they were so proud of him.  It was a nice touch to the lecture. 
After standing in the blazing sun for too long, we left early and went back to the cabin to eat lunch and cool off.  I wish we could have gotten a spot in the shade, because they hadn't pulled out the tortoise or the ball pythons that we had seen the day before (when I didn't bring the camera) and I really wanted to get some pictures and hold that ball python again.  I love snakes! 

We hiked around the creek down on the Ryan Trail and Claire insisted we could walk across this log to get to the other side.  I thought she was crazy - looked way too high to even use a walking stick for support, but she insisted she could do it.  I told her to go first - she got about two steps onto it and turned around!  You can see her in the left of the picture.  I refrained from saying "I told you so". 

We found a spot to hop across the rocks and I'm so glad we did.  The forest on the other side was gorgeous!
I love when trees grow on rocks. 

Back across the creek - notice Claire is doing the ol' "fly dance" - you know when those annoying orbitting flies buzz around your head until you want to scream??  Yep.  Pretty annoying if you let them get to you. 

Claire had to head back home, and we went to the chicken BBQ at the pilgrimage - delish!
Here's a view of the grounds from the road leading to the Bova Ski Area.  We did part of the night hike that evening down this very same road, but couldn't take the chatty crowd and the noise of 40+ people crunching along the stone road - not our cup of tea, so to speak.  So we had a beautiful (read:  quiet) evening around our campfire. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Allegany Nature Pilgrimage, Night One, Day Two Part I

Friday night we attended an owl prowl, which is something I have been wanting to do forever.

Talk about amazing! Within minutes our talented owl-calling guide had three screech owls conversing with him. One of them even flew onto a branch directly in front of me and I was able to get a great look at him. I swear he looked right into my eyes. What a treat! He (she?) was so much smaller than I was expecting, even though I know they are a small owl, it still was a shock to see how little he looked on that branch.
Off we all went to another site in the park, near the Bridal Veil Falls area, where we all just parked along the dark roadside and stood along the edge of the woods while our guide called for the barred owl. He warned us it may take a while to get them to respond. I didn't mind-it was just neat to be standing there in the pitch dark, until it started to rain, that is. Bummer. Our guide explained the chances of the owl coming now were slim to none, due to the rain, so we all headed back to our cars. And then! What was that? Could it be?! Yes! A response - a pair of barred owls had come in and were out of sight, but not out of earshot. What a delight! I never ever in a million years would have expected these vocalizations from an owl. It literally sounded like a troupe of monkeys in the canopy. I so wish I had an audio recorder with me!
Before heading back to our cabin, we stopped over to check out what was on the lighted sheet - nothing too spectacular, but about a zillion dance flies. Handfuls of them were pooled at the bottom of the sheet. A bit creepy, but fascinating all the same. My camera was, once again, deciding not to focus, so I only got a few pics.
So mad my camera wouldn't focus! This moth was GoRGeOUs!

Up early the next morning to join the 6 a.m. birdwalk. It had rained over night and was a bit foggy and dull, but with the help of the guide and others on the walk, we were able to spot a few. It was nice that the guide provided us with not only a checklist of all the birds we could expect to see this time of year in the park, but also a listing of bird calls too.

Next, we headed to the 7 a.m. birdbanding. Again, something I had never seen before and I was blown away by the whole process. After being gently caught in nets, the birds are placed into bags and brought to the banding station.

To be that close to these birds was beyond delightful - I was in awe the whole time. The birds themselves were so calm (other than the pecky chickadee) during their measuring and weighing.

The suspense of what was in the bags was killing me!

Keeping track of all the data was no easy task!

Here's who showed up for the party:

Song sparrow preparing to be weighed


Common Yellow Throat

Magnolia Warbler - female (I think! let me know if I'm wrong)

Yellow Warbler

Cedar Waxwing

American Redstart

Magnolia Warbler Male

Gray Catbird

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Ruby Throated Hummingbird, wasn't banded as our 'bander' does not have a permit to do so. Can you believe how tiny he is???!!!

Red-eyed vireo

Indigo Bunting

I hope I got their names right. I've never seen most of these birds, and I was trying to pay attention the best I could, but ya know, sometimes, I just don't catch all the details accurately.
Whew, all this excitement before 9 a.m. What more could a girl ask for?