Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Winter Wonderland

When I woke up Monday morning and saw all the snow in our  yard, I knew that
I wanted to get my camera to Wildwood as soon as possible.
Arriving at the Main Street entrance, I was disappointed to see that it had not gotten
 cold enough to freeze the water that is always dripping from the tufa cliffs.

My disappointment, however, was short-lived as I walked into the park and down Wildwood Drive.

Sunday night's heavy, wet precipitation had penetrated the trees' canopy of branches-leaving everything,
yes, everything covered with a sparkling blanket of white.

this was more beautiful than I had imagined!

I looked up as I approached the North Bridge.

Another "aaahhh" !

Crossing the bridge, I walked toward the tunnel, trying to absorb all the exquisite white surrounding me.

After turning around I continued to wander, enjoying the crisp air and the blue sky.

All too soon, I was at the Park Road parking lot and turned to get one more shot and
one more deep breath of a simple and profound joy.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Radford Roosting Festival

Saturday morning, February 18, was a splendid day to be out looking for birds!
About 25 folks joined Clyde Kessler to listen and look for them in Wildwood.
The group saw and/or heard 25 different species including yellow-rumped warblers, bluebirds, chickadees, titmice, towhees, cardinals, blue jays, crows, woodpeckers (A pileated one stayed in view for several
 minutes as it flew from trees to the ground and back.), robins, wrens, song sparrows, 
phoebes, white-breasted nuthatches, a junco, a mourning dove, and flying high above our heads:
a red-tail hawk, a turkey vulture, and an immature bald (probably) eagle!

Activities for the Festival continued at McHarg Elementary School on Saturday afternoon.

Youngsters enjoyed making treats to hang outside for birds, making their own bird books, 
and dissecting owl pellets, as well as other fun activities.

Veterinarian Philip Bailey and his wife rescue injured wild birds and brought
a few of them to show the audience. In the above photo, he is holding an American kestrel, 
which is a falcon that is about the size of a blue jay.

The man with the camera who is talking to Dr. Bailey while he holds a barn owl is
Kyle Green, a photographer with the Roanoke Times.
The barn owl is one of Dr. Bailey's hunting birds.
You might want to try to find out more about falconry and the sport of hunting with birds.

As Kyle Green lifted his camera to get a shot, the bird turned its head 
all the way around to look at me and my camera. I was amused 
because animals usually turn their face away from me as soon as
I get my camera ready for a good shot!

This little screech owl had been injured and rehabilitated by the Baileys and
was ready to be released back into the wild. It was taken outside to the edge of
the woods behind McHarg.

It fluttered it wings.

And then flew to a nearby tree.

I was very pleased to see how well it was camouflaged among the brown leaves
still in the tree that it chose. That should help it have a better chance to survive.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Weekend for the Birds: February 17 & 18

Radford will hold its 5th annual Roosting Festival this weekend.
Once again we have the opportunity to become better acquainted with Wildwood's wonderful
feathered friends.
Clyde Kessler will lead us through the park and help us listen and look.
Perhaps we will see sparrows:

Maybe robins:

Bright red cardinals are easy to see:

 Towhees sometimes like to hide from us:

Blue Jays like to scream at us!

Clyde will help us know who the birds are and where they may be singing and feeding.
Meet at the Park Road parking lot at 9:00am Saturday, Feb.18, to begin the hunt.

Events this weekend include
a movie, Winged Migration, in the McHarg Elementary School Multi-purpose Room
from 7 - 9 pm Friday night, Feb. 17.
The Bird Walk beginning at the Park Road parking lot at 9:00 Saturday.
Lots of activities at McHarg School on Saturday afternoon 1:00 - 5:00.
See you there!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Did you know?

Did you know that this is a dog?
A very frisky and excited dog?

I met Penny and her owner as I neared the Park Road parking lot. 
Penny was described by her owner as being "very energetic". 
I agreed as Penny continued to twirl at the end of her leash while trying to greet me.

 Did you also know that the official state dog for Louisiana is the
Catahoula Leopard Dog?
I didn't, until Penny's owner told me that.

As Penny (who was only 5 months old) calmed down, I could see what a
fine looking animal she was, and I also got a better look at her eyes.
Catahoulas have "glass" eyes that are an icy blue color.
Some folks say that "Catahoula" is an Indian word that means "clear eyes".
Penny has one glass-looking eye, and the other is "cracked" or both brown and white.
 Cracked eyes are also common in this breed.


Catahoulas are bred to be working dogs and that explains the high energy.
I was charmed by Penny and her owner and was delighted to add her to
my growing album of dogs walking their owners in the park.

I learn so many interesting things in Wildwood!

Wild Yam

While wandering in with my camera in Wildwood in January,
I stopped along the bike path to snap a few shots of
an open pod of Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa). It had burst open 
and most of its seeds had fallen out.
When I got home and loaded the photos into my computer, 
I was delighted to see that I had an evocative still life picture!

  Wild Yam is an herbaceous vine that sometimes grows close to the ground in a whorl
of heart-shaped leaves.

Its small, delicate flowers grow along dangling vines.

 Fruit then begins to form.

Green pods have seeds developing inside.

The green fruit turns brown as the seeds develop.

The cycle will then begin again.
Life goes on in Wildwood.