Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 27, 2013

(CLICK photos to make them larger) Sadie and I passed only one other person on the Riverwalk Trail this morning. My Averett colleague, Richard Ferguson, was running on the trail this brisk, Sunday morning. We were so early this morning that it was, evidently, too cold for many of the birds to be out, though we saw a few cardinals, mockingbirds, chickadees and woodpeckers. However, the geese were out in great force. On the river and in the air, the Canada geese made their presence known, and there was a large number of the white, brown and grey geese; as we approached, they seemed agitated by the presence of a dog, so we made a wide circle around them so they wouldn't be interrupted from their morning activities in field. We went back this afternoon and, again, saw very few birds, but Sadie found a crummy looking baseball in the tall grass (one of nearly 70 she has found this year). I took her to a baseball field and let her run and play with the ball. She had a great time throwing the ball in the air, running after it, and keeping it away from me.
As we got into the car, a couple in a white truck stopped and got out to pet Sadie. The lady called me by name and said she enjoyed my photos in the paper. We chatted for 15-20 minutes, and then we came home. It was a very good day at the park.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

January 26, 2013

(CLICK image to make it larger) This afternoon on the Riverwalk, the weather was mild (low-40s) and the ice on the trail had mostly vanished. Sadie and I were alone for the most part with only a lone jogger passing us 10-minutes into our walk. I thought I had arrived to late in the afternoon to take any pictures, but got a few shots of some ducks (canvas back and mallards) under a bridge) and then noticed an unusual large bird on a limb of a fallen tree that was jutting out over the river. As I looked closer, I noticed a very cold heron on that limb and took some pictures. As I moved around, I got a stately profile of the beautiful bird. I regretted that we had disturbed its peaceful rest on the limb and it flew off shortly after we had passed by. It was another beautiful day on the river.

Friday, January 25, 2013

January 25, 2013

Today our bird feeder was full of birds as the snow and freezing rain came down. In the short time I was watching, I saw some white-throated sparrows, tufted titmouses/mice?, cardinals, juncos and chickadees. Sadie enjoyed looking out the window at them as they jockeyed for feeding positions on our two bird feeders This morning I went to the park with Sadie, and we saw a couple of deer but not much else. It was a good day to see nature.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

January 20, 2013

(Click Photos to Enlarge) Very odd, I think. This morning I saw a couple of bluebirds "house hunting" on the Riverwalk trail near Dan Daniel Park. The male was sitting on top of the house and the female was perched on the outside of the entrance, looking in. I haven't seen this activity often, but noticed it several times over the past few weeks, but each of the other times involved a male bluebird sitting on top of the house. I watched some chickadees playing around in the trees and a few downy woodpeckers eating berries in the same trees. The flood waters are receding, and the water fowl are now back on the river in larger numbers. Though the river is still swift, the ducks and geese are hugging the shore and I saw several flocks of Canada geese flying over (a beautiful sight). It was a good day on the Riverwalk trail.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 19, 2013

(Click Photos to Enlarge) The woods along the Riverwalk Trail seemed full of woodpeckers this morning. I could hear the tap-tap-tap as they searched for bugs, but most interesting was their hanging up-side-down as they ate white berries from the trees. The small red stripe of the downy woodpeckers made them stand out against the dark wood of the trees. As we drove into Dan Daniel park, I saw a couple of young deer munching the grass near the road, and I stopped to take their pictures. They occasionally looked up, but didn't seem to shy at all.
I also saw the two ladies who enjoy feeding the ducks and geese on the trail. They are concerned that the city may enact a law to make it illegal to feed the ducks and geese. I have mixed feelings, but I tend to side with the ladies. The bread they feed may not be the healthiest food for the birds, but the ladies do enjoy feeding the birds, and it is the reason they enjoy getting up each day to walk the 2-3 miles along the trail. I also see families bringing loaves of bread to give their children for feeding the ducks and geese. It give the children a close-up and personal experience with nature.
The major complaint from those who walk on the trail is that the bread causes the geese to leave more dropping on the trail. In all the years I have walked down there, I have never found that to be a problem, and besides, when we go on the trail, we are in their home, and wildlife leave their droppings where ever they may be. May biggest concern is not the wildlife along the river, but speeding bikers who come up behind me without warning. But that's for another day. Overall, it was a very good day on the Riverwalk trail.

Friday, January 18, 2013

January 18, 2013

The river, after the week of rain and then yesterday's snow, has swollen beyond its banks on many sections of the Riverwalk. The geese hug the shoreline a the rapid river speeds past, and the birds hang high up in the trees. Deer come down from the hills to drink from temporary ponds created in areas that had been dry meadowland. This afternoon, a small bluebird caught my eye as it jumped from a tree into a newly created pond, stood there, and then jump up to fly back into the nearby tree. It was a beautiful sight in the winter world where the snow had melted into puddles and the river was encroaching upon the land. It was another good day on the Riverwalk.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January 16, 2013

The river was very high this afternoon and only a few geese and ducks were in the water. The geese on the shore backed away as Sadie and I passed, but when we saw a large group of geese, we decided to turn around and not bother them. I felt that they had been traumatized too much already by the high water on the river.
Those who deny global warming should have been with me on the trail this afternoon. I saw something on the trail I had never seen during this time of year. Actually, Sadie went over to investigate a movement in the grass, and when I got there, I saw a foot and a half long green snake. I have never seen a snake during this time of year since they are, mostly, hibernating. The snake looked at us and didn't move until we left. My guess is that its underground winter home had been disturbed by the heavy rain and the flooding, and it was out, on a rather mild afternoon, looking for another place to burrow.
Sadie found two baseballs on the trail this morning; one was badly beaten up, and the other was nearly brand new. She dropped the older ball, which she had carried around for several minutes and picked up the new ball following a rather lengthy decision making process trying to decide which one to keep. I let her play in one of the ball fields where she tossed up the ball, chased it, and carried it around like a trophy. It was a good day on the Riverwalk Trail.

January 15, 2013

Ducks and geese and Sadie and me. That was all one could find on the Riverwalk today. The river was rising as the five Canada geese, above, were floating down the river. Not much else to see on this rainy, winter's day.

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 14, 2013

It was a rainy morning on the Riverwalk. At the bridge near the Public Works Department I saw a mallard couple in the tall grass. There were few birds or other wildlife on the trail. Sadie, my English setter, and I were the only fools out there. It was a good, but rainy, day on the Riverwalk.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

January 13, 2013

This was a spring-like morning on the Riverwalk. As we entered the park, we saw a young deer standing on the side of a hill eating berries. Along the trail we saw few birds, since we had started our walk later in the morning, but we did see a couple of mockingbirds go at each other at either play or as the territorial dance they carry out. Though it was foggy when we started the walk, the sun was out towards the end of the walk and the temperature was approaching the mid-60s. It was a beautiful day on the Riverwalk trail.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

January 12, 2013

This morning, as I drove into Dan Daniel Park, I saw two deer on the hillside. I turned the car around, rolled down my window, got my camera ready and went back to take a photo of the deer. By the time I got back, they were gone. However, there were a couple of squirrels there, and one was eating a pine cone. I took its picture instead of the deer. As we were walking up a hill to a place I had seen a hawk the day before, Sadie ran through the tall grass, and took some pictures of her. One is posted here, and I used a special effect to make the shot more interesting. The hawk wasn't there. We saw a number of different song birds along the trail, but the most interesting was a chickadee I saw eating berries from a tree near the river. I have a couple of shots here. On the way back to the car, a fellow walker told me that he had just see a couple of river otters playing around and fishing at the bridge near the Public Works Department. We walked back the mile to the bridge, but by the time we got there, there was no sign of the otters. There will be another day for taking pictures of otters. It was a very good morning on the Riverwalk Trail.

Friday, January 11, 2013

January 10, 2013

This young wood duck was hanging out with mallards and geese near the bridge at the Public Works department.

January 9, 2013

This small sparrow watched us closely as we passed by near its tree on the Riverwalk Trail.

January 8, 2013

This small chickadee sat alone on a small twig. It looked cold as it watched us walk past.

January 7, 2013

This blue heron was perched on a limb that extended out over the river.

January 6, 2013

This very small cormorant was swimming alone near the bridge to the community market. The prehistoric looking bird bobbed up and down in the water, would disappear under water for a short time, and then reappear a few yards away from where it had been.

January 5, 2013

This Canada goose casts its reflection on the water as it rests with other geese and ducks near the bridge at the Public Works Department.

January 4, 2013

This chickadee was photographed as it jumped from one twig to another as it searched for berries and bugs on the tree.

January 3, 2013

This mallard is swimming silently alone as the sun goes down on the river.

January 2, 2013

Four Canada geese swim calmly on the river shortly before flying off to graze in a nearby field.

January 1, 2013

As the sun shines brightly on this small bluebird, the richness of it color could be appreciated.

December 31, 2012

This Carolina wren sits in the thicket of a bush near the river. It soon sang its shrill bird song.

December 30, 2012

This great blue heron lands gracefully on a fallen tree near the bridge going over to the Community Market.

December 29, 2012

This small woodpecker made a loud pecking noise high in a tree near the Goodyear Fields.

December 28, 2012

This bright cardinal added color to an other dreary winter morning as we walked along the Riverwalk Trail.

December 27, 2012

These two geese swim lazily on the Dan River on a cool winter morning.

December 26, 2012

This small junco watched us from a nearby tree as we walked by its tree near the Veterans Memorial at Dan Daniel Park.

December 25, 2012

Sadie found a yellow soft ball in the high grass near the Goodyear ball fields. She enjoyed throwing it up in the air and chasing it. She has found over 60 baseballs, 3 softballs, 2 footballs, 3 soccer balls, two tennis balls and two golf balls during the past year.

December 24, 2012

This angry mockingbird looks down at us with a threatening look as we passed through its territory near the Public Works Department on the Riverwalk Trail.

December 23, 2012

This small sparrow is hidden in the tall grass below the Danville Braves' baseball fiend. It was enjoying a cool December afternoon with several other sparrows.

December 22, 2012

This small flock of doves flew overhead before landing on the railroad bridge near the Community Market.

December 21, 2012

This small hooded merganser couple was riding the currents of the Dan River near Dan Daniel Park.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

December 20, 2012

These two mallards flew overhead against the backdrop of a clear, blue sky.

December 19, 2012

As we walked near the river across from Brantley Steam Plant, this hawk sat in a tree watching our every move.

December 18, 2012

This bald eagle perched high above the Dan River in a tree near Dan Daniel Park.It sat there for about 20 seconds as I snapped pictures and, then it flew off.

December 17, 2012

This hooded merganser couple swims in the fast currents, bobbing up and down as they search for small fish.

December 16, 2012

This great blue heron was on a log in the river looking for some unsuspecting fish to swim by.

December 15, 2012

This small chickadee was hanging on one of the remaining leafs on a tree near the Veterans Memorial at Dan Daniel Park.