Monday, April 29, 2024

New Sightings

 We all love seeing critters that are our first sightings, don't we?  I get so excited when a bird that is new to my yard makes an appearance.  Especially one that I thought only moved around at night!  Though he or she didn't stay for long, I managed to capture what I thought was a large hawk. Upon further observation and cropping in my photo,  I think we spotted an owl on the fence. 

 I was only able to take two photos from the dining room through the Florida room windows before he flew away.   So I apologize for the poor quality of the photo and the lack of a frontal view. Take notice of his head and the ears that look like a feline. Reading more about these owls I learned that though they prefer hunting at night but they will occasionally hunt during the day.   

Samuel reminded us that some folks call owls "flying cats."  I can really see the resemblance.  I do worry about our feathered friends when a mighty hunter visits.  Yesterday we had a very large hawk visit as well.  By the time I got to my camera he was off to find a meal somewhere else.  For that I was thankful!

After looking online for identification, I can only imagine this owl was a Great Horned Owl.  If any of you know different, I'd love to hear. 

When we were in Williamsburg we also saw a critter from our balcony.  There was a pond with a fountain that sounded so peaceful behind our unit.

 As you can imagine we enjoyed our tea and coffee and occasional meals on the balcony.  Grayden spotted a very large turtle swimming one afternoon.  Of course I had to take a picture the best I could from the third floor.

I cropped the photo in hopes of further identifying him.  I believe he is a Common Snapping Turtle.

The Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra Serpentina) is seen in fresh waters in the USA down to Florida and up to Nova Scotia and out to the Rocky Mountains. 

He was quite large and a great swimmer.  Upon further reading about him, I learned he is basically harmless in the water, but on land can be quite combative with his beak like jaws.  In the water he is more likely to hide in the sediment of his habitat if approached. 

Most Common Snapping Turtles weigh up to 22 pounds at maturity.  Though in captivity, where they are overfed, they can weigh much more - up to 75 pounds!

Have you ever seen a Common Snapping Turtle?  This is a first for me, though not in our backyard.

Also we observed a rather interesting sad couple of Canada Geese that lived near this same pond.  They appeared to be a happy couple, but upon further observation one had a wing problem. 


The other goose limped with each step as he ate from the grassy area.

These two geese stayed close together and seemed to watch out for each other.  They never flew from this area.  We can only surmise that they felt safe here together.  No other geese flew into the pond, though many flew above in the evenings.  It was like their own little hideaway.  At least that's what I'm hoping.  I do know injured animals are vulnerable to predators.  We did not go near them to see if they had a nest as we know better than to do that as they can get quite aggressive if they feel their nest is in danger.  

I do hope for the best as these two make their way in the coming days. 
"I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles." Anne Frank


Thursday, April 25, 2024

Flowers Everywhere!

Hello friends, it's been a while since I've posted.  I do hope all is well with you.  This sweet little Eastern Bluebird visited us one morning.  

Life has been quite busy for us.  We've had a new roof installed and a new refrigerator delivered that took a whole month because of bad advice. Our old refrigerator was 28 years old so we really were happy for its long life.  We understand new appliances don't last as long now so here's hoping for the best with the new one.  Enough complaining as there is much to be happy about.  Seeing the American Goldfinch visit the feeder is always welcome. 

Spring is here in all of her glory.  I've said it before that it is almost an embarrassment of color all around us now!  In our garden the daffodils have bloomed, the dogwoods are blooming along with the azaleas, wisteria, and viburnum along with many plants in the perennial bed.  It's a great time for most of us if you can stand the enormous amount of pollen.  I have been sweeping up on the patio frequently and Grayden has been using the blower for that job as well.   The pollen from our oaks reminds me of tumbleweeds as the pollen gathers together.  When Spring blooms in Virginia it comes all at once! 

Instead of posting about our garden as I have done many times in the past, I decided to show you all the florals we recently viewed in Colonial Williamsburg the week of April 10-18.

We passed this field of yellow buttercups on our way to the Duke of Gloucester Street.  Do you know the little test of holding one under your chin tells whether you like butter or not?  If it glows, you like butter like I do!

I know that they are considered weeds, but I enjoy seeing them growing.  The bees and some birds eat them when food is scarce.  Unfortunately they are poisonous to livestock and cause blisters in their mouths if eaten.  Farmers do not like them in their fields for this reason.

Behind most homes in Colonial Williamsburg there are lovely gardens that one is welcome to visit.

 This garden was full of lovely tulips!  

Tulips were the queens of the gardens in Williamsburg during this week. They really don't like the very warm weather.  Luckily we were there to see them before the hot weather of Virginia begins.  The Blue Poppy was dancing in the wind as we continued on our walk.

The above two photos do not do justice to this lovely blue, yellow and white garden. 

This white rambling rose was quite spectacular growing on this picket fence. The honey bee agreed.

Though wisteria is on the invasive plant list it is quite beautiful growing on this fence with the Dogwood tree.  

In front of the home there is another lovely bed of tulips.

Grayden and I never tire visiting Colonial Williamsburg.  Thank you for visiting with us!