Suet Feeder Shenanigans

It seems that spring brings out all kinds of characters ….

Today is the first time I’ve seen a Pileated Woodpecker this close to the house, although I’ve heard him in the nearby woods.
Pileated Woodpecker on Suet Feeder

This Red Bellied Woodpecker fends off a challenge from a larger Blue Jay, while a Brown Thrasher looks on.
RedBellied-vs-BlueJay

Here’s proof that Gray Catbirds can share, although you most often see them alone. Notice the rust-colored undertail coverts.
ThreeCatbirds

Spring Flowers Awakening

The bright daffodils have always meant spring to me, but this morning I saw them in a whole new light, thanks to something I read.

Single daffodil flower on a black background

Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature.

The first recognition of beauty was one of the most significant events in the evolution of human consciousness. The feelings of joy and love are intrinsically connected to that recognition. Without our fully realizing it, flowers would become for us an expression in form of that which is most high, most sacred, and ultimately formless within ourselves.

Flowers, more fleeting, more ethereal and more delicate than the plants out of which they emerged, would become like messengers from another realm, like a bridge between the world of physical forms and the formless. They not only had a scent that was delicate and pleasing to humans, but also brought a fragrance from the realm of spirit.

Using the word “enlightenment” in a wider sense than the conventionally accepted one, we could look upon flowers as the enlightenment of plants.

– Eckhart Tolle, “A New Earth”

Taking and posting that daffodil picture was inspired by a friend of mine who recommended this book from which the above quote is taken.

Book Cover: Eckhart Tolle A New EarthAmazon lets you read it online as soon as you purchase it (even a used hardcover like I bought).

Enjoy!

Icy Looking Glass Falls

The temp was 12F which is cold for this part of the world. But this morning I wanted to see an icy waterfall, so I put on my warmest clothes, took my coffee, camera and tripod and headed north on Hwy 276.

12F at 7:04 am

Like most falls that drop more than a few feet, there is a constant mist soaking everything nearby, encouraging moss and ferns to grow.  However, when the air temp has been well below freezing all night, everything is sheathed in ice. Here is a series of photos I took this morning. The blurriness of some is because of ice on the lens filter which I had to scrape off with my fingernail. It made a “romantic”, vignette effect … completely unplanned, but nice. As usual, I slightly increased the contrast and deepened the colors to make it look more like what I actually saw. Compare these with ones taken in the fall.

Overview of Icy Falls

Closeup of icy falls

Closer up of falls

Falls with icy branches

Bent icicles

Pointy log in icy stream

Icy tree trunk

The view downstream

Looking Glass Falls is a few miles north of Brevard on Hwy 276 and is visible on the right side of the road with easy concrete stairs going down to near the base, making it VERY popular when the weather is nice. However, I was the only one there this morning.

Ron standing on the walk in front of Looking Glass Falls

Sibly Pond Reflections

I think this is a nice abstract taken of a reflection of trees and leaves at Sibley Pond in Marietta GA.

SiblyPondReflections-small

I went down to this peaceful place one morning in May 2015 to meditate and think about the commitment I just made to move away from Marietta and basically start a new life in Brevard, NC.

Looking Glass Falls

Just a few miles north of Brevard on Hwy 276 is this most accessible, picturesque and classic waterfall.
LookingGlassFallsAndLeaves

You can literally see it from your car, but it is worth getting out and walking down to on the well maintained boardwalk any time or day of the year (especially in the early morning when it’s not crowded with tourists).

LookingGlassFallsCloseupSmall-HDR

Brevard Area Geography

The landscape near my adopted home town of Brevard NC is dominated not by the mountains and the waterfalls (which Transylvania County is famous for), but the broad fertile plain of the French Broad River. It is one of the oldest rivers in one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. Its meandering character contrasts with the many waterfalls and narrow valleys surrounding it.

We are in a fertile valley on a plateau nestled between the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment (along the Eastern Continental Divide) to the south and the Southern Appalachian mountains to the north and west. It is geologically stable, and hurricanes and tornadoes lose their fury before getting here.

This land must have seemed like a paradise to the original human inhabitants who probably lived happily here for thousands of years. The plentiful rainfall, fresh water, varied terrain and fertile soil creates many diverse habitats and a rich ecology. If I was the leader of a tribe, I would take advantage of the abundance of animal and plant life for hunting, fishing, clothing, cultivation and medicines and make a “permanent” settlement.

… more later … this post is a work in process

.
.
.
.
.

If you want to go way back in time here are some good links to help visualize the geologic history of the southern Appalachians.
Here is a series of 5, 10 minute videos.
Here is the Wikipedia page.

.
.
.