The First Golden Dandelion Blosssom

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The first golden dandelion blossom of spring sits blooming in an open spot on the Colonial Parkway.  Here it is, in all of its exuberance, as it greeted the sun today.

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Everywhere, feathers lay in the grass like winter flowers. Only one dandelion, but plentiful feathers.                                                        

So often our dandelions are overlooked at best.  But today, in the midst of January, this tiny little blossom brought a smile.  It is a reminder that winter is passing; spring truly is stirring around us.

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My eyes were mostly directed upwards today, searching for birds.  And birds we found!

The first, friend red tailed hawk, happily sat on his branch, looking out across the James River, through our entire visit.

Which is remarkable chiefly because a whole car load of serious “tri-pod toting” photographers pulled in as I was angling into position to get my photos of him.  I was afraid I’d spook him and he’d fly before they got all of their equipment in place.

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But he seemed to recognize us all, and know we meant him no harm. He sat stoically, turning his head this way and that, like an experienced and somewhat bored model, while we all zeroed in on the angles we wanted for our photos.  The patient hawk simply sat on his high perch, watching.

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A Great Blue Heron wades in the marsh beside a muskrat family’s “push up” winter home.

I left the group to their serious photography and took off with my little camera in search of other interesting scenes.  And was not disappointed.

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A black vulture, one of a great family group, keeps watch while others eat.

A beautiful Great Blue Heron stood wading in the shallow marsh near a “push up,” as though hoping the resident muskrat would pop out and visit for awhile.  He waited patiently, and happily allowed me to make all the photos I wished.

A warm golden day here in Williamsburg brought us all together.  Everywhere we went there were photographers in search of that perfect photo, families fishing from the beach, and even runners.

What is it, hiding amongst the rocks on the riverbank?

What is it, hiding amongst the rocks on the riverbank?

The photographers were hunting for eagle photos today.  They had been checking all the nesting sites they know, but hadn’t spotted a great bird until they found our friend hawk.  Heading in the way from which they came, we counted ourselves fortunate to spot quite a few.  A huge, old eagle serenely perched in the very tip top of a decaying pine, surveying the marsh.

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The marsh is home to many eagles, who perch in the tops of dead trees near the water’s edge.

We were crossing a bridge when we spotted him, and with no safe place to pull over, and cars coming up behind, we drove on without a photo to share.  His large white head shone in the sunlight, silhouetted against an impossibly clear blue sky.

But there were others, riding the air currents high above forest and marsh.  And flocks of gulls, families of geese, a group of black vultures.  It was a busy day, a respite for human and bird alike to come out into the winter sunshine before the next bout of cold sweeps into the neighborhood tomorrow night.

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And, we found the first golden dandelion blossom of the new year, face bravely turned into the winter sun, opening to the beauty of it all.

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All Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

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