One Word Photo Challenge: Silver

July 14, 2014 Jamestown Island 049

The Gospel Spreading Church Farm along the Colonial Parkway near Jamestown, Virginia, has remained a working dairy farm since the 1930’s.

With appreciation  to Jennifer Nichole Wells for her One Word Photo Challenge Silver

 

In Search of Silver

Advertisements

After Arthur

July 4, 2014 After Arthur 001

It was a long night with a Category II hurricane blowing up the coast.

From a tropical depression just a day or so ago, this storm quickly bulked up into a strong hurricane.

It came ashore across some of our favorite areas on the Outer Banks of North Carolina during the dark hours of early morning.

We watched the storm’s progress until nearly midnight, and then gave up and went to bed.

 

This great Blue Heron greeted us as we entered the Colonial Parkway after the storm had passed this morning.

This Great Blue Heron greeted us as we entered the Colonial Parkway, after the storm had passed this morning.

 

It grazed my beloved Topsail Island, and was headed to our special spots on Ocracoke and Hatteras as we watched the cast of the Weather Channel struggle against the strong wind and rain describing its progress in painful detail.

This “Arthur” was touching friends and family all across the Carolinas.  We hoped its touch would be as gentle as possible.

The Jamestown ferry navigated a very choppy James River on it route across to Surry County this morning.

The Jamestown ferry navigated a very choppy James River on it route across from Surry County this morning.

We knew that Route 12, where we’ve spent many happy hours driving through the wildlife refuge and photographing the shore birds, would be wrecked by morning.

 

July 4, 2014 After Arthur 028

We love the coast of North Carolina and Virgina. 

A hurricane on this special holiday weekend is the last thing we wanted to watch; and yet we watched the unfolding, hoping it would weaken and turn away from the coast.

 

July 4, 2014 After Arthur 053

I awakened a little before three AM to the sound of wind in the garden and rain on the roof.

I had to know the progress of the storm and the updated forecast.  So as quietly as possible, I headed back to the TV, pillow in hand.

Our local meteorologists were broadcasting the story all night long.

Their reporters stood in the weather giving updates, alongside crews from The Weather Channel and other networks.

 

The path to the beach was wet this morning.

The path to the beach was wet this morning.

At three I heard of a possible tornado on the Lynnhaven Inlet at Virginia Beach. 

The warnings were extending northwards.  I watched and worked my counted cross stitch for the next hour, until it was clear the storm had begun to move out to sea.

Then to the couch for a little sleep.

 

Though the sky is mostly clear, the wind has been with us all day.

Though the sky is mostly clear, the wind has been with us all day.  The sky was full of Eagles over the Colonial Parkway this morning.

I checked in again at five, and saw that somehow Jim Cantore was still standing in Buxton.

We had assumed that his producers were planning a Coast Guard rescue by helicopter, once that part of the island completely over-washed in the waves.

That would make really good TV, and could be re-played by the Weather Channel cast for years to come.

But, alas, he had found a steel and concrete structure and was braced against it, barely able to stand, ankle deep in sea water; but still giving live commentary as the storm rolled past.

An Osprey Eagle greeting the morning, after the storm had passed.

An Osprey Eagle greeting the morning, after the storm had passed.

By a quarter to six, the forecast track clearly showed the storm turning out to sea.

We were getting our much needed rain, and I still could  hear the wind blowing through the trees.  But the tornado warnings were gone.

I decided to get some more sleep.

The Canada geese had come together in large flocks along the banks of the river to ride out the storm.

The Canada geese had come together in large flocks along the banks of the river to ride out the storm.

By the time I awoke again a little after seven, it was light outside. A gorgeous morning here with light rain and cool, moist breezes greeted us.

July 4, 2014 After Arthur 086

We decided to head out to the Parkway to see what the morning held, and what the storm had left behind.

This beautiful Eastern Box Turtle was bravng the quiet morning on Jamestown Island.

This beautiful Eastern Box Turtle was braving the quiet morning on Jamestown Island.

A few branches had blown down, but we were so very fortunate to have no  real damage.

Our power was on, there was no flooding near us, and the trees in our community stood through the night.

And this snake was sunning himself along the road on the island.

And this snake was sunning himself along the road on the island.

We saw the outermost curved band of “Arthur” in the sky as we left our driveway.

The duck blind, in the shelter of Cypress trees, withstood the winds overnight.

The duck blind, in the shelter of Cypress trees, withstood the winds overnight.

It was a thin skim of clouds against the clearing morning sky.

Crabs live in our brackish marshes.  They didn't mind the storm at all.

Crabs live in our brackish marshes. They didn’t mind the storm at all.

The wind is still with us this afternoon. 

The storm continues moving north and east, towards another landfall in New England.

July 4, 2014 After Arthur 008

I hope all touched by the storm can pick up the pieces, clean up the mess, and move on from this.

 

This golden dragonfly lives in our garden.

This golden dragonfly lives in our garden.  We are glad to see he found shelter from the wind, and was out enjoying the sunshine by the time we returned home.

It is only the first  named storm of the tropical season. 

We’ll be watching our coastal waters from now until the end of November, hoping that all of the systems which form stay well out to sea, and far away from our beautiful coasts and our loved ones.

 

July 4, 2014 After Arthur 073

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Families Flock Together For Father’s Day

Canada Geese gathered on the bank of the James River today.

Canada Geese gathered on the bank of the James River today.

Families are flocking together here in Williamsburg to celebrate one of the most enjoyable holiday weekends all year.

At the beginning of summer, with all of the commencements, graduations, and “moving up” ceremonies complete, there is a communal sigh of relief to have made it to summer vacation time once again.

A few weeks break in the break-neck schedule most families keep is a welcome respite.

Wildflowers at the end of DoG St. in Colonial Williamsburg this afternoon.

Wildflowers at the end of DoG St. in Colonial Williamsburg this afternoon.

Finally, a little unstructured time to enjoy the pleasures of summer:  cookouts, fishing, afternoons of swimming and catching the sun on a peaceful beach somewhere.

And our beloved Colonial Parkway was nearly bumper to bumper with visitors today enjoying this cool, sunny June Saturday together.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you who offer strength and guidance to the young folks in your life. 

Near the Colonial Capitol

Near the Colonial Capitol

There is no substitute for a wise and loving Dad in one’s life, no matter how old or young we find ourselves.

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful weekend with someone you love!

Daylilies in bloom for Father's Day weekend in Virginia.

Daylilies in bloom for Father’s Day weekend in Virginia.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

June 14, 2014 trees 026

May Evening

May 27. 2014 Herons 039

“When despair for the world grows in me,

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be —

I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water,

and the great heron feeds.

May 27. 2014 Herons 037

“I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought or grief.

I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.

For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

Wendell Berry

May 27. 2014 Herons 035

We came out of the coolness of the house this evening as the clouds were gathering, sun setting, and temperatures dropping.

We first went to visit and photograph a friend’s garden, and then drove right past the road towards home heading for an evening drive along the Colonial Parkway.

Our friends' forest garden, full of Mountain Laurel and lush with trees and ivy.

Our friends’ forest garden, full of Mountain Laurel and lush with trees and ivy.

The water, marshes, wildflowers and great trees make this a soothing place.

Such a treasure of mostly undisturbed eco-system where the great birds find safe havens and abundant food for their young.

May 27. 2014 Herons 036

After the first mile we spotted a Great Blue Heron wading in the marsh near where fishermen park and wander down to the bank of the creek with their coolers and poles.

No one was fishing tonight, so we pulled in , and I hiked back to where I could get a clear view of the heron through the trees .

May 27. 2014 Herons 051

A peaceful and soothing evening, but you must know that the air was thick with Mayflies and heavy with the approaching rain.

Definitely not a place I wanted to linger, with flies landing on hand and camera as I searched for that angle with a clear view through the dense branches.

Flies still hovering, I slipped back into the cool safety of our car for a short ride to the parking lot

May 27. 2014 Herons 050

We had already spotted two more herons on the opposite bank, and a Bald Eagle watching from a pine.

May 27. 2014 Herons 048

Another hike down the path to the beach, but the breeze off the James River smelled fresh and kept the flies at a distance.

The beach was nearly deserted; the best time to find birds.

May 27. 2014 Herons 055

After yesterday’s crowded lots and full beaches, we enjoyed the silence and emptiness of the park this evening.

Fellow photographers leap-frogged with us from spot to spot along the way to Jamestown Beach.

My partner has a good eye for spotting wild life, and often mentions turtles and ground hogs, rabbits and lizards- only a few of which I see.

May 27. 2014 Herons 061

He spotted this next heron, and made a wide U-turn to head back to share it with me.

He simply said, “Have your camera ready.”

What a beautiful surprise when we pulled up, alone on the road, and close enough to take photos from the car’s open window!

May 27. 2014 Herons 063

We watched the clouds grow heavier and closer against the water.  We could smell the coming rain.

May 27. 2014 Herons 056

The geese were gathering into flocks for the night, the solitary herons looking for one more fish before their sharp eyes could no longer penetrate the shallows were they waited.

Ospreys, deep in meditation on the abundant beauty of it all, sat still as sculptures on their nests.

This early summer evening offered its gift of peacefulness, wrapped in thick, fragrant May ethers.

May 27. 2014 Herons 066

The Mayflies gradually faded away; and as evening turned to shadows, we allowed ourselves another moment to contemplate the abundant beauty of it all.

“To stand at the edge of the sea,

to sense the ebb and flow of the tides,

to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh,

To watch the flight of shore birds

that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents

for untold thousands of years,

to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea,

is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal

as any Earthly life can be.”

Rachel Carson

May 27. 2014 Herons 068

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

May 27. 2014 Herons 064

Wings

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

We went to the Parkway in search of birds today, and began to find them almost immediately. 

Our Great Blue Heron a moment before he took flight.

Our Great Blue Heron a moment before he took flight.

Wading, perching, flying, eating, swimming, resting; the birds have returned.

Another Great Blue Heron, a little farther down the Parkway, near the College Creek bridge.

Another Great Blue Heron, a little farther down the Parkway, near the College Creek bridge.

Everywhere we went we heard birdsong.  The little ones darted past us in quick flights from perch to perch.

March 5 2014 parkway birds 061

There were dozens of scarlet cardinals, with their brownish mates.  We saw bluebirds, starlings, clouds of red winged black birds, and dozens more who moved to fast to name.

A flock of Red Winged Blackbirds

A flock of Red Winged Blackbirds

Of course our Red-tailed Hawk was there surveying his marsh.

March 5 2014 parkway birds 009

Red-Tailed Hawk

And the Great Blue Herons fished in the shallows of College Creek.

Canada Geese gathered on the James, and on its muddy rain-soaked banks, looking for shelter.

March 5 2014 parkway birds 062

Canada Geese on the James River

Another grey day, with low sky and  chilly wind.  At least we were thawing out here today.  But the persistent damp and cold faded against the brilliant beauty of the wild birds returning to the park.

Duck's where the James empties into College Creek.

Ducks where the James empties into College Creek.

We noticed trees budding against the grey clouds.  There is a quickening; an impatience  to begin the season. 

March 5 2014 parkway birds 060

We felt it in the movement of the birds today, the beat of their wings and their lively chatter.

March 5 2014 parkway birds 078

So come along to the Colonial Parkway, in James City County, beside the James River.  Join us as we watch for wings.

March 5 2014 parkway birds 032

All Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

March 5 2014 parkway birds 013

We love this photo of the bank of College Creek, to the right of the Colonial Parkway bridge. Relax your eyes. Can you spot the “faces” in the side of the bank? Can you spot the “caves” along the shoreline? This is a favorite fishing spot during most of the season.   (click on any photo to enlarge it)

 

March 5 2014 parkway birds 001

 

Geese behind our friends’ home on College Creek

A Red Tailed Hawk, and Its Neighbors

February 18 2014 parkway 006

This beautiful Red Tailed Hawk patiently allowed me to take photo after photo,  slowly making my way around the cedar tree where he was perched.

Finally, as I stood at the base of the tree, in his line of sight,  he decided enough was enough, and off he went.

February 18 2014 parkway 011

The Colonial Parkway was alive with birds today.  Red Tailed Hawk, and his many avian neighbors, were out enjoying the day.

February 18 2014 parkway 012

Although their patience with your photographer was a bit limited….

February 18 2014 parkway 014

Canada Geese, Great Blue Herons, a large black vulture on a low branch, crows, gulls in from the coast, and even a few Bald Eagles could be found along the river. 

February 18 2014 parkway 069

It reached 60 degrees today while we visited with the birds.  It is the first time in several weeks our temperatures have been so warm.  The birds surely have enjoyed the break in the weather as much as we have today.

February 18 2014 parkway 064

The clouds steadily grew thicker as the sun fell lower in the sky. 

February 18 2014 parkway 077

Even though the ground is puddled, soft, and muddy, more rain is on its way.  We watched the clouds gathering from the west.

February 18 2014 parkway 047

A little sun and warmth goes a long way towards brightening the spirit, and drawing us back out to the Parkway.

February 18 2014 parkway 081

And though the landscape is still tight and wintery here along the James River,  we had fine company today from our feathered neighbors.

February 18 2014 parkway 079

All Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

February 18 2014 parkway 080

Frozen

January 24 ice 065

For three days now the world has been frozen.

Rock hard ground, sheathed in ice and snow;

January 24 ice 015

The larder is locked.January 24 2014 birds 034

Any worms or insects the birds might hope to find,

Securely encased in frozen mud.

Any fallen seeds,  buried under ice.

 

Berries top the bird buffet;

Berries, and any human offerings

Left  behind in kindness, to sustain

The great, gathering flocksJanuary 24 2014 birds 033

In search of food.

Food to fuel survival

Until the world grows soft again,

And offers up its bounty.

January 24 ice 040

The world is frozen,

A glinting, glimmering, hard and shiny

Version of itself.

January 24 ice 046

White sunlight bouncing from ground to leaf

To icicle adorned landscape;

January 24 ice 048

Glinting in eye piercing patches of brightest light

From water and snow.

This frozen light,

Clear and hard;

Offers no warmth.

January 24 ice 019

The world is frozen, brittle, sharp and painful.

Wind sucking warmth from finger and face,

Snow numbing toes and hands.

January 24 ice 030

Icicles threatening like crystal knives,

Gathering girth as frozen night follows frigid day.

January 24 ice 008

Birds crunch frozen berries from ice glazed shrubs,

Filling their gullets with ice,

Flying to keep from freezing, staying close in

Living clouds of winged family flocks.

January 24 ice 038

Ruffling feathers against the wind,

Standing on ice, wading in briny waves.

January 24 ice 052

A small miracle, to remain warm

And alive,

In this world of ice.

January 24 ice 054

Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

What is There To Eat?

Bringing Birds To The Garden

Families Gathering

Ligustrum in the Winter Garden

Snow Washed

January 24 2014 birds 017

Nature’s Wisdom and Tuesday Snapshots

A secluded marsh on Jamestown Island.  Do you see the orbs?

A secluded marsh on Jamestown Island. Do you see the orbs?

We took a ride on the Colonial Parkway again yesterday since it was such a gorgeous day.  A federal holiday in the United States, we had spring like weather, clear skies,  and a brief respite from winter.

Sunny and 63 degrees, it felt like spring, though we are still deep in January.

Sunny and 63 degrees, it felt like spring, though we are still deep in January.

With schools, banks, post offices, and government offices closed,  many could travel to enjoy the three day weekend.  The Colonial Parkway had a busy, vacation time feel, with more visitors than we’ve seen in a very long time.  The best fishing spots were occupied with happy anglers.

We were out, again, looking for birds to photograph.  We had seen so many on Sunday, we were sure that we’d find many more in the far warmer weather on Monday.  But that was not the case.  Where have the birds gone?

The eagles' favorite trees were empty, as were their nests.

The eagles’ favorite trees were empty, as were their nests.

January 19 birds 018

This heron wading on Sunday was no where to be seen by Monday.

All the favorite eagle perching trees were empty, and we didn’t see them in the sky.  The nests looked abandoned.  No Great Blue Herons waded in the shallows, and no Black Vultures gathered around the deer carcass still lying beside the road.  We did spot two perched companionably together in the top of a nearby tree, but the great gathering had dissipated.

Only a few brave Canada geese grazed near the river on Monday afternoon.

Only a few brave Canada geese grazed near the river on Monday afternoon.

All we found was a small flock or red winged black birds, a handful of geese, and a few white gulls.  Everyone else had disappeared on this clear, bright, warm  winter day.  We think they sense the storm coming out of the north, and have moved further inland.  At the least, they have already taken shelter from the wind and snow already on its way.

The Colonial Parkway on a spring like January day saw heavy traffic from visitors.

The Colonial Parkway on a spring like January day saw heavy traffic from visitors.

This morning dawned clear and mild, but the weather front has crept ever closer as the day has worn on.  Our 60 degree temperatures yesterday afternoon will soon transform into frigid teens later tonight.   The forecasters still don’t agree on how much snow will accumulate here in Williamsburg, but snow is on the way.

Monday was a beautiful day for walking on the beach of the James River.

Monday was a beautiful day for walking on the beach of the James River.

And the birds must feel the coming change.  As the gulls had already flown in from the coast this weekend to our Jamestown marshes, so I’m sure they have moved on elsewhere by now:  Nature’s wordless wisdom in action.

January 20 parkway 030

Sunset Monday afternoon as families loaded dogs and fishing equipment into their cars to head home.

One could not ask for a finer January weekend than we have just enjoyed.  Since we’ve had the opportunity to get outside and be a part of it,  I will share a few photos, which didn’t make it into other posts, in today’s Tuesday Snapshots.

All Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Families Gathering On A Sunday Afternoon

Families Gathering On A Sunday Afternoon

January 19 birds 023

Sunday afternoon, and family gathers together; usually to share a meal.

January 19 birds 048

Sunday afternoons stretch before us as generations gather together, to share, to visit, to instruct, and to relax.

January 20 parkway 003

A timeless tradition of taking a moment out of the flow of time; an unscheduled moment to rest, and catch one’s breath.

January 20 parkway 019

Family unites us.  We “birds of a feather” come together to celebrate our commonalities, our history, our concern for one another.

January 19 birds 020

So let us celebrate family.  Families who share common blood, and also families who share only their common interests and love for one another;

January 19 birds 037

Families who come together out of necessity, and families who choose each other to create new family ties, where none were before.

January 20 parkway 016

All you need is love…

All Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It’s easy

There’s nothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
It’s easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

John Lennon and Paul McCartney
What’s There To Eat? (Forest Garden)

The First Golden Dandelion Blosssom

January 19 birds 011

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.

January 19 birds 036

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.

January 19 birds 007

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.

January 19 birds 008

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.

January 19 birds 015

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.

January 19 birds 013

January 19 birds 024

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.

January 19 birds 067

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.

January 19 birds 049

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.

January 19 birds 010

All Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 667 other followers

Follow Forest Garden on WordPress.com
Order Classic Caladiums

This Month’s Posts

Topics of Interest