Posted on April 11th, 2013 No comments
As my wife and I were returning from North Carolina on Monday, we passed a huge display of Trillium grandiflorum along the roadway. (Several Trillium simile also included – we’ll see those later.) Amongst the display I found this double form of the plant. I don’t recall seeing one before. 6 petals, 6 leaves (bracts), 6 sepals (presumably, I see 5 in the photo, but didn’t count because I was precariously positioned on the roadbank taking the photo.)
Posted on February 5th, 2013 2 comments
On Monday, Feb 4, I took a ride down to The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain with a couple of my grandsons – Chase and Jeff. To a great extent this was to get them out from in front of their computers/video games, but also, since we’ve had such a warm winter, to check to see if there were any early signs of spring. We walked the boardwalk and all the way up to and above the falls. We had a good time, and even though I was expecting some indication that spring is around the corner, I was surprised…
Posted on January 31st, 2013 No comments
From time to time my wife claims that I can be obsessive, but I don’t know what she’s talking about. On a completely unrelated subject, I’ve been to the Chattanooga Riverwalk at least 5 times in the past couple of weeks. On Mondays I have the privilege of spending the afternoon with two of my home-school grandsons, Chase and Jeff, so this week we walked a couple of miles of the Chattanooga Riverwalk, and then on Tuesday Cindy and I visited the pond next to the Curtain Pole Road parking area of the Riverwalk. They were a good two days for our birding – we were able to photograph three lifers we’ve seen during these couple of weeks of walking the Riverwalk. Here are some photos; the Gadwalls and Mergansers are from the pond next to Curtain Pole Road, and the Green-winged Teal was on the pond at Amnicola Marsh.
Posted on January 26th, 2013 No comments
A doctor’s appointment took me out to the foot of Missionary Ridge on Thursday morning, and since I was out in the vicinity I decided to make another visit to the Amnicola Marsh along the Chattanooga Riverwalk. I was hoping to get a closer look at the Hooded Mergansers we’d spotted a week earlier. And while those ducks were there, I once again proved that not only am I a rookie as a birder, I’m still a rookie as a bird photographer. I can get frame-filling photos of birds that act like wildflowers – allowing me to approach closely and spend some time taking several photos, as did the Canada Goose and the Mockingbird shown below.
Posted on January 24th, 2013 No comments
There is a small but scientifically significant marsh on the top of Pigeon Mountain in Walker County, Georgia. While my many visits to Pigeon Mountain are for wildflower photography, there’s not a lot of that going on in January, so my wife and two of our grandsons visited the Pigeon Marsh on Wednesday, Jan 23. This marsh was shown to me a year or so ago by Jay Clark, a gentleman with more knowledge of the natural history of Pigeon Mountain than any other I know.
Posted on January 22nd, 2013 No comments
On the 3rd day with sunshine after a week and a half of rain, we wanted to get outside. After church and lunch on Sunday, Cindy and I went up to Cloudland Canyon State Park. Yes, again! It was a lovely afternoon as we enjoyed the sunshine – and saw the temperature drop about 20 degrees within 30 minutes of the sun dropping below the horizon. Here are a half-dozen photos from the day.
Posted on January 20th, 2013 No comments
Cindy and I decided to take advantage of the first sunshine in 9 days by driving up to the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Meigs County, TN on Friday (Jan 18.) Over the past decade this area has become a main overwintering stop for Sandhill Crane. We had gone up there in mid-November to check them out (and the excellent nearby Cherokee Removal Memorial Park,) and we did get to see a number of the cranes, but none closer than probably 1/4 mile. We were really hoping to get a closer look, and we did, but not quite what we wanted. We saw a couple dozen of these large birds, but none closer that probably 150 yards. After we watched these birds for a while with the couple of dozen other birders there, we went down to Harrison Bay State Park, and photographed some ducks and coots. Here are some photos.
Posted on January 19th, 2013 2 comments
I’ve posted most of these photos on Facebook and Twitter already, but in my semi-retirement I am more and more using the Journal to try to track some of my activities – Cindy and I are finding ourselves asking each other “What did we do last week?” Some of those Journal entries are just private notes as to what we did, but some, like this one, might have some community interest. This is one of those.
Since I work part-time now, my weekend usually starts on Thursday afternoon, but this week some projects used more of my time earlier in the week so I finished up a couple of hours earlier than usual. We’d had rain (lots of rain) for 9 days in a row, and there was slight break in the rain before a cold front came through bringing more rain and possibly snow (some nearby areas got some; we didn’t.) I decided to take that break as an opportunity to run up to Cloudland Canyon State Park to see what the waterfalls looked like after all the rain.
The first waterfalls that I saw wasn’t one that I expected. During normal water levels you don’t even notice this one across the canyon from the main overlook. I suspect that during dry weather there may be no water at all in this unnamed stream tumbling down the bluff.
Posted on January 13th, 2013 2 comments
Chattanooga has done a great job of developing its riverfront and greenways over the past 20 years. The Riverwalk that runs for 10 miles along or near the Tennessee River from the Tennessee Aquarium on the riverfront in downtown Chattanooga all the way up to Chickamauga Dam is a jewel of that development. It’s one that I’ve so far neglected to explore except for a couple of small pieces. My wife, Cindy, and I will start trying to correct that neglect. On Friday and Saturday we walked and photographed a section of the Riverwalk near the Amnicola Marsh, visited the bridge over Chickamauga Creek, and also enjoyed a Great Blue Heron rookery on the Chattanooga State Community College campus. Here are a few photographs from this past week.
Posted on November 10th, 2012 No comments
In early September I did a Boundary Waters canoe trip with a couple of friends – great time with them, and great to get back after several years of absence. One of the plants I photographed was a large shrub with white berries. I hadn’t been able to identify it until recently, when I was browsing my copy of Idaho Mountain Wildflowers – A. Scott Earle and saw those white berries in a photo. Slapped my forehead – Dogwood! Red-osier Dogwood has WHITE berries! A bit more research on what Cornus species were found in Minnesota ensured that this was Cornus sericea. I like reducing that list of “Unidentified” in my photo catalog.
Posted on November 9th, 2012 2 comments
Raccoon Mountain is near Chattanooga Tennessee, and in the 1970′s TVA built a power storage system on the mountain – they pump water out of the Tennessee River during periods of low electricity usage, storing it in a reservoir at the top of the mountain, then use that water to turn turbines to generate electricity during period of high demand. But TVA has developed it, as with many of their properties, for some recreational uses, including hiking and mountain biking. But it’s also a really nice drive, with great view of the area. Much to my embarrasment, I’ve only been up on the top once or twice. Today was beautiful, and my wife and I spent a GREAT day driving, walking, and photographing the fall colors around Raccoon Mountain today. Here are a dozen photos.
First, a view from the reservoir dam looking across the gorge that many refer to as “The Grand Canyon of the Tennessee River.” As usual, click on the photo to go to Flickr where you can view a larger version.
Posted on October 27th, 2012 2 comments
Cindy and I took a drive over to Franklin, Tennessee yesterday (Friday, Oct 26). We were going to Carnton Mansion, but Franklin was in the cold, wet front that was headed our way, so we decided to do Carnton on another trip. As we drove back east, things got warmer and brighter. Here are a couple of photos from that drive.
Posted on October 20th, 2012 No comments
Pigeon Mountain – a major spur of Lookout Mountain – is a wonderful place, even outside the fabulous wildflower site called The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain. During hunting season – turkey in the spring, and deer in the fall – there are a few roads opened that are closed the rest of the year. These were opened in early September at the beginning of archery season (firearms deer season started today – Saturday, Oct 20, 2012.) I was fortunate enough to get down onto two of these - Estelle Mine Road and Owl Hollow over the past couple of days. Ostensibly the trip on Friday was to photograph an Agalinis species that I really wanted to be, as reported by others, Agilinis decemloba. I got the photo, and I think it’s likely Agalinis tenuifolia instead.
While I was disappointed not to fine retuse corolla lobes on the Agalinis, Friday at Pigeon Mountain, followed with a wonderful drive with my wife on Saturday morning up the Estelle Mine Road, was anything but disappointing. Check out a few of the photos I took on those two days…
Posted on October 12th, 2012 4 comments
My wife and I were going over to Waynesville, NC on Thursday to pick up a granddaughter who had been spending a few days with her best friend from Papua New Guinea. Being the fall color season, we wanted to take some time for some photographs in the mountains, so we left early, before 7 AM. It turned out that sunrise was just as we were getting to Lake Ocoee (also known as Parksville Lake), and the cool morning brought fog and mist with it. We also had time to take brief drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the daytrip to Waynesville.
Posted on October 4th, 2012 No comments
We’ve been driving past some nice stands of Jerusalem Artichoke – Helianthus tuberosus – in various places in Walker county over the past week or so. This morning was a nice foggy morning, so I took advantage of the soft light so, hoping to get some added interest from the dew, and headed out to a nearby patch with my camera.