Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cardinals and Hummingbirds Grace Backyard Feeders

My backyard bird feeders have been staying busy this summer. It's been all I can do to keep the tubes and suet holders stocked!
Northern Cardinals (a pair seen here), Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Downy and Red-belled Woodpeckers are the most common visitors.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Mississippi Kite and Heron In My Hood!

It's pretty neat (and convenient!) as a birder and nature photographer to have a regular "supply" of birds- large and small- frequent my neighborhood in North Charleston, S.C. We have lots of trees and several ponds so that's a plus, and it's generally pretty quite around here.
Just the other day, I first heard, then spotted, then went inside and grabbed my camera and monopod to try to photograph this bird, perching high atop a pine tree in a neighbor's backyard.

I figured it was a hawk, but have now learned, through a trusted social media site, that it is a juvenile Mississippi Kite.
Whatbird.com has a wonderful forum for bird identification.

The forum is free to join and use. You just have to sign up (username, password, etc.) and then you can post photos of birds you need help identifying, or help those in such need with your expertise.

This post today took much longer than normal for positive IDs to come in, but it was certainly worth the wait!

A few days after taking the above images, I had another opportunity to photograph a young Mississippi kite.

This one may be the same bird I photographed earlier. The location was different, but also a pine tree in my neighborhood.
I have no question as to this type of big bird.
This, of course, is the magnificent Great Blue Heron, which stood for a long time near the pond that is close to my backyard.
Great Blue was ready for a closeup.  This is a great bird to photograph because it will often be statue-still for great lengths of time.

I continue to see and hear Kites in my neighborhood, so will be alert to more photo ops with this magnificent creature!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Painted Bunting a Donnelley Delight!

On Sunday, July 23 we braved the Lowcountry heat and humidity and ventured south to the ACE Basin's Donnelley Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

For us, the drive is about 50 miles. Donnelley is located off Highway 17 in the metropolis (ha!) of Green Pond, S.C.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Paris Finale Post: Luxembourg Palace, Roland Garros and More Eiffel Tower

Spending a week and a half in Paris was such a great (and perhaps once in a lifetime) opportunity to soak up the history, architecture and atmosphere of the "City of Light."

Toward the end of the trip I made a list of the key attractions I had visited, some by myself but most with Alesia and our two boys and Joseph's girlfriend.
My list came to 16, many of which I have documented in the posts preceding this one.
This final Paris post will cover some sites not previously covered and also will include street scenes such as this one. The domed building is part of the College of Sorbonne, which was founded way back in 1253 as a theological institution. The chapel, built in the baroque style, dates to 1635.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Invigorating and Vexing Versailles Visit!

Getting outside of Paris to Versailles proved to be a transportation quagmire for us.

What should have been a two-connection train trip of maybe an hour took us more than three hours, hence "vexing" in the title of this post.
But it was all worth the trouble to see this beautiful palace and the lovely landscaped gardens around it.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

French Army Museum and Napoleon's Tomb at Les Invalides

Les Invalides is a Paris attraction I was not familiar with before coming here.

But it is a place I thoroughly enjoyed visiting.
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Arc de Triomphe a BIG Surprise!

The first thing that struck me after exiting the underground Paris Metro stop, going up the stairs and first seeing IT was just how big IT is!

The Arc du Triomphe is one colossal and impressive monument.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Louvre's Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Napolean and More

For first time visitors to Paris like myself, the world renowned Louvre Museum is on the short list of must-see places.

According to Wikipedia, it is the world's largest museum and the second most visited art museum, behind only Beijing, China's Palace Museum.

The massive museum is more than 780,000 square feet in size with 38,000 objects "from prehistory to the 21st century" (Wikipedia).

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Old Paris Cemeteries Exude Unique Artistry

A dazzling and dizzying variety of grave markers are daily on public display to those who care to visit places of death.
This image is a microcosm of how there are so many different ways people can be honored and remembered with cemetery art.
On the left is a life size figure of someone who must have been very important during his life in Paris or elsewhere in France.
And on the right is an ancient gowned woman in a mourning pose with a lyre behind her.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Notre Dame Cathedral Amazes on Many Levels

The great Cathedrale Notre-Dame du Paris has so many design features on its exterior that many satisfying hours could be spent studying those without ever going inside the sacred church.