Whooping cranes

On my third trip to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, I finally was able to see a rare Whooping Crane.  We actually got to see three. One was at the observation building at the refuge (Alabama Birding site #16) and put on a show splashing around and and flying from one side of the slough to the other.

During the last count there was over 30,000 sandhills, a little over twenty whooping cranes.  In addition to a lot of sandhills, we also saw a lot of American Wigeon, Mallards, a few Ring Neck and Northern Shover ducks and some geese.   A harrier hawk hovered around the building so close I had trouble focusing on it with my 400mm lens with a 1.4 extender.

On the way home, we stopped at Mallard Fox WMA (Alabama Birding site #1) and saw a couple of Whooping cranes and a few Great Blue herons.

Please check out my GRIT magazine blog post:

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Wheeler Wildlife Refuge

I retired from ECM Hospital yesterday.  Since it was a nice day with cold coming in soon, I took a trip over to Wheeler Wildlife Refuge.  So far twenty whooping cranes have migrated in.  After seeing photos of the cranes this week, I thought it would be a good day for seeing the rare birds.  However the cranes had other ideas.  They didn’t show up at the observation building all day today or yesterday.

I did see lots and lots of sandhill cranes, American Wigeon, Gadwall, Northern Pintail, Green-Winged Teal, Snow geese, Ring neck ducks and Greater White-Fronted Goose among others.  On the way home, I swung by Wheeler Dam.

 

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Merry Christmas

My Hooligans Christmas card 2017 

Click on read more for the complete blog post on GRIT magazine.

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Butterflies

 

Some of the end of summer butterflies that have been in my yard the last couple of weeks.  We had a frost last week that has almost finished the zinnias.  They have been a favorite of the butterflies.  The zinnias were also a favorite hiding place for  spiders and praying mantis

The sulfurs seem to favor the pineapple sage.

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Monarch

I’ve had a monarch hanging around my zinnias along the front walk for several days now.  Their numbers have dropped due to removal of their host plant milkweed.  You can help them by planting some in your garden.  I kept a watch on a spider and a preying mantis while it was hanging around.

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Hummingbird migration 2017

Hummingbirds have started their migration to Central America. I have eleven feeders up right now.  It’s like a war zone, I counted twelve hummers around just one of my feeders today.

During migration, instead of using the normal four parts water to one part sugar, I’ve decreased the water to three parts according to what I’ve read on some of the hummingbird sites.  Do not use the red dye stuff. It’s toxic to the little fellars.

Hope you enjoy the vistor’s I had today.

 

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Hummers & flying flowers

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I haven’t been able to post lately. My internet has been sporadic and then my computer was in the shop.

I have eight hummingbird feeders up and it’s still a war zone.

 

Don’t use the red dye stuff as  it’s poisonous.  Use one part sugar o 4 parks hot water.  Mix well, cool and fill feeders.  Replace and clean feeders every 3 to 5 days depending on temperature.  One person told me they had their feeders up and haven’t seen any.  When I asked when was the last time she changed it, oh about three months.   I told her to imagine what sweet tea in the refrigerator that long would taste like.

Butterflies are starting to make their presence.

 

 

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2017 daffodils

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Spring is almost here.  Several of my daffodils are in full bloom right now.

 

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Pelicans at Wilson Dam

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And one Great Blue Heron.

One of my co-workers noticed there was a nail in my tire. He mentioned that it was close to the edge and they might not be able to plug it.

He was right. I landed up replacing a tire with less than 10,000 miles on it.  As I put my credit card in the chip reader, a charge for over $821,000 popped on the the reader.  I thought I was reading it wrong, and looked again, but no I wasn’t.  What? as I pulled my card out of the reader.  A new box he explained and cancelled the transaction.

After getting the correct charge, I’m on the way home.  As I crossed the Patton Island Bridge, I noticed pelicans at the dam, and pulled off and drove down to the Rock Pile Park. It was a beautiful cold crisp afternoon.  Pelicans were all over the water, hundreds of them. As I walked down toward the waterfall I wished I had put my gloves on.  The breeze off of the river was bone chilling.

I took pictures until my hands said they were too cold to function and headed back to my truck and turned the steering wheel heater on.  As I drove back toward the road, I noticed several pelicans near the boat ramp.  This time I put my gloves on and took pictures until they floated or flew off.

As the sun was getting ready to go down, I ventured over to Riverside Park in Sheffield and took a few river sunset pictures.

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Last of the summer butterflies

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I’ve been out of pocket lately.  I’m still trying to get W C Handy pictures posted from July. Patches had surgery twice to place drains in one of her ear flaps. It was puffed up like a balloon.  Blackie is having problems from a shotgun pellet near a joint in her front leg that we may have to do surgery on.

I’ve had a late work schedule and a lot of events to make.

I had butterflies around my zinnias until frost.  I have several of the tall cactus zinnias this year and a few of profussion I normally have.

Please check out the Hooligans Christmas card on my GRIT magazine blog post.

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