What a Beautiful Day!

Today was spectacular! The weather was perfect, and everything about the day warbled spring!

I started the day heading over to pick my mother up for breakfast.  On the way over (less than half a mile, by the way), my daughter and I managed to rescue two animals from being hit by a car.  Granted it was my car, but that’s beside the point.  Before we even got out of the neighborhood, we happened upon a mama bird giving her baby a flying lesson.  Unfortunately, Junior ended up sitting in the middle of the road. My daughter hopped out and got the little fluff-ball out of the road while mama bird watched and squawked a bit nervously.  Then, on my mother’s dirt road, I had to hit the brakes, because there sat a turtle basking in the sun.  My daughter hopped out again and gingerly picked that little guy up and put him on the side of the road out of the way too.  Then it was off to breakfast!

After breakfast, my daughter headed off to work, and Mama decided she wanted to go for a walk (as neither of us really wanted to go home and cut grass).  My feet weren’t quite dressed for the adventure, so we headed back to my house for shoes, water, and of course, my camera.  Then we headed off to Turner Lake Park to walk some trails and photograph whatever caught my fancy.  Boy were there some things to photograph today!

Turtles ruled the pond today!  There were more turtles there today than I have ever seen!  On this log alone, there were 19!

May 02, 2018Turner Lake34.jpg There were at least three different species as far as I could tell, and they were everywhere. I took more photos of turtles on this one day than I have taken in all my years of photography put together.  It was fantastic!

Along the trails, Mama and I talked and talked, and I spotted some small butterflies, a frog, some flowers, some insects…the usual stuff.

As we headed out of the woods and back around the lake, I happened to spot a Great Blue Heron across the water.  I watched him for a bit and took quite a number of photos.  Mama had a bit of trouble seeing him from that distance because he blended in to his environment so well.

As we made our way back toward the car, we stopped by where the geese hang out.  They are pretty used to people hanging about, so they went about their business of preening and napping.  And of course, I sat and watched and photographed.

A couple of squirrels wanted in on the photo shoot too, so I took pictures of their cute little selves.

As we walked away from the geese, however, we saw a very unfortunate little casualty.  A big brown bat was flopping around on the shore.  He seemed very injured and not very interested having anything bother him in what I believe were his final moments.  It was quite sad.  He was quite beautiful.

Then I saw the Great Blue Heron fly over to our side of the pond, so I was able to get a few great shots of him up close.

Then, we headed over to the dock to see the ducks.  There were a few of these guys hanging about.

As we walked out on the dock, I noticed quite a commotion going on in the trees near the water’s edge.  Some birds were having quite a fit over something.  Curious, I headed over to take a look.  I watched them fussing about and carrying on for a bit, and then I noticed what all of the commotion was about.  It appeared that a black racer had invaded the little bluebird couple’s humble abode.  I assume he made a meal out of their future offspring…very sad and unfortunate, but I suppose it is the “circle of life”.  I’ve never really photographed a snake before, so I seized the opportunity born from this unfortunate event.  I was able to get fairly close as he was in a tree and not likely to be able to get at me (though I think he was more afraid of me than the other way around).

We spent about three hours out there at the lake, and we thought we were done with our little adventure.  But just as soon as I turned down the drive to take Mama back home, I had to stop again.  There on the side of that little dirt road sat two little bunny rabbits.  My daughter grabbed the camera from the back of the car, and I was able to get a couple of good shots before they hopped away.

What an amazingly beautiful day!

 

 

At Victor’s Pond

One of my favorite places to visit as a child was Victor’s Pond. Now, it really isn’t named that. In fact, it doesn’t even have a name. It is a pond on my daddy’s uncle’s property. His 40 acres was right next door to our 17, so the walk over was a short quarter-mile hike down the dirt road. We didn’t get to go very often when we were young, because we could only go if Daddy went with us and if there weren’t any activities going on at the pond that day. Therefore, the infrequency of the hikes made them all the more special.

One of my fondest memories is walking over there with my Daddy, and nearly every time we went, I would find a little plastic army man, cowboy, or indian. When I was very young, I often wondered if a fairy or friendly ghost was leaving them for me. As I got older, I wondered if these little toys belonged to Victor’s son and if he had lost them while playing. Daddy always let me keep them, and as an adult, I wondered if perhaps he had hidden them in his pocket and dropped them for me to find. I never asked him about it, so it will always remain a mystery.

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Apart from that little adventure, nothing brought more joy than seeing the roof of that little red cabin appear over the hill. Then I knew that beautiful pond was almost in sight. That little red cabin is still a beautiful and welcome sight.

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As I came up on it on this particular day, I took a few photos to remind me of that childhood joy. But I get ahead of myself…

Before you reach the cabin, there is a small holding pond (or overflow pond…I’m not sure which). When I was little, we were always followed over by a passel of dogs. I remember when Black Boy and Butterball, our Rottweiler mixes, were still alive, the first thing they would do was dive into the water. They would swim and swim. Sometimes all you would see was their noses above the water. I often wished I could jump out and swim with them, especially on those hot summer days, but I didn’t know how to swim back then. On this trip, I took a few photos of that still, quiet water. Only memories remain of my long-ago canine friends.

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After passing that holding pond, the little red cabin comes into plain view. When I was young, the little yard leading down to the pond was always well manicured and fresh annuals were always planted and in bloom. Whenever Victor and his wife, Charlotte, were there, she would always be weeding and pruning her prize blooms. It was always fun to sit and talk with them a bit. Now there are no blooms. Victor has passed on, and Charlotte doesn’t get out there much anymore. You can still see where the blooms would be planted amidst the planters and garden trinkets.

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On this particular afternoon, the pond was alive as usual with various little insects. There were dozens of dragonflies flitting about, and I watched them dart here and there a bit. I managed a few photos of these amazing creatures in flight, and they never cease to mesmerize me as they balance atop water grasses and the twigs of logs near the shore.

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Aside from the dragon flies, I also discovered a few spiders and water bugs.

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I ventured around the pond and admired the beautiful water and shoreline. There are a few more trees fallen over into the pond these days.

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When I was young, the pond was fairly clear of logs and such, and Victor had a little green row boat by the cabin that Daddy would take us out in on rare occasion. The boat isn’t there anymore, and the fallen trees dot the shoreline. I waited patiently hoping to see a turtle crawl up on one of the logs. But alas, the one I did see decided it was best to stay in the water.

Later in the day, towards evening, my husband and I decided to take my niece and our dog, Dixie, out to see the pond. They both had a blast, running and playing and making memories of their own.

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My niece and husband decided to do a little photography of their own while Dixie ran about.

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Dixie never braved jumping into the water, though she seemed to want to. My niece ran around everywhere, and she discovered a few bones on the opposite shore. One set, I’m sure, belonged to one of the water birds that frequent the area…perhaps an egret or a great blue heron. We would often hear those birds call out in the early mornings and late evenings as they settled near the water.

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She also found a little mammal skull which, much to her delight and her mother’s chagrin, she decided to take home with her (Aunt Athenia lets her do these things).

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This little trip on this mid-summer day was full of memories of the past and the still-present beauty of today. And I can honestly say, Victor’s Pond is still one of my favorite places to visit.

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