Sunday, August 31, 2008

Common Nighthawks

For a few weeks before we left for NY, we had four Nighthawks entertain us during our evening dog walks. Best of all, we didn't have to leave our neighborhood to see them.  

The first evening was too dark to make a positive ID, and they were flying quite high.  Their flight was swift. Tern?

The second night, they were low enough to see their brown coloring and detect the white bar on their wings. That's no tern!  Then, there was the frog like sound, but it was coming from the sky! Wow, could it be that we're finally seeing a bird from the Goatsucker family?

Yes..... It's a Nighthawk!  Noting the white wing bar was a great field mark.  All these years of hearing and never seeing Whip-poor-wills and Chuck-will's-widows (say that 5 times fast) we, at last, got to see a relative!  I was thrilled :)  

I've only seen one Nighthawk, one time, since we've been back. They are one of the first to migrate.  I'm wondering if these birds were taking a mini break from their voyage south to bulk up on Bluffton's insects.   I say, "Thank you for spending time with us, for your entertaining dog fight flight, and for keeping our insect population in check! Safe travels!"

Saturday, August 30, 2008

NY Clouds & Colors

Wow! What a difference in weather from SC to NY!  No humidity and very cool to us... Daytimes in the high 60's with a lake breeze, nights in the low 50's. Needless to say, come bedtime, we slept with the windows open and the comforter on :)  And, much to my delight, groups of Canada geese would fly over and land on the lake. There's nothing finer than being lulled to sleep by the sounds of geese :)

On Sunday, August 10th, I had the opportunity to do some cloud studies, in my journal, as we sat on the pontoon boat. One of our favorite things to do is watch the day go by while we lounge on the boat - even if it's docked!  My sketches sometimes suffer from the rocking of the boat but, to me, it's all part of the charm :)

There were times, our first week there, that I was wishing I had packed my turtlenecks.  We'd get wild lake winds during the day and thunderstorms every evening.

Our second week was much more temperate and no rain to speak of. One warm day, the locals were complaining about the humidity. Rob and I just smiled.  For humidity, it was really bush league!

I loved being back among the rolling hills and farmland that surround Conesus Lake.  The landscape colors were outstanding. Trees in the wetlands were already sporting red leaves and the fields of corn were a wonderful shade of yellow ochre. The August clouds and scenery colors had October written all over them.  I truly love the SC low country but, I think my heart will always belong to the rolling hills of the northeast.

                                                              
We managed to play one round of golf with our lake friends. The Island Oaks course at Lima Country Club can be challenging. Lots of hills, trees and water. I was more interested in enjoying the views. Yup, not a good day on the links for me.....  Didn't even get to see any wildlife!  Sigh....

All in all, a good visit to NY. Enjoyed Rob's side of the family and our dear friends.  Grizz and Dudley enjoyed time on the boat. I'd carry Grizz down the dock, then let her have her freedom once on the pontoon boat. Even blind, she stills loves to be on the boat.  That did our hearts good! 

Friday, August 8, 2008

Escaping August Heat

Finger Lakes here we come!  August is the perfect time to head north as it's been a tad toasty in the low country lately.

We're heading back to our old stomping grounds on Conesus Lake.  It's the very last Finger Lake, located about 45 minutes south of Rochester, NY.  Rob's folks have a summer place there. 

The weather has not been real great in western NY this year.  When my in-laws complain, you know it's bad.  They are die-hard Rochesterians
and will never admit to any foul weather.  However, anyone who has spent any time in that part of NY knows that foul weather and gray skies occur more times than not.

One of the many things I like about nature journaling is capturing the same location over and over.  Here are some of the many faces of the same view.

The dogs will be happy to sit on the pontoon boat once again.  Things will be very different for Grizz though, now that she's blind. It will surely be a gut ache for Rob and me as she loved to stand on the dock and look into the water to watch the fish or lay on the boat and just gaze out over the lake.  

We've remembered to pack long pants and sweats.  I'm being real optimistic by not including a turtleneck :)

I'll be posting again in a couple of weeks.  I hope to be able to finish up my July wildflower finds while enjoying the view from the pontoon boat.  Ahhhhhh, vacations.  Got to love them :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pave Paradise, Put up a Parking Lot

Joni Mitchell had it so right, so long ago.  And, on it continues.

I've had the environmental blues of late.  My wildflower journal entries have spurred the worry of loss.  The low country is growing so fast.  People are flocking here.  Developers are going to great lengths to take every inch of unspoiled land to build 'neighborhood' retail shopping and housing.  What's so bad about purchasing resale homes and traveling 5 miles for groceries?  We even have powers to be in Columbia (2 hours away) granting excessive dock permits before local county approval of river front property development.  This situation stinks of foul play. When is the 'greasing the palms' going to stop?  

I had a dream last night.  I was in a strange town, very lost, and on foot.  I came upon this wonderful old tree that was growing between the sidewalk and street.  It's gerth unbelievable for the space it was alloted.  The sidewalk side of the tree was decaying but still, somewhere deep inside, the tree had the strength to keep on.  I walked around to the street side of the tree and the bark was smooth.  I felt invited to hug this wonderful being.  As I did, the tree came alive and and wrapped two lower branches around me.  The trunk felt soft against my body - I was really wrapped up in it's 'body' hug.  Wonderful!

I am my father's daughter when it comes to dreams - he was noted for very creative dreams. Well, I say creative.  Rob, however, raises an eye brow.  My book of dream interpretations says dreaming of trees is a good omen.  I hope it means that I can somehow make a difference in protecting this fragile, one-of-a-kind area of the country.

Wildflower Finds IV

Pretty in pink :)  

The Common marsh-pink has striking center coloration.  You really need to get up close to see it though. The Rose purslan flower is the most wonderful shade of magenta.  They catch your eye even though the flower is quite small and close to the ground.

Another pink flower in bloom, in my neighborhood, is the Awned meadow-beauty, Rhexia aristosa Britton.  If I have time, I'll include it along with another butterfly pea 'Spurred butterfly pea' Centrosema virginianum (Linnaeus) Benth. 

Perhaps one of these days, I'll get to create the page on my 'lifer' wildflower I saw way back in the first few weeks of July! But, I'm not complaining - commission jobs are paying the bills :)  So many wildflowers, so little time. . . .

I feel so blessed by all the beauty that surrounds me, but so sad about the low country's fate. Development is out of control........ I'll save this issue for another posting.