Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Last of June ...

The rhododendrons are nearly gone ...

The spiders are getting bigger!

Dragonflies have come to visit ...

And critters will eat just about anything (like this blackberry bud heart!)

Yes, June is ending -- hello July!

To see hearts from around the world, visit "Random Hearts" - and share YOUR heart on Guest Heart Thursday.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Feathery Tree Flowers - Abstract Beauty

I was walking at the (formerly) abandoned church property when I found a beautiful feathery pink tree - when I looked closer, I found tiny yellow flowers in bloom!

I couldn't quite focus on the flowers, but fell in love with the abstract quality that came out.

I also found this fly.

I've never seen a fly with an orange behind before!!!

And since it is still June ... and the 'feathery' tree is flowering in June, I am making this abstract flower my entry to "Random Challenges" June Flower Challenge.

Friday, June 24, 2011

What a Hoot!!!

I was taking a walk at the once-abandoned church property, when I saw something out of place ... From a distance I thought someone had placed a boulder on top of the gravel pile beside the building ...

Then it moved - and flew away into a nearby oak tree!

A great horned owl stared back at me from the branches.

I quietly crept closer until I was close enough to see the reflections in his eyes!

He didn't appear to notice me - He was watching a deer in the grass below ...

I ended up nearly under the tree in which he perched ...
And I was wrong - he DID notice my approach!
He looked straight at me - and winked!

I must have taken a gazillion photos, but I was shaking so much only a few came out.

When I left, he was still in the tree watching me.
And I felt blessed by his presence.

To see reflections from around the world, join us over at James' "Weekend Reflections"!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dew Drops on Clover Leaf Heart

Our summer started out warm ... for a day!
Now it's back to overcast, drizzly and cool.
I'm not complaining, mind you -
It all makes for some awesome photos!
Like this beautiful clover heart with dew drops ...

To see hearts from around the world, visit "Random Hearts" - and share YOUR heart on Guest Heart Thursday!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tiny Bee on Hairy Cats Ear

The bees are loving the early summer flowers ... I found this darling little bee collecting pollen on a Hairy Cats Ear (Hypochoeris radicata) flower. I watched him for a while first, because of his unusual method of gathering the yellow stuff. He laid down on his side, and rubbed his entire body on the flower, sort of like a cat rubs against your legs!

It was working, too. By the time he flew away, he was covered on every part of his little body, except his wings.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Some Reasons to Get Up Early ...

The birds greet you with joy!

The sun shares it's glory!

Quiet time for a bath ...

The world dresses up in jewels made of dew ...

I've always been one to get up early.
Most of the time that's a GOOD thing!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Downy Woodpecker Surprise!

As I walked in the misty rain, I was transfixed by the beauty reflected all around me. It was hard to walk far without finding something to take a picture of - like these drops of rain reflecting the yellow irises around them!

Suddenly I heard a sound ... very agitated birds ... seeming to come from a tree in the distance.
I immediately left the nice dry path, and soon was soaked to my knees.

The lighting was terrible ... but I could make out the silhouettes of two birds in the partially dead tree. They were angry with me for being there, and flitted around in the branches over my head.

But that wasn't the sound I heard.
I looked closer ... and I saw where the cheeps were coming from ...

This hole - far up in the dead part of the tree!
I stood as still as I could.

And caught this female Downy Woodpecker feeding her young!

The male wouldn't approach the nest until I had moved a safe distance away. I included this blurry picture of him because this is how I identified this beautiful woodpecker family!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Another Metro Nature Walk ...

As I walked along the gravel road that comprises part of the Graham Oaks Nature preserve, I saw a sudden movement in front of me.
Oh my! Check out those antlers, still in their velvet!

Off to the side, a young female watched him, not even noticing my presence.
Well, at least not until I started taking her picture - beep-beep, click!

The sun peeked out from behind a cloud, reflecting on a tiny ladybug enjoying the warmth of the afternoon.

A splash of color caught my eye ... what a beautiful butterfly!

Then I saw this beautiful heart-shaped butterfly perched on a bunch of vetch flowers.

To see hearts from around the world, visit "Random Hearts", and share YOUR heart on Guest Heart Thursday ... and remember, the link is open until Sunday night!

To see reflections from around the world, visit James, and join us for Weekend Reflections!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hairy Cat's Ear (Hypochoeris radicata)

Hairy Cat's Ear, Hypochoeris radicata, is common around this area at this time of year.
It is a very plain plant similar to a dandelion.
But if you look closely, you will see it is NOT as plain as you would think ...

It is, in fact, downright beautiful as it slowly begins to open ...

Giving us a glimpse of the beauty to come ...

The beautiful yellow color; the intricate patterns of the flower ...

How could I have ever thought this was just another plain old weed???

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Late Afternoon Walk ...

(click on pictures to enlarge - it's worth it!)

Honeybees in this area were nearly wiped out years ago ...
They have been making a comeback. Slowly.
This year seems to be a banner year for honeybees - I haven't seen so many in one place in years!!!

The oxeye daisies are in bloom now ... enticing all kinds of critters to feast.
Including the honeybees!

Spitbugs seem to be everywhere this year. This one had made it's home on top of a delightfully curled leaf.

I found this wild strawberry ... and just as quickly ... it was gone.


When the critters weren't flying from flower to flower collecting pollen and nectar, they were ... um ... well ... (hey guys, get a room!)

I left the critters to their feasts and fun, collected a pocketful of wild rose petals, and came home.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Beetle Heart Reflections

I was taking pictures of raindrops when I noticed these two beetles romancing on a leaf ... together forming a heart - with amazing reflections!

To see hearts from around the world, visit "Random Hearts" - and share YOUR heart on Guest Heart Thursday!

To see reflections from around the world, visit James - and join us for "Weekend Reflections"!