Friday, June 23, 2017

The Butterfly Effect

I have never met a Butterfly I didn't like! Over the decades of photographing nature, I have captured quite a variety of species of Butterflies in their natural habitat. I never tire of watching them flittering around the flower gardens and wildflower fields in Summer. I personally consider them one of God's blessed creatures. They bring no harm to anyone and provide only joy and beauty to everyone. Hang on, we're going Buttering!


Monarch Butterfly, Bernheim Arboretum, Clermont, Kentucky

Monarch Butterfly, Bernheim Arboretum, Clermont, Kentucky

These images of the Monarch I captured five years ago at Bernheim Arboretum in the flower gardens near the Pavilion. The Monarch Butterfly numbers have drastically declined over the course of the last decade. Now there is a new project called The Monarch Butterfly Research Project. Milkweed fields and gardens are being planted around the country to aid in bringing the numbers back up for the beautiful Monarch Butterfly. Let's hope we can save them from extinction by restoring their main food group.


Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, Bernheim Arboretum, Clermont, Kentucky

Our next Butterfly is the Swallowtail and I'm betting everyone viewing this post has seen one in their lifetime. And if not, I'm so sorry. This Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is partaking of the nectar at the Butterfly bushes in Bernheim Arboretum some five years ago. You can count on Swallowtails to frequent their favorite bushes, the Butterfly bush.

Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly, Bernheim Arboretum, Clermont, Kentucky

Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly, Bernheim Arboretum, Clermont, Kentucky

These Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterflies are cousins to the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.. I captured these images first at the flower gardens at Bernheim Arboretum in Clermont, Kentucky and the second at Yew Dell Gardens in Crestwood, Kentucky several years ago. The first image shows an Eastern Black Swallowtail stopping at a Button bush at Bernheim while the second shows the bright Dallas Red Lantana at Yew Dell Gardens. Butterflies are attracted to bright orange, yellow, purple and red flowers? It's true.


Yellow Clouded Butterfly, Yew Dell Gardens, Crestwood, Kentucky

Cabbage White Clouded Butterfly, Yew Dell Gardens, Crestwood, Kentucky

The Clouded Butterfly family are a much smaller species of Butterfly. Notice the single spot on their wings. Also, did you notice the clouded edge of the Yellow Clouded. Clouded Butterflies love the Butterfly Bush, Milkweed, Coneflowers, Alfalfa, Dandelions, Clover and Tall Verbena. I suppose you could call them the 'not so particular Butterfly'. It's very difficult to get really good images of these little Butterflies. They don't stay still long.

Before I leave you today, I wanted you to know I will have a second post on Butterflies to share soon. Have a fantastic weekend all. We are getting the remnants of Tropical Depression Cindy this weekend here in the mid state of Tennessee. Back soon. ENJOY!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Bradford Robertson Color Garden, Cheekwood

Arbor, Bradford Robertson Color Garden, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens

The Arbor at the Bradford Robertson Color Garden pulls visitors into the garden commanding an audience all its own. The large railing hangs like a canopy over the garden making it the perfect home for many a bloom through the seasons. It's one of the first stops I make each time I visit Cheekwood.

Here under the Arbor, I found Summer color already blooming in its abundance. Purples and yellows and pinks surround me. On this visit I captured photos of this very dainty Purple Phlox ground cover, with its faintest blush of lavender color in bloom. So beautiful and one of my favorite colors in the 'blush' family, if blush were a color all its own.

The star of the show on this particular visit to the garden is the Clematis Vine, properly named, Venosa Violacea, growing in a bright, deep purple hue slowly making its climb up the railing of the posts. Faint purple, bright purple, vivid purple shades were all around. Before Summer's end I bet the Clematis has made its way all the way up to the top of the railing and perhaps even across and back down. One can hope, can't we.

On the opposite side of the garden path from the Clematis sits a clump of bright yellow African Marigolds. Bright sunshine only adds to their sunny yellow hue. While I was photographing the flower, I noticed it had a visitor. Now I'm thinking this little guy has a long journey to get across this vast flowering tundra. Do you suppose he's thinking the same thing? That is if bugs can think which surely they must.

At the very back of Arbor, just off the sidewalk sits this beautiful ornate fountain filled with various blooms and gorgeous green landscaping as a backdrop. So love the landscape artists here at Cheekwood. I love to walk back and forth, and up and down the garden path, taking in the blooms, front to back and every which way. My favorite are the bright colored Tulips in Spring, but I still love to visit in Summer and take in the perennials, and in Fall, when the Fall Festival brings bright colored Chrysanthemums running up and down the entire length of the garden path. Sorry, but I keep getting the name of this garden wrong. Had to correct it today after I posted. Back soon. ENJOY!

Linking to: Ratttlebridge Farms, Food Friday and Everything Else and The Scoop #278 at Stonegable

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Summer Tanager

Spending the afternoon walking around Cheekwood Botanical Gardens was a treat today. It was such a beautiful day with blue skies and fluffy white clouds and plenty of sunshine. Very, very few visitors were at the gardens so I felt like I had it all to myself. I took a stroll to the Willis Perennial Garden which I have only visited one other time. As I approached the garden, I looked up finding myself face to face with a gorgeous red bird. No sooner than we had made each other's acquaintance, he flew away.

Taking note of where he flew off to, I walked over to the opposite side of the flower garden in his direction. He was already busy flying down, grabbing something and flying off to a branch nearby. I thought he was a Scarlet Tanager, but later discovered he wasn't. He was a Summer Tanager. A bird I will happily add to my Life List. I watched him intently drop down a second time and grab a bug and fly off to a nearby branch.

I read on All About Birds that the male Summer Tanager is the only completely red bird in North America. The female isn't red either, but rather she is a mustard yellow. Odd. Summer Tanagers migrate as far south as the middle of South America in Winter. What's so remarkable about these birds is how they literally catch bees and wasps 'on the wing' snatching them up without getting stung. I hope you enjoyed this bright spot in my day. And I hope you are having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Back soon.

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Cormorant Can!

At the Heron Rookery on Old Hickory Lake, you will find all sorts of species, as is evidence in my previous posts. The black Cormorant with their solid black bodies and bright colored skin can be found around the globe. Sleek black physiques, crooked bills and bright skin definitely set them apart from all of the other shore birds.

After a quick dive, the Cormorant finds a perch like this branch way up in the rookery next to their nest, to promptly dry their wings. My first encounter with Cormorants left me wondering what species they were. I Googled them and quickly got up to speed. Their trademark drying of the wings always gives them away, if not their long black bodies. I still remember the first time I saw them sunning on large rocks off the coast of Cape Cod. You can find them generally in groups.

After sifting through my archive of images, I discovered the only image of a nesting Cormorant was from my last outing. Take a look back at my last posts. Just scroll down this page and you will find the other birds nesting that day at the rookery on Old Hickory Lake in Hendersonville. The rookery is crazy busy right now. Notice the Great Blue Heron giving the Cormorant the stink eye. So funny. ENJOY!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Oh Baby! Oh Baby!

The story at the Heron Rookery on Old Hickory Lake, just a short distance from where I live, goes something like this. First comes the nest building. Then there's the tending to the nest. The flying in and out bringing twigs and building up the nest. The flying in and out to drop an occasional bite to eat. Or just the occasional flying in and out for no reason.

After much ado about the making or tidying up of the nest, then comes the waiting game. Sitting on the nest. Standing by the nest. Waiting patiently for something to happen at the nest.

And finally, after many many weeks, the eggs hatch, the parents fly in and out and in and out feeding and tending to the little ones. To our amazement they grow like weeds and before too long, they are almost ready to fledge. Oh, and did I mention it's getting just a tad crowded in the nest too.

At long last, Dad is patiently waiting on the lawn for the fledging. This is the life. It's not just the life for Great Blue Herons either. It's the life for Black Crowned Night Herons, black Cormorants and Great White Egrets. All roosting together as a colony in one huge tree right on the waters edge. Yes, the rookery was a busy spot a few weeks ago when I visited. I didn't see any fledgings on the lawn, but perhaps there have been some since. Perhaps I will pay a visit soon. The weekend is coming and bringing much rain with it. Wherever you are, I wish for you bright sunshine, blue skies and fluffy white clouds. ENJOY!

Monday, May 8, 2017

'Nesting' Black Crowned Night Herons

A visit to the Heron Rookery on Old Hickory Lake in Hendersonville Sunday afforded me a plethora of species of birds. Since I rarely get more than a glimpse of a Black Crowned Night Heron, I thought I would post images of them first. They were very busy flying in and out of the rookery. In this image, you can see the late afternoon sun casting its golden glow.

This Heron Rookery never ceases to amaze me with the different species that nest together in one large tree along the shoreline. I wonder have you ever tried to capture a Black Crowned Night Heron in flight? It's not like photographing a Great Blue Heron. They move much much slower than Night Herons. Night Herons fly much faster as they are not nearly as large a bird as their Great Blue Heron cousins. One never knows when you snap an image of one in flight, if it's even viable, but on this day I got very lucky.

I had trouble differentiating the leaves and tree branches from the Black Crowned Night Herons. The Great Blues stick out more as they are bigger, but the Night Herons being so small blend in. I snapped an image of a Great Blue Heron standing on a nest only to realize later that this Black Crowned Night Heron was sitting on its nest right below it.

Today there were Great Blue Herons, Black Crowned Night Herons, Cormorants and Great White Egrets flying all about the Heron Rookery, not to mention Barn Swallows and Canadian Geese. What a plethora and a pleasure to be in the company of such great species and able to photograph them. I will share Great Blue Heron images in a post soon. I hope you had a wonderful weekend. We finally, as you can see from these images, had a beautiful day Sunday with blue skies and low temperatures in the 70's. It was wonderful. ENJOY!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Fall Creek Falls

Several years ago I paid a visit to beautiful Fall Creek Falls in central Tennessee, which is situated in Fall Creek Falls State Park in the heart of the Cumberland Plateau. This area is hugely popular with tourists and visitors for its many waterfalls such as Fall Creek Falls, Rock Island Falls and Cummins Falls. On this hot Summer day I captured this image of the waterfall with the slightest stream of water falling over the rocks.

I chose to repost these images after a minor adjustment I made in Lightroom which I didn't have at that time. Now with the aid of my software, with the shadows pulled back, the beautiful detail in the rocks on the side of the cliff is exposed. When photographing waterfalls, I never leave home without my tripod and with it, the clamp that holds my camera tight, but on this day it failed to make it into my camera gear. So I had to improvise by placing my camera on top of the log railing at the overlook. I wanted that feathery feel one gets with the right adjustments when photographing water. However, I settled for these images and I have to say I don't mind at all. They are just as beautiful. What is that old saying, 'when you have lemons, make lemonade.' ENJOY!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Vintage Wheels

As I perused my archives in search of images from Vintage America, I noticed a transition from the days of wagon wheels and buggies to the days of old jalopies and finally to modern day automobiles.

In by gone days, both of these first two buggies were surely a Rolls Royce version as buggies go. I captured the carriage at Spring Mill Park in Indiana, on a visit years ago and and the wagon with the small scale buggy I discovered sitting in a barn on a visit to Blackacre Nature Preserve in Louisville a couple of years ago. Both surely must have been quite fashionable in their day with their slick black leather seats.

This old Dodge truck I have posted before, but I couldn't leave it out of the line up, as it surely is one of my favorite rustic auto images. If it doesn't conjure up memories of the early 1900's, nothing will. It has come to its final resting place at the end of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in the Smoky Mountains, on a small farm there.

After the buggies of the late 1800's and the jalopies of the early 1900's, we find ourselves in the era of the modern automobile with spiffy logos and chrome grills. I photographed this Buick, which looks like a '60's model, at Old Car City USA, in Georgia last Summer. I'm surprised someone didn't restore it as the body looks in quite good condition.

Last, here we are with over sized bumpers and large grills like shark's teeth. Oversized bumpers are one of the things I will always remember about the cars of my childhood years, especially the Buick. I wonder does anyone else feel the cars we drive today are just a tad boring compared to the first automobiles. Perhaps that's why vintage cars are such popular attractions at car shows and in museums. I hope you enjoyed this journey back in time. I promise to be back soon. ENJOY!