More favorite bird photos

Baltimore Oriole with Sparrow in the back

On the nectar feeder

Back and tail plumage

Sandhill Crane

Baby Sparrow(?) after rain storm

Evil eye Grackle

Turkey Vulture warming its wings

Pileated Woodpecker taking off

Pileated Woodpecker taking off

Our nation’s symbol: Bald Eagle

A family outing

Here are a few more of our favorite bird images. The Turkey Vulture and Pileated Woodpecker are on the top of the same utility pole. The waterlogged little fledgling was blown out of the nest during a storm. Parents did tend to it, don’t know the outcome. We caught the eagle on a whale watching cruise around the San Juan Islands in Washington State. And the family of ducks was enjoying a walk in the town of Chincoteague on the island of the same name, on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

 

Some favorite portraits of birds

Here’s a few photos we got of some of our feathered friends.

Young robin right out of the nest

Starling parent, bottom, feeding youngster, top

Red bellied woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker

Immature White Ibis

Female Pileated Woodpecker

Brown Pelican

We have always enjoyed birdwatching and found it exciting to see various birds as we have traveled the country. When COVID hit, stopping our travels, we also began to enjoy birding in our own backyard. We both were surprised at how many different species visited our home.

 

Squirrels show up everywhere

Seems that we run into squirrels where ever we go. And it also seems like they are always eating or looking for something to eat.

Hey! Is that corn over there?

“Mmmm…grapes are good!”

Cherry tomatoes. Yep, they are good.

Glad I remembered where I buried this nut!

Some people like to watch squirrels and like them around. Others can’t stand them. It has been said that squirrels are just rats with a great Public Relations Department. What side are you on?

Devils Tower: the first U.S. National Monument

Northeast Wyoming is home to one of the most remarkable landscape features in the United States. The towering mass of volcanic rock known as Devils Tower has long been the destination of curious travelers and is the source of several Native American legends describing the origin of the rock formation. In the fall of 2014 we made a short detour on our way from Indiana to Seattle to see this striking and beautiful gift from Earth.

One of, if not the most striking geologic feature in Wyoming

Detail image of each “column” that is about 8 feet across!

One of the legends of the origin of the tower tells the story of girls who were pursued by a huge bear. The girls prayers were answered when the Great Spirit caused the rock to raise from the ground with the girls safely on top. The bear attempted to climb the smooth sides of the rock, and his claws made the distinctive shapes we see today.

Geologists tell us that the tower was made when volcanic intrusions of lava pushed up into thick layers of sandstone, now eroded away after millions of years. The rock, an igneous basalt type, took on the shapes of columns when it cooled. Called a columnar formation, this shape is not uncommon and can be found in rocks all over the world.

The Devils Tower was the first designated US National Monument, so declared by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906. The first Caucasians saw the tower in the 1850’s. It was the site of the famous finish of the 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Remembering Yellowstone National Park

Seems so long ago, but our memories of our 2014 trip across country are still clear in our thoughts.

During our trip across country we were fortunate enough to stop for a couple of days in Yellowstone National Park. What an adventure it was for Sher and me as this was the first trip for both of us. We stayed at the only campground with hookups for RV’s. The campground was very nice, and we were warned to look out a mama bear with a couple of her cubs.

This bull bison strolled right by us on the road.

Our adventure began before we got to the campground. As we were driving on a road overlooking the Yellowstone Lake we saw traffic stopped. Thinking it might be an accident as the road was narrow with a guardrail on one side and a sheer rock cliff on the other. Well, then we saw the huge bison calmly walking down the road in the middle of the oncoming lane.

Bison in Hayden Valley

Dragon’s Mouth geothermal pool.

 

 

 

 

 

Our journey within the park took us to Hayden Valley, where we saw other bison. Here we also saw the Dragon’s Mouth and the Mud Volcano. The scenery was magnificent.

The geysers cover the walkways with steam

Geothermal hot springs pool

 

 

 

 

 

Our second day took us to West Thumb of the Yellowstone Lake. There were the famous wood boardwalks leading around the geothermal pools and geysers. Since I got my undergraduate degree in geology Sher had to put up with my going ape over the geologist’s dream that is Yellowstone. We had planned on visiting Yellowstone and the western US, but COVID came along and messed that up.

An A to Z Storybook Trail

A new short trail showcasing highlights and history of Shelby County has been completed along the Blue River Trail in Shelbyville, Indiana. The 13 signs are placed at intervals with two “letters” each on the signs.

One of the 13 signs on the trail

Shot of the trail

Note the limestone benches

Sign showing local attraction and bit of history

The whole trail and sign placements are very nicely landscaped with trees and flowers. Scattered around are large limestone “benches”. These have been quarried from a Shelby County quarry that has has been in operation for decades.

The main Blue River Trail along the tree line

In the far background you can see the Blue River-Wind, Rain and Water public art (here is a link to our post about the sculpture). Shelbyville and Shelby County have done a great job constructing and maintaining the Blue River Trail complex across the city and through at least three parks.

 

 

 

A lovely four-span stone arch bridge

Ripley County Indiana is a scenic land of rolling hills, wooded tracts interspersed with farming enterprises. Amongst the unique sites include a wonderful stone arch bridge just outside the tiny village of Friendship. This bridge was constructed in 1909 on the Olean Road where the road crosses Raccoon Creek.

From a distance

The approach to the bridge

Nearly perfect stonework


Side view of the stone work arches


The stonework on the four arches is really a stone mason’s dream. This bridge has spans over 20 feet. The deck is nearly 15 feet wide over the 103 foot length. Stone arch bridges were a very common design for many rural stream and river and there are eleven still standing in Ripley County alone, according to records.

Raccoon Creek is typical of southern Indiana hill country drainage streams. Usually running, it can go dry in droughts. The bubbling sound of the passing of the water adds to the serenity of this environment.