Saturday, November 24, 2007

Nov 7 and 10: Neighborhood Walk, Tree colors and Birds

On a rare work-day morning, I didn't have any early morning meetings to attend, so I chose to take a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood. My goal was to enjoy the colors of the trees and see what birds were out and about. On a second morning, it was a Saturday, and I took some pictures of birds in the backyard. We've gained a new bird, a single red-breasted nuthatch, and the slate colored dark eyed juncos have arrived for the winter.

Mockingbird perched atop a spruce in the side yard.
Dogwood out front

Looking down the street
Another Dogwood

At the end of the street

A Red Rose still in bloom
A Red Bellied Woodpecker in a neighbor's tree

Close-up of the Red Bellied Woodpecker

An unusual small, green tree
A blue-gray nuthatch on a neighbor's tree

Ornamental winter cabbage

Gorgeous red flowers in the Colonel's wife's garden
A vireo decides to have a sunflower seed

In my back yard, a downey woodpecker
The same downey woodpecker watching over his shoulder to another feeder

A quick-flying Carolina Chickadee
A new visitor to the backyard: a RED Breasted Nuthatch--1st time ever visit
This little bird moves very quickly--grabs its seed and flies off!
One of four slate colored dark eyed juncos that has arrived for the winter
A goldfinch who has enjoyed his thistle seed just a little too much
A female Northern Cardinal getting a sunflower seed
A male Northern Cardinal
Grasses in front of the local library
Morning sunlight on a backyard tree

Nov 17 2007 Appalachian Trail Washington Monument State Park Northwards

My sister Amy and I have been planning a hike on the A-Trail for some time, and it finally occurred. We drove across the Potomac River at Brunswick and headed up to Boonsboro, Md., going along Highway 67. This part of the drive was highlighted by the mountains to the east, whose view started out red at the base and turned progressively more orange then yellow at the crest.

Our destination, just east of Boonsboro, was the Washington Monument State Park--a location that my Dad and I and friends had backpacked along over 30 years ago.

The weather was typical November: in the 40's, moderate breeze, and partly cloudy. We hiked about 7.5 miles; out destination was Greenbrier State Park, a man-made lake from CCC days. We ate our lunch there under a gazebo.

This monument was the country's first for George Washington--1827.

Trailhead Marker:
John at Trailhead. Shortly afterwards, we heard and then saw a pileated woodpecker fly overhead.
Amy on the Trail:
Rock outcroppings near the Monument
Gorgeous colors!
Several ferns growing by the trail
An odd colorful leaf just attached (by the wind?)
More brilliant colors

Unusual bug casings and carcass
Field of ferns prior to Greenbrier State Park

Lake at Greenbrier State Park. We ate our lunch under the cover of the Gazebo.
Views from the sides of the Gazebo:

Bufflehead Ducks at a distance
Above the lake appeared some rocky cliffs

View of the beach front

Canadian Goose prints disappearing into the water
We found this sign at the closed rest room very helpful; the porta-potty was not visible from here. We had to walk over a slight rise [to the north] to find the porta-potty.
View from the porta-potty.

An unusual sight: Witch Hazel blooming in November. In Springfield, we see it bloom in March, after the Skunk Cabbage blooms.

Brilliant autumnal foliage!
At the end of the hike, we climbed a darkened stone stair case to the top of the monument and were rewarded with this view, looking down towards Boonsboro and Sharpsburg/Antietam to the left.

John at top of the observatory
Our next hike will either start at Greenbrier Park and head towards Annapolis Rock [about 3 miles away] or start at Gathland State Park and head south towards Weverton Cliffs just above Harpers Ferry.