An Afternoon Drive

An afternoon drive to Hop-In Refuge allowed us to view Sandhill Cranes which are wintering in West Tennessee.
Then, driving along the back roads in the area, we spotted a Northern Harrier flying low over a farm field in search of small prey …
… and a Great Blue Heron, which seemed out of place standing in a field of long white turnips or radishes.
We found more Sandhill Cranes out foraging in the vegetable fields …
… and blasting out their bugle calls from overhead.
Dried Queen Anne’s Lace heads decorated the roadside ditches, reminiscent of summer days gone by.
“I hope that the days come easy and the moments pass slow, and each road leads you where you want to go.”  ~Rascal Flatts

Hermit Thrush

While hiking a trail in the Reelfoot Wildlife Refuge, this Hermit Thrush caught my attention when it landed on the branch of a nearby tree.  A winter visitor to our state, it spends a lot of its time foraging for insects under fallen leaves or searching for wild berries among the forest’s undergrowth.

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”  ~Leo Tolstoy

Feasting on sumac berries

There’s a spot on our country road where we often see bluebirds fluttering about.  On this day, they were enticed by the deep red clusters of sumac berries growing wild along the road.   These berries are an important source of food for them during the winter months.

“God gives every bird its food, but does not throw it into the nest.”  ~Danish Proverb

White Pelicans

We first knew that the pelicans had returned to our area in September when we saw a large flock of them flying high over the Mississippi River.

   

In early November, we were able to see them more closely and enjoy their beauty at Reelfoot Lake.

“Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.”  ~Louis Schwartzberg

Fall Foliage

Some sunny days have helped to accent the autumn leaves which are now popping in vivid yellows, oranges and reds.  This past week has been a great time to get out and enjoy the beauty that nature has on display.

“Fall has always been my favorite season.  The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”  ~Lauren Destefano

Butterflies on White Aster

The white aster is in full bloom and attracting many insects including honey bees, wasp and butterflies.  These are some of the butterflies that we saw while out enjoying the autumn flowers and sunshine.

“The aster has not wasted spring and summer because it has not blossomed.  It has been all the time preparing for what is to follow, and in autumn it is the glory of the field …”  ~Henry Ward Beecher

Inky Cap

I saw this silver and bronze-looking mushroom standing alone, glistening in the sun in a wooded area along the Mississippi River.  At first it looked like someone had placed a shiny metal lawn ornament in the middle of the woods.  I had to touch it to see if it was real, which it was.  My best guess is that it is a member of the inky cap family.  After their spores mature, their gills begin to decompose from the bottom up, turning into a black liquid which resembles ink.  Then the mushroom cap begins to curl up, placing the spores in an ideal position to catch the wind and disperse.  It’s strange to think that the magical colors of this mushroom are the result of decay.

“Everywhere we look, complex magic of nature blazes before our eyes.”  ~Vincent van Gogh

Circumhorizontal Arc

Several times a year we see a circumhorizontal arc high up in the wispy clouds.  These occur when the sun’s rays pass through flat, hexagonal-shaped ice crystals at a specific angle, causing the rays to bend, like in a prism, and light up the clouds with beautiful colors.  This one only lasted for a brief time, but was a joy to see.

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”  ~W. B. Yeats

Golden Treasures

Everywhere you look, nature is aglow with autumn’s golden hues.  These are some of the beautiful golden treasures that I have seen and appreciated over recent weeks.

… Life on earth is truly a gift
every moment we must treasure,
it’s the simple things we take for granted
that become our ultimate pleasures.
~Kathy J Parenteau