Barred Owl

Several evenings while out walking, I could hear the loud, clear call of a barred owl off in the distance across a field.  This evening, I spotted a large bird soaring along from tree to tree on the road up ahead.  I walked quietly to the last spot where I saw it land, and was excited to see its large eyes looking back at me through the branches.

“But the owls themselves are not hard to find, silent and on the wing, with their ear tufts flat against their heads as they fly and their huge wings alternately gliding and flapping as they maneuver through the trees …”  ~Mary Oliver

Hovering around the flowers

Hummingbirds are attracted to the bright red color of the cardinal flower.  From these delicate, trumpet-shaped flowers, the hummingbird receives sweet nectar.  In return, the cardinal flower depends on the hummingbird for pollination.

Across the downs a hummingbird
Came dipping through the bowers,
He pivoted on emptiness
To scrutinize the flowers.
~Nathalia Crane

Deer among the sunflowers

Because of the hot and humid weather, one of our favorite walking times is around dusk, when the temperature is cooling down.  One of the benefits of walking at this time is that it is an active time for deer, which prefer to feed during low-light hours.  Occasionally, we spot one that has come out of the woods to forage on corn, soybeans, and in this case, sunflowers.

“The real world, in my opinion, exists in the countryside, where Nature goes about her quiet business and brings us greatest pleasure.”  ~Fennel Hudson

Venturing out

His presence given away by the clear, loud notes of his song, at first this little prothonotary warbler tried to stay hidden, moving about in the shadows of the low foliage at the edge of the lake.  Eventually, his desire to forage brought him out into the open, as he actively hopped from branch to branch in search of insects.

Here, he ventured out to sun and preen himself on the boardwalk.

“Keep not standing fixed and rooted.  Briskly venture, briskly roam.”  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Viceroy

We saw these viceroy butterflies flitting about in a garden close to the lake.  Similar to the monarch in appearance, one way to distinguish the viceroy from the monarch is by the visible black line that runs across its hind wings.

“Butterflies … flowers that fly and all but sing.”  ~Robert Frost

Swallows and water lilies

We drove to Reelfoot Lake to see the water lilies and got the added bonus of watching a swallow family that was hanging out around the water’s edge.

“In nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over it.”  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

On their journey

Every spring, a flock of cedar waxwings stop by to feast on holly berries in our neighborhood.  They are sociable birds, feeding cooperatively and often seen sitting together, lined up on tree branches early in the morning or late in the afternoon.  After a few days, when the berries have been plucked from the bushes, the waxwings continue their nomadic journey in search of other food.

“Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.”  ~ Izaak Walton