Turtles

Turtles seem to be plentiful this year. Here are a few seen in May and June.

“Wisely, and slow.  They stumble that run fast.”  ~William Shakespeare

Cormorants

Other than a gentle whir of wings, there is nothing to indicate that a flock of Double-crested Cormorants are quietly flying overhead.  Shortly before sundown, they can be seen moving swiftly through the sky, perhaps heading for a nearby roosting sight.

While Double-crested Cormorants are interesting birds to watch,

their growing presence at Reelfoot Lake is having damaging and irreversible effects on the local habitat, including the Cypress trees, many of which have been around for hundreds of years. 

These birds strip the bark off of the trees and, over time, their acidic droppings kill the trees and surrounding vegetation.

“A nuisance may be merely a right thing in the wrong place — like a pig in the parlor instead of the barnyard.” ~George Sutherland

The Barred Owl

We often hear the call of a Barred Owl as we walk in the woods of the refuge, but never seem to be in the right place to actually see one. Recently, however, while driving through the refuge, we stopped the car because I wanted to get a photo of a stream running through the woods.  As I opened the door to get out, a startled Barred Owl in a nearby tree took flight and landed in another tree a few yards down the road.  We had unknowingly stopped in the same place where an owl was sitting.  It was a very pleasant surprise.

The Barred Owl with its Razor-sharp Talons.


Barred Owl scrambling up the branch of a tree.


Now you see me, now you don’t.


A stream running through the woods near where the owl sat.

“The best part of the journey is the surprise and wonder along the way.”  ~Ken Poirot

Dawdling

Walking the trails and road in the wildlife refuge during the summer can be challenging due to heat, high humidity and a large number of mosquitoes which live there.   It’s always nice when the weather cools down and the mosquitoes hibernate or die.  Then, it is possible to walk at a slower pace and take the time to enjoy the sights.

“So you see, imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.”  ~Brenda Ueland 

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

Peaceful Afternoon

Taking advantage of the cooler fall temperatures and the delightful sunshine, we spent a peaceful afternoon on the lake at Reelfoot Wildlife Refuge.  It was fun to hear the sounds of the crows and herons arguing, the screech of the eagles soaring overhead and the gentle sound of the wind blowing  across the water.

“Be mindful of the peace and quiet.  It is only when you keep silent that you allow the sounds of the forest to enter.”  ~Unknown

Dragonfly Days

The dragonflies seemed to know that the warm, sunny days are numbered and will soon be coming to an end.  They were out enjoying the sunshine, patrolling their territory and, undoubtedly, taking advantage of the abundance of mosquitoes in the area.  Occasionally they would rest on floating leaves or vegetation near the lake’s edge.

“Why are our days numbered and not, say, lettered?”  ~Woody Allen

Turtle watching

As a small child, one of my favorite parts of going to Reelfoot Lake was seeing the turtles lined up on the logs along the roadside and out in the lake.  Nothing has changed.  This is still one of the highlights of my visits.

“There is absolutely no reason for being rushed along with the rush.  Everybody should be free to go slow.”  ~Robert Frost

Green Frog

A Green Frog sits on the stem of an aquatic plant, waiting patiently for his next meal to come along.

“Time’s fun when you’re havin’ flies.”  ~Kermit the Frog