More colors and a few birds (even Lifers!)

After the weekend doing laundry & chores, plus taking care of new home building business, we got out on Monday to walk along the green space in town.  It is a paved pathway along the Little Tennessee River & despite not being quite continuous, it goes for quite a long distance.  One simply has to drive to another area to park.   The first time we walked there, we did see a few new birds, but Bill didn’t bring his camera.  I guess he wanted to see if it was justified carrying around that big sucker!  We saw an Eastern Towhee, some Song Sparrows, Carolina Chickadees, N. Cardinal & a few others.  This time it was much quieter – since we’d spent the morning at home waiting for a business call for Bill (which never came – he not having the correct date!!).

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We saw a flock of Turkey Vultures & a few Blacks – so here it is, the magnificent young Black, glowing in the sun.

I also spied a Tufted Titmouse, but it was too quick for even Bill to spot, to say nothing of a photo.  We didn’t see our Eastern Towhee, but will try again later.

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A Carolina Wren obliged us with some good looks but just a quick photo op.  Nonetheless, it was a lovely day to get out for a walk & do some proper birding.

Tues. Oct. 20th:  Had to take the truck into the Ford dealer to get tires balanced.  Bill’s been feeling “out-of-whack” for some time now, so now he’s better.  Then on to drive part of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Even in a few days the colors have turned a little more.

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Here are a couple of nice ones.  The lower echelons are still quite green – one needs to drive high up into the mountains to see lots of color like this.

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A lovely gnarled,moss-covered oak.  Oak trees are amazing!

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Though it looks like low-hanging fog, it is likely pollution 😦

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It’s nice to see the bright reds among the yellow & oranges.

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These are some of the brightest colors we’ve seen yet.

We shall return to this parkway again when we have more time & hopefully even more of the colors have turned.  But such a perfect day with hardly a breath of wind and temps around 20.  Overnight lately though, it has gone slightly below freezing.

Wed. Oct. 21:  Another lovely walk along the Little Tennessee River this morning.  At last we have a few bird photos for you!

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Indeed, this is a Lifer for both of us – Carolina Chickadee.  Not quite as buffy on the sides as ours.

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This Gray Catbird showed up.  Bill refused to let me include the photo of its under-tail coverts, which are rust – a very distinguishing mark besides its black cap!  Said it wasn’t a good enough photo.  I guess he can censure me after all!

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The other day we saw Turkey Vultures & knew there were also Black Vultures here.  Today we saw both in the same quadrant of the sky.  The Black Vulture has white wing tips whereas the Turkey Vulture had white along 1 whole edge of its wing.

imageimageAs usual, there are lots of American Goldfinches along the path.  They are vocal but not nearly as pretty as in spring.  Most of their yellow is gone.  That large seed pod on the right contained at least 3 birds feeding – just like on human feeders.

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Luckily N. Cardinals keep their bright red all year!  The day was just lovely once again with highs around 22C, bright sun & no wind.  Perfect!

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Whoodathunk we’d get another Lifer today?  Well, here is a Fish Crow!  They aren’t usually fluffed up like this, just caught one “fluffing” (if you’ll excuse the expression).  For the 1st time we ran into a group of birders here this morning!

We’ve seen lots of Eastern Bluebirds, however none close enough to photograph.  With so many around, I hope we’ll get one sometime.

Thurs. Oct. 22:  A long drive today.  Left before 8 – home by 3:30.  Bill is really going to build up his arm & shoulder muscles.  The roads are nothing but switch-backs – never stopping.

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The colors however, have accelerated.

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Most of the tops of the hills (oops, mountains) are now totally in fall hues.  Still quite a bit of green below.

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There are lots of reds & yellows, but also some purples.   The evergreens just add to the mix.

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This small format photo doesn’t really show the beauty of Bill’s photography.  You’ll have to wait for next year’s photos when he sends them out.  OH YES IT DOES NOW – BECAUSE I’VE GONE THRU & FIXED THEM ALL!

imageAt our picnic table at noon, this lovely stand of trees was back-dropped (is that a word?) by the hillside which was in shadow.

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When I lived in Kingston, ON my art was a piece of blue bristol board with colored leaves glued to it, which I’d pressed between waxed paper.  Makes me want to do it again!  I finally understood why fall is the favourite season for many easterners.  For me, it’s always been spring, but at least I understand.

This weekend Bill’s cousin, Dana, is coming to visit & stay overnight.  She lives in Atlanta, GA – only about 2 hours away!  Very exciting!  More on her visit next blog!

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