Friday, September 21, 2012

More Fort Fisher Butterflies and a New Dragonfly

This is the very Common Buckeye butterfly.  I saw a lot of these the last time I walked down at Ft. Fisher but they were impossible to photograph.  Today I was a bit more successful.

 I couldn't resist the Gulf Fritillary even though they are as common as the Monarchs were up north.  They were fighting for position on all the painted daisies but they pose so nicely for me.

This is a somewhat bedraggled Northern Cloudywing which isn't a particularly pretty butterfly to begin with.  There were a couple of other dullish butterflies that just wouldn't sit still or were so obscured by the background that I couldn't snap their pictures.

I think this is an Orange Sulfur.  It was darker than the Cloudy Sulfurs that I see so much around the house.

I believe this is a Seaside Dragonlet dragonfly.  I saw this at my walk at Carolina Beach Lake yesterday.  The weather has been stunningly beautiful -- more pleasant than I would expect for this time of year!  It was just about two years ago that we had 23 inches of rain in 4 days!!

I saw these two wildflowers at Carolina Beach Lake and thought they were really pretty -- especially the pink one which was growing very close to the water.

This was one of the bunches of Painted Daisies that grow along the path at Ft. Fisher attracting the butterflies!

I will get back to sewing but can't stand to be inside when the weather is so beautiful and I can get a little exercise and take some pictures at the same time.  Of course time is spent sitting on the beach as well on my porch watching the beach!!  I put in a good sized order to Hancocks for Kaffe Fassett fabrics yesterday as well so will have to use some of that up quickly!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Seattle Visitors are Home Now! Sigh....

My daughter Zann and my granddaughter Amelia.  Amelia loved playing in the water.

She especially liked dad holding her as she rode the waves.

She was absolutely pooped after coming home from the beach and slept for hours (in her tutu of course).
Here she is with the grandparents who enjoyed having her visit tremendously!!

 The weather turned downright awful as soon as the kids left with high winds and lots of rain.  It was just perfect the whole time they were here so let's hope that encourages them to return soon!  Low tide was late afternoon (my walking time) so I treated myself with a trip to the secret beach, knowing that I wouldn't find any unusual birds but wanted to play with the little camera.  Here is a Willet caught in the act of eating a small snail (or crab).

 This is a juvenile laughing gull.  There were lots of adults hanging around as well as a couple of other juveniles.  
 Just one of the many, many Ruddy Turnstones on the beach.  They have returned to their winter plummage.
This was a juvenile Sanderling. I thought his coloring was really striking compared to the usual adult plummage.
This is the view to the rocks where the birds skitter about at low tide picking up mollusks and crabs to eat.  The whole beach is this very striated and textural stone -- a little hard on bare feet I might add.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Seattle Visitors

We have been happy to have our granddaughter Amelia visit with her parents from Seattle!  We haven't seen her in person in two years and she has grown up into a really sweet little girl.  She is 3 1/2 now and very articulate, gentle and a real joy!

Her Aunt LJ bought her a tutu and high heels to play in and she immediately put them on.  Her mom has stressed from infancy that Amelia would not be a princess and was not to have princess things.  Of course this tutu has a crown right on the front but since it didn't say "princess", an exception was made!  She is too cute!!

She climbs constantly and here she is with her dad.  These chairs are high!
I finally got a picture with a big smile.  She will not pose for photos at all, generally assuming a zombie pose (she loves zombies) or turning her head away!!

Here she is down at the beach which she loves.  This little shirt is in fact a life jacket.  She threw a fit when she had to come back to the house yesterday!  What child doesn't like the beach!

Now this visitor wasn't from Seattle but was sitting just outside our door.  It was really small  and I believe is an Eastern Hognose Snake.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Okay, a Day of Butterflies....

 Today was another gorgeous North Carolina day and I celebrated with a walk down along the beach at Ft. Fisher.  There were many, many Gulf Fritillaries on the painted daisies which are all along the stone path.  You don't see these up north.
 This is the underside of the Gulf Fritillary.

I believe this is a Sleepy Orange.  It had a bright orange upper side but I couldn't get a picture of it from that angle.  It was not one of the cloudy sulfurs that I see a lot of at the house here.  

These are two of the many Palamedes Swallowtails that were on my neighbor's flowers.  I had not seen one of these before and there were a few there today.  I must say that these were taken with my little camera from a third floor porch and the garden was a good 50 feet from the vantage point.  I am very pleased with the quality of the shots!

Just one of the swallowtails.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dragonflies and Damselflies +

Yesterday was the perfect day to take my first walk to Carolina Beach Lake.  I was pretty sure it was too early to see any birds plus the Lake is very high right now (must have been a lot of rain as it is very green down here).  So instead of birds, I will concentrate on butterflies and dragonflies for a bit.  I have always been amazed by the sheer number of dragon or damselflies that I see when sitting on the porch so it's time to identify them thanks to my lovely Stokes Beginner's Guide to Dragonflies which has the most common varieties.  This is an Eastern Amberwing that was sitting on some algae in the pond.  I used my small point and shoot to take this picture.  I thought the background looked like a picture of a coastal swamp.  The biggest problem with the small camera is that I find it very difficult to see the image whereas it seems so easy with my slr.
This is a Common Spreadwing which was also on the algae.  I wasn't sure I even would get this shot.  These flies are very flitty!!

 Lastly, these next two shots are of  a dragonfly called the Black Saddlebags.  Took me a bit to identify this as I thought that very dark area on the wings was the body but it is the "saddlebag".  In the afternoon light, the wings looked blue but this morning they looked clear as this dragonfly hangs around a lot on the end of a twig in our neighbor's yard.  I know I have seen some other varieties as well but in flight they are impossible to photograph.  

 A sideview of the above Saddlebags.

My tufted domestic duck was down by the lake and a new domestic visitor was there as well -- this brown and white duck.  I am not sure whether this is a cross of a mallard and domestic duck or another variety of plain domestic duck.  Will have to do a little research.  Even the mallards were out of the water today and I didn't see any males at all.

This is the view from my porch using the telephoto on my small camera.  Think I will be able to get some pictures that I couldn't before.  It is so bright down here, I get suntanned sitting in the shade on my porch so even a poorer lens lets in enough light to get some good shots.  

My youngest daughter, her husband and my granddaughter are flying in tonight from the West Coast and my other daughter is coming from Charlotte  so my next blog will be dedicated to them!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

GVQC September Meeting

This is a collage of a lot of the comfort quilts that were turned in during the meeting. Looks like people were very busy this summer with an amazing variety of quilts.

This is a quilt by Donna Schalge which contains an incredible number of family pictures.  Click on it to see more detail.  Besides all the pictures, loved the colors -- just the hint of the greens and yellows to spark the purples and blues.

 This is just a small piece of Marcia Eygabroat's latest beautiful creation.
This is a sample of the scarves that Valerie Schultz has done as part of teaching some ice dyeing with Procion MX dyes at Julie Brandon's.  This workshop is combined with one that creates these wonderful fused class pieces that can be made into scarf holders.

This is one of several panels, each about 6 feet by 12 feet that Pat Pauly created with recycled scrap fabrics as part of an exhibit for Rochester's Greentopia.  It will be hanging in the High Falls area.  See  Pat Pauly's blog entry for more information.

 Elaine showed the Batavia Quilt Guild's raffle quilt which I thought was beautiful!

Nancy Levant did this quilt using one of the patterns created by our guest speaker (Anita Grossman Solomon).  I had so many chores to do before heading south that I missed the speaker for the first time ever! 

I drove down on Saturday and Sunday.  The weather on Saturday was some of the worst I have ever driven in--kind of like the whiteouts in winter in Rochester except it was torrential rain.  I actually had to pull off the road once and should have a couple of other times but was afraid someone would hit my car as visibility was almost zero.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

New York City - Day 2 - Another Day at the Bronx Zoo

Whenever, I visit the zoo, I seem to come away with a favorite animal for the day and this day it was this very large Silverback Gorilla.  He/She (?) was a real character.  In the below picture, you can see that the gorilla sat right in front of the glass peering out at all the people like we were the ones on television.  I couldn't get close as the people were taking turns posing.  He looked over at me down the way a bit and got up and walked over and posed right in front of me in this "what are they thinking" pose.  I fell in love with this gorilla!!

The gorilla  is definitely posing here and was too funny!

This is an Ebony Langur and they were very active.

This is a Wolf's Monkey from Africa.  The last time at the Zoo, I didn't see any of the apes.  We did get to almost every exhibit this time although we were both very tired by the end of the day.  
This was another of my absolute favorites this time -- a Tree Kangaroo!
When Debi and I went in June, we somehow missed the lions!!  

There were quite a few outdoor exhibits of various birds -- there were actually two different ponds with flamingoes.  These were the darker pink ones.
 This is a Hornbill and  you can see why!
 The exhibits with the aquatic birds were fantastic and there was nothing between you and the birds who were only feet away from you.  This is a lovely Scarlet Ibis for my sister Gail!

 This is a Guam Kingfisher posing.

 Like the song, this is the Laughing Kookaburra from Down Under!

These are Inca Terns.
This was an incredibly colorful bird called a Monal.  The feathers are really a grey color but are highly reflective giving all these variations in color - beautiful!
As before, there were peacocks everywhere but thought I would publish this closeup of the face of the  more colorful male.  They weren't strutting like they were in June, showing all their feathers.

Of course I took lots of other pictures but many were repeats of what I took in June although polar bear and the tigers weren't as much fun this visit as my last.

The Bronx Zoo is one of the nicest zoos I have seen -- right up there with the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park.