Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mostly Playing with My New Lens!

Well, the weather was pretty overcast today and there weren't many birds but I did manage to see my Buffleheads down at Ft. Fisher.  I haven't put a picture up as I didn't have any worth posting until today.  These birds are probably at least 100 feet away in the water -- white dots for the most part.  So I took lots of pictures of dots today in poor light and was extremely pleased with all the results!

This is the first time I have seen a Black Scoter down at Ft. Fisher.  There was only this one female.  Usually I see a pretty good sized flock by now.  She was barely a speck out in the water.

This bird was only there briefly but I think it is an Eastern Kingbird.  It left pretty quickly.

Just playing but these pelicans were fairly far out and I just snapped a quick bunch of pictures.  Much more detail than I would have gotten with my other lens.

A whole flock of Mourning Doves were eating on my neighbor's lawn.  Snap, snap -- they got their picture taken.  They were at least 30 feet away.

I am pretty sure this is a Savannah Sparrow which is pretty common around here.  It was very late on a cloudy afternoon.  I am very pleased!!


Hopefully, all the people will clear out soon and maybe I will see some more birds.  There has been nothing but American Coots at my usual Carolina Beach Lake.

I am still working on purses and have almost made up the purses from all the "kits" of matching fabric that I made up before I came down here -- using this Kona Bay Japanese style fabric that I bought probably 20 years ago!!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Just for a change of pace, I thought I would put in a sunrise picture instead of a sunset one.  We now have more of a horizon than before since they tore down that house!  It just amazes me how far south the sun comes in winter.  I hadn't taken a sunset picture from my porch in months. In early fall, I would have to lean way out to capture the sunset as it was almost behind the house.  Now it is really far south and the foreground is entirely different -- houses instead of woods.  We certainly do have pretty sunrises and sunsets down here though!!

This was a late afternoon sun obscured by lots of clouds but enough to shine on the basin and I thought it was worth capturing!

I am back to making some purses with my adaptation of a pattern I had.  Years ago when in San Diego, I bought a whole bunch of 1/3 yard pieces of nice Japanese fabrics probably from Moda.  I am finally using these up with the purses.  These purses have nice deep pockets on the sides, a zipper on top and 2 deep zippered compartments inside.  I sometimes include a hidden zippered pocket on the outside as well.  

Another utilizing the Japanese fabric and some batiks.
Just one more and my least favorite as I think I like a jazzier print for the main part like the above one.  I am going to try to use some of my marbled fabrics to make some bags and will try some new designs as well.

Had to add a picture of my Christmas cactus which is blooming right on schedule for the first time ever.  I left it outside for all the fall months to encourage this good behavior!!  Usually I get two flowers around Mother's Day!!  All but a few flowers were blooming for Christmas.

Birding has not been good this year but there have been a pretty consistent flock of Horned Grebes down at the basin.  The last week, there have just been too many people hanging out at Ft. Fisher.  There have been lots of beautiful Buffleheads in their usual spot by the gazebo.  

Lots of gulls hanging out at Ft. Fisher now.  I noticed that they were not there in the fall as usual but there are certainly back in numbers now -- lots of Ring Billed Gulls and Laughing Gulls with a few Herring Gulls thrown in.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Crunch, Crunch, Crunch....

The weather has been really warm the past few days which has made for some spectacular sunsets so you will have to stick with me a bit!!

Down at the Basin at Ft. Fisher.  Love the juxtaposition of the blue and the orange.

Even just pointing the camera at the sky in the opposite direction made for beautiful color!!

The most fun was that I was reading the paper the other morning and heard all this noise and couldn't figure out what it was -- I went over a little bit on my porch and saw that they were tearing down the ramshackle cottage that has sat next to our beach access.  At first I thought they were only going to tear down the piece by the road as a second section closer to the beach looked pretty okay.  This is the only house that was left between us and the ocean as others were taken down the first year we lived here.  We are going to enjoy it for as long as we can as inevitably there will be new construction.

You can see the nicer house behind this front section.  Bam, goes the roof for this front section.

All gone!!  They came back the next day and carted away all the rubble.  I still don't see a sale sign.  The properties like this are worth  more without the houses.  A few years ago the lot would have sold for a million dollars.  They will probably get at least half a million for it though even now!!  Selfishly, I hope it stays vacant for awhile!!

I did get down to the "secret beach" which is the coquina shell beach that backs up to Ft. Fisher.  I just love looking at the rippling rocks and the seawood covered surfaces.  It was warm and therefore a bit foggy on this day.

I did see some Sanderlings going for food though. The birding down here has been less spectacular than past years.  I have seen very little at Carolina Beach Lake and not even my Ruddy Turnstones on the secret beach.  I don't know whether it is because of more people out or birds going further south.  I have seen lots of Buffleheads and the Horned Grebes.  Others have seen the Hooded Mergansers but I haven't spotted them yet but as well as any of the other ducks I am used to seeing.  I have decided that since Snow Owls eat waterfowl and those same owls have migrated really far south this , this is where they have all gone!!!  (Just kidding  but one Snowy Owl was spotted on Wrightsville Beach which is just one beach up.)

Well,  hope everyone has a happy holiday surrounded by friends and family (or by yourself for that matter)!
My daughter and her two kitties are here for the week!

I have been again making purses but that is for another blog!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Alligators, Birds and Stuff

 I just can't help myself taking pictures of pretty sunsets at Ft. Fisher.  This day I actually drove on my way home from somewhere else when I noticed it would be a good sunset day!!

 I went to Greenfield Lake Park one day to see if there were any of the Shovelers (there weren't) and it was a gorgeous warm day (close to 80 that day) and this 8 foot alligator decided it was a good day to come out and sit in the shade.  This was not where I usually see them!!  He had to be 8 feet long!

I used my telephoto to get up close and personal as he had his eye on me!
This was just a view into the Cypress swamp near where I saw the alligator.  

I try to get down to Ft. Fisher at low tide each day to see what is wondering around.  A couple of mornings ago, it was this male Belted Kingfisher.  I had to take pics while still in the car as they are very shy and won't let you get anywhere near them!

On my way back, I stopped by the rocks and my usual walking place and noticed this House Wren sitting out on the rocks.  Usually you see the Carolina Wrens around here, especially at my daughter's house!!

Yesterday there were all sorts of birds down at the basin.  I just love the Oystercatchers and there were dozens of them yesterday.  There were one remaining Godwit, many Semi-palmated Plovers, Horned Grebes, Ibis, Egret, Herring Gull and the  usual Ring-Billed and Laughing Gulls.

Here are two Horned Grebes.  They don't let you get too close and spend a lot of their time diving for fish.

Here is a closeup of a Horned Grebe.

This is a Forster's Tern which we see frequently down there.

This is a view to the long brick wall I have mentioned before which separates the basin from the Cape Fear River.  Note all the Oystercatchers!

I have been working hard on finishing the jacket and finally I got it done several days ago.  This is the back and the next picture is the front.

I hadn't sewed the linings down at this point but it is all done now!  I actually found some silk at a local quilt shop for the lining.  Optimistically, I bought enough to finish another jacket as well!!

After I finished the jacket, I decided it was time to make my granddaughter some new clothes for Christmas as I just like to do that.  Here are two jumpers (corduroy) and two dresses.  I  underestimated the fabric needed so had to line with some of my quilt fabric but think I like it even better, especially for the corduroy jumpers which would have been pretty bulky with corduroy!  Now to get them packed up and in the mail.  There are kitties on the fabric on the far left and a jungle scene for the one on the right!

Now I am making some purses from kits I made up before leaving home.  Of course I forgot how to put them together but after staring at them for awhile and undoing a little stitching, I remembered (and will now document for myself).  It has been months since I have made purses!

Friday, December 6, 2013

The End of Low Tide at Ft. Fisher for Awhile

The sunsets the early part of this week were particularly spectacular -- just the right amount of clouds.  This was taken down at the basin at Ft. Fisher.  The thin dark strip you see is the wall that was built in the mid 1800s to keep the ocean water and silt from the Cape Fear River.  You can walk quite a way on it at low tide.  The two black dots in the water are Oystercatchers.

Only one Godwit is left but the lighting was better today than usual as it was cloudy instead of the bright sun shining in my eyes and backlighting everything.  

He is joined by one of the Oystercatchers which frequent this area at low tide.

This the first time I have seen the wings out!

One of the Oystercatchers was giving me the eye.  He is pretty far away still.

Have been back to Carolina Beach Lake but still only Mallards and Coots.  At first I thought the American Coots had disappeared as well but they wandered by and they are up to their normal winter level of about 40 birds.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Should I Rename this the Ft. Fisher Blog?

 As I was returning from Ft. Fisher, I glanced over to the left, stopped the car and took this picture of the sunset through the Live Oaks.

There are almost always deer down by the road between the boat ramp and the aquarium.  These two kindly stopped and posed for me.  There was another doe as well.  You can see a little fall color in the background!

This was the first time I have seen our Bufflehead winter visitors.  There were four females diving like crazy.  I did manage to get a couple of shots though!

There were still a couple of the Marbled Godwits there.  There were also Willets and again a lot of the Oystercatchers.

This lovely Tricolored Heron was fishing where I had the sun in back of me for a change!

This Great Blue Heron found a very large snack on the beach which he dragged into the water.  I have yet to figure out what it was -- either a very large fish or a small alligator?

This very large gull was swimming around and I am assuming it is a juvenile Herring Gull from its behavior but they look so much like the Ring Billed Gulls, not sure I have this one right -- it did look awfully large though.  It had pink legs but the description in the book had them both looking about the same!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Quilters by the Sea Guild (QBTS) Christmas Party

This is a Masonic quilt which was made as a surprise gift to the woman's husband.  One of the guild members was asked to hand quilt it.  It took her a number of years and really surprised by husband when she told him about it as the wife who made it had died.

This is the first of four quilts shown by Guild member Betty Van Sickle.  From other meetings, I know this is one prolific quilter and her work is just lovely!!

Another of her quilts -- a NY Beauty!

Yet another and I loved this one as it is so scrappy!!  I may make one of these when I get back to NY!

I do love Stack and Whacks and have probably made 25 myself.  Love the different backgrounds on this one!

This was a friendship quilt given to Francine.  It is totally two sided.  The stars are friendship stars and I really liked this as an idea for a celebration quilt.

And this was a very nice Feathered Star.  Like the subtle gradations in the background color.

All in all, it was a super nice party with lots and lots and lots of food and good company.  I just happened to sit down next to a woman who was from Greece, NY and whose husband had worked at Kodak for many many years -- another small world occurrence in this Guild.  The woman across from me was also from NY!  I think I recruited some new customers for our next GVQC show as several of the women around me had relatives in Rochester!