Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Visit From My Florida Friends!!

For the past week, I have been entertaining visitors from sunny and warm Florida.  Luckily I was able to provide them with a couple of fairly nice days of tourist activities here in the Wilmington area.  Because of our severe cold a couple of weeks ago, our flowers are behind schedule this  year  Here you can see one of my visitors, Barbara, looking at this beautiful pink magnolia.  It was a gorgeous day

There was lots of beautiful scenery to photograph at Airlie Gardens, one of my favorite tourist spots in Wilmington.  There are two large ponds and lots of trees with Spanish moss.  Depending on the season, many ducks make their home here as well but make themselves scarce for visitors.

There were Gadwalls (here) as well as American Widgeons and Hooded Mergansers on one of the ponds.

I spotted this adult Black Crowned Night Heron hanging out by one of the ponds and barely visible in the Spanish moss.

There were quite a few Blue Grey Gnatcatchers flitting around.

There were also a number of male Cardinals singing like crazy around the Gardens

Airlie Gardens is famous for their Camellias and we were not disappointed with the showing!  Loved this pink and white variegated one.

Another really pretty white Camellia.

The Yellow Bellied Sliders were out in force sunning on every available log.

This is a closeup of one of the Sliders.  You can see where he gets his name!

I finally got all the ladies to pose for me.  Left to right are  Barbara, Jean, my friend Vicki (the ringleader of this group and my best friend from high school), and Vicki's SIL Joan.  Joan and Jean are fellow quilters.  Barbara, Jean and Vicky were up here to play in a sectional bridge tournament.  They come up early to try to get me retrained so that I can play and not embarrass myself too badly. 

We left Airlie Gardens, ate a lovely seafood lunch at the Boathouse and then headed to downtown Wilmington again and took a one hour cruise down the Cape Fear River (or rather up the river as we took the northern trip).  This is the courthouse downtown.  A new factoid I didn't know is that this is the opening scene from the old Matlock tv shows with Andy Griffith who I did know owned houses down here at Wrightsville Beach.

I had just  left the boat when I spotted this bird landing in a tree right next to me.  At first I thought pigeon but looked closer and realized it was a Eurasian Collared Dove.  I knew they were down here but had never seen one before.  This picture made him easy to identify!!

Playing bridge the first two days was pretty disastrous.  My partner had many raised eyebrows and was frustrated with me by the end of the second day.  However, I really redeemed myself the third day where we won just about everything we played in!!  I really feel like I am a better bridge player than I ever was 50 years ago when I played all the time but so much has changed in the game bidding, it is difficult to catch up.  The ladies were  happy as they got a much desired master point plus.  If I didn't have so many hobbies already, I might be convinced to start playing on a regular basis again.  The people were nice and the game is challenging.  Vicki and I never played when we were in high school.  She only learned about four years ago and already has close to 200 master points!!  No wonder she gets frustrated with me but we do have to play with more competent players because of her master points -- that is my story and I am sticking to it!!

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Hi Beth,
I have Collared Doves that come to my bird feeder. They are much more elegant than the wood pigeons who come.
The Collared Doves have soft whisper sound to their wings when they are taking off and landing. The Wood Pigeons always seem so clumsy! A lot of flapping without seeming to accomplish much!
Sandy in the UK