Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow letdown! :-(

Once again, we got all fired up for a good snow only to be let down! Around 11:30 last night a "nose of warm air," as the meteorologists called it, poked its way into the lower central valley. Unfortunately, it was just warm enough to make the snow turn to sleet and even a brief bit of rain. :( So, instead of waking up to a winter wonderland of 8" or so of beautiful, fluffy snow, we awoke to 2" of slush! Yuck! It just seems like cold air and wet conditions just aren't meant to meet here! What made matters worse, just a few miles up the valley the areas got 8 - 10" of snow. Grrr! Today we had a wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain. The old adage about if you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes and it will change, was certainly true today! I guess we have to be happy with any white stuff we can get here. Maybe we'll get some more later this winter, one can only hope.
So, I had to satisfy myself by taking bird and squirrel photos. I threw some extra bird food on the ground under the feeder behind the house, I knew that would entice the birds to come a little closer so I could get some good photos. It worked! I was able to get the best Brown Thrasher photo yet. I like their yellow eyes! The sparrows are very active, constantly hopping around, but I managed to get a few good shots of the White-throated variety. I like his yellow "eyebrows", yellow must be a good color this year! :)
The squirrels have been enjoying not only the bird seed, but also the suet. Despite the fact they are rodents, they are not strict vegetarians! I get a bit aggravated at them, but how can you get mad at a face like that peering at you?! :) I wasn't quite so patient with the flock of nasty starlings that swooped in, I knocked on the window to scare them away. They are such obnoxious birds! The cardinals were so pretty against the snow. This female enjoyed eating the sunflower seeds.

Friday, January 29, 2010

***Snow in east Tennessee!!!***

Woo hoo! Miracles do happen! It is snowing!!! The ground and road is covered now and we could get up to 8" by tomorrow afternoon. :) We haven't had that much snow in over 10 years! The first flakes started falling at 1:40 PM (not that I was anxious or anything!) and as soon as I finished eating lunch, I put on my warm clothes and headed outside with my tripod and camera. Since it was a bit warmer than a couple of weeks ago, the snowflakes were different. Many of them were just flat, hexagonal plates. Others were 6-sided columns that looked like an hourglass. The photo on the left shows 3 different kinds of snowflakes. Some of them were mis-shapen and funny looking! (right) I'm anxious to take some more photos tomorrow.

I also enjoyed watching the birds at the feeder. The male cardinals were so handsome in the snow! I saw a new (to me here in TN, I saw it in TX last spring) bird at the feeder before it started snowing. It was a Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Tomorrow night is a full moon, that will be a real treat if the clouds clear away! I hope it snows all night tonight!

Monday, January 25, 2010

County record butterflies!

Late last week I received 2 emails from local butterfly enthusiasts who had seen the butterfly gallery on my website. They mentioned that I had a couple of butterflies that had not been documented from my county (Anderson) and that I should contact the Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) coordinator for Tennessee. I sent the photos for verification along with the link to my Butterfly gallery. I was thrilled when Steve Stedman wrote back and said he had found 7 county record butterflies on my gallery! It is good that I had documented the date and location of where I saw each of the butterflies!

erson Co. - Baltimore Checkerspot (left) , American Snout Butterfly, Tawny Emperor, Common Wood-Nymph and the Viceroy (right)

Cocke Co. -Mourning Cloak (left)

Sevier Co. - Wild Indigo Dusky Wing (right)

To see a list of the butterflies in Tennessee,
Link to BAMONA website (click on Map Search; then click inside outline of TN; then click inside outline of any county):
It is exciting to think my hobby of photographing butterflies could help advance the knowledge of the range of these beautiful insects! :)

On the subject of flowers --- despite the bitter cold and torrential rains we have been experiencing, I found my first Snow Crocus blooming in my yard on Jan. 18!