Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

From the front porch…


…to the centerpiece of the kitchen table.


Happy Thanksgiving everyone and God bless!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kiptopeke State Park & the CVWO

 If you're not aware, it's a great time of year to be out birding. Many birds not native to the region have, or will be passing through as they migrate south to their winter homes. This is known as the fall migration, and I'm fortunate to live along one of the bird migration routes known as the Atlantic Flyway. It's the route that generally follows the Atlantic Coast of North America and beyond - see map below.


One of the key stopover area along the Atlantic Flyway for many of these migrants is the Virginia Eastern Shore. The Eastern Shore is an important staging and feeding area that provides a variety of habitats for hungry birds; as well as cover for tired, wary birds.

At the southern tip of the Eastern Shore is Kiptopeke State Park. Since 1963, Kiptopeke has been the site of bird population studies for Virginia's Eastern Shore. Sponsored by the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory (CVWO) and licensed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, volunteers capture, examine, weigh, band and release resident and migratory birds each year from mid-August through November. In the raptor research area, hawks, kestrels, osprey and other birds of prey are observed and banded from September through November. Kiptopeke’s hawk observatory is among the top 15 nationwide.

CVWO has put together a short video that gives an introduction of the great work that they do there. It's a really neat video so if you have a few minutes to spare check it out.


The Yellow-rumped Warblers (below) is one of the many songbird species that visit the Eastern Shore this time of year.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

For additional info check-out the CVWO website:

CVWO blog:                                                                                                 

Kiptopeke blog:


Thanks to Mary Reid Barrow for posting this video first on her blog.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Visit to Norfolk Botanical Gardens - November Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

  My family and I spent the afternoon at Norfolk Botanical Gardens last week enjoying some of the fall colors in the garden. I enjoy visiting other gardens during non-peak times to get ideas on what looks good this time of year. Like any other gardener, my goal is to have color and interest in the garden year around. With that said, I'm going to fudge a little bit for this months bloom day and highlight some of my favorite blooms from our visit last week.

The fall blooming camellias stole my attention right away. They were absolutely gorgeous. Some were just starting to bloom and others were in full bloom like this one below. The ground was just littered with pink pedals.




As expected, the chrysanthemum's were in full bloom. This one's called  'Hillside pink Sheffield'. I'm going to have to get some of these for my own garden next year!


I'm going to need a little help with this next one. It's some kind of aster but I'm not sure of it's name. They were planted sporadically throughout the garden and provided a burst of color everywhere I saw them.


Here's a closer look. If anyone knows please let me know in the comments. This is another plant I would like to incorporate into my own garden.


Surprisingly, the roses were blooming like it was mid-summer. Lack of a hard frost has kept them looking good.


I thought this was an attractive color combination below - Russian sage with black mondo grass planted in front. Although the blooms of the Russian sage die back in fall , the rest of the plant looks attractive for most of the winter, as well as the black mondo grass.


Here's a neat plant called Pachystchys lutea 'Yellow Shrimp Plant'. The erect floral spikes are actually closely arranged bright yellow bracts. Small white flowers appear in between the bracts.


Berries were very abundant in the garden, as you can see with this pyracantha koidzumii 'Victory'.


And this viburnum. This one is called Viburnum dilatatum 'Erie'.


Crabapples are some of my favorite trees and they didn't disappoint.


These weren't labeled so I'm not sure about the name.


This one below is 'prairie fire'. Crabapple trees are great to have in the home landscape. They provide food for wintering birds and other wildlife.


I hope you've enjoyed this pictorial tour of the gardens with me. If you want to see more be sure to visit Mays Dreams Gardens blog for this month’s Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.