September 21, 2019 Jonesport, Maine

 

Pearl Exploring the Blueberry Barrens

Blueberry Barrens Forever

I arrived at the Pleasant River RV Park in Addison Saturday afternoon after a long (expensive) trip north on the Maine Turnpike. Having never stayed here before, and reading that there were only 6 campsites here, I was pleasantly surprised to get this very nice spot with full hookups and a nice view.

Sunrise the next morning!

I came through some startling colors in vast blueberry fields, I think they are called barrens, on the way down to the campground. So soon as I was settled in, I drove back out to see if I could get any decent late afternoon shots. These wood ducks merit a return to the side road I found them on, but my noisy approach, as I was not expecting to see wood ducks, spooked an entire flock of them.

There is some color here and there on roadsides, with some vivid colors in the wetlands and around the pond edges. Certainly not peak foliage here yet, but the blueberry barrens are another story!

I went back Sunday morning to see if I could get some better color with the early morning light.

Driving the narrow, very dusty gravel roads through the barrens, I had to just keep shooting away, so, once again, I apologize for the number of photos, but the colors fascinated me.

Incredibly, looking at images of these blueberry barrens online, I don’t believe these are at peak color yet, but still impressive to me as I have never encountered  them before.

The fields are picked clean this time of year, but on a few little steep hillsides heading into the woods, there are areas that the mechanical harvesters probably can’t access, leaving a few berries here and there. Being a commercial operation, I did not get out and pick any of these, though I was tempted!

 

 

September 20, 2014 Twisp, Washington

A Beautiful Morning in Horse Country
A Beautiful Morning in Horse Country

Touring the Methow River Valley

This morning I drove down to the town of Twisp, across the bridge over the Methow River and explored the east side of the river heading back north to Winthrop.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Wonderful Morning for Ballooning
Wonderful Morning for Ballooning

 

 

 

A hot air balloon rose from the west side of the river as I made my way north and slowly drifted my way while ascending. What a great way to spend a beautiful morning such as this, the views of the pastures and winding river below must be incredible in the early morning light.

 

 

 

 

 

Wood Duck Tease
Wood Duck Tease

Just before getting to Winthrop, I spotted a small pond down by the river that was just covered with ducks. Spying the side road that led down to it, I turned off the main drive and pulled up to a fence that surrounded what turned out to be a water treatment pond, with “ No Trespassing “ signs all around. When I glassed the pond and saw three pair of wood ducks amongst the hundred or so other ducks, mostly mallards and gadwalls, I had to find a way to give it a shot.

Wood Duck Tease
Wood Duck Tease

Unfortunately, this was to be yet another woodie tease as I just couldn’t get close enough for a decent shot.

Backtracking West on Route 20

Once in Winthrop, a neat little town with an old west atmosphere, just packed with tourists, I decided to backtrack Route 20 all the way to Diablo Lake to experience the trip through the Cascades with blue skies and the sun shining, and I would have to say it has a very different look than yesterday when I traveled it under a low grey sky.

The Dry Eastern Side of the Cascades
The Dry Eastern Side of the Cascades
Glaciers Above Diablo Lake
Glaciers Above Diablo Lake
Route 20 Descending East
Route 20 Descending East

This was the start of a 2 or 3 mile 6% grade heading down the mountains from Washington Pass, one of two such downhill sections of Route 20 on the east side of the passes. As noted in yesterday’s post, Route 20 over the Cascades is not a terribly scary drive for a large RV and Toad, actually quite manageable.

Traffic Heading West on Route 20
Traffic Heading West on Route 20
East side of the Cascades
East side of the Cascades
Blue Skies over Diablo Lake
Blue Skies over Diablo Lake

This shot, above, was taken today. Compare it with the one below, taken yesterday under grey skies, what a difference a day can make.

Diablo Lake
Diablo Lake
Rugged Peaks
Rugged Peaks
Long Ways Up
Long Ways Up

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March 1, 2014 Moving Day

Red shouldered hawks
Red shouldered hawks

Red-shouldered Hawks at Bayou Segnette S.P.

Waking up early, I started packing stuff away in the Rv for today’s move on to Florida for my “citizenship” run. As soon as the sun broke the horizon, I hopped in the car and took a last run around the park hoping to still get some decent wood duck shots and to follow up on the red shouldered hawks I found yesterday.

Woodies hanging around the house
Woodies hanging around the house

As always, just click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Once again, the woodies are just too darn alert and finicky to get anything decent, I have to find some place where I can get a little closer to these colorful guys.

Red shouldered hawks
Red shouldered hawks

It went a little better with the nesting, and mating, red shouldered hawks.

Red shouldered hawks
Red shouldered hawks

 

Making little hawks
Making little hawks
Red shouldered hawk ready for takeoff
Red shouldered hawk
Red shouldered hawk ready for takeoff
Ready for takeoff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I probably spent another hour or more watching them come and go with nesting twigs, hunt for lizards, survey their territory from the treetops, and, yes, even do what it takes to produce little red shouldered hawks.

New Orleans to Milton, Florida

Reluctantly, around 10 AM I forced myself to leave the hawks and go back to the campsite and load the Prius on the dolly and depart Bayou Segnette State Park for Florida.

Mardi Gras Floats
Mardi Gras Floats

As I was heading east on Business Route 90 just outside the park, I could see traffic backed up forever in the opposite direction. The cause…. several floats making their way towards the city to have their finishing touches applied for Mardi Gras, just the thing I wanted to avoid. The traffic was backed up solid in all three lanes for almost two miles, glad I am heading east, not west.

Crossed over the Mississippi River and joined up with I-10 East which will take me all the way to my Florida destination, the KOA in Milton, Florida, located right at Exit 31 on I-10. Clear sailing, all the way, or so I thought!

Mississippi Mardi Gras floats
Mississippi Mardi Gras floats

 

Mississippi Mardi Gras floats
Mississippi Mardi Gras floats

Turns out, apparently a lot of other towns around here have their own Mardi Gras celebrations. as I discovered just as I approached the Louisiana and Mississippi border on I-10 and suddenly traffic stopped with no reason visible ahead as far as I could see. From a dead stop, we slowly started crawling forward at about 10 MPH…for miles!

Mississippi Mardi Gras floats
Mississippi Mardi Gras floats

 

Mississippi Mardi Gras floats
Mississippi Mardi Gras floats

 

Mississippi Mardi Gras floats
Mississippi Mardi Gras floats

After about half an hour of this, I could finally see the reason for the backup, not an accident or construction as I assumed, but a line of Mardi Gras floats heading east on the interstate. Colorful and certainly unusual, but kind of frustrating on an Interstate.

Mobile Alabama
Mobile Alabama

Once past them, it really was clear sailing all the way to Mobile, Alabama and it’s surprising, to me anyway, skyline. From there, just a short run and I arrived at the Milton KOA around 3 PM. This is definitely a nicely kept, well run campground, mostly full of seasonal units and located directly next to I-10, also a little pricey to me, as all KOA’s seem to be, $44/night for a grass site with water and 50 amp electric. I chose this campground for the convenience of it’s location and also because everything else anywhere around here was full!

 

Woodies hanging around the house
Woodies hanging around the house
Red shouldered hawk
Red shouldered hawk
Red shouldered hawks
Red shouldered hawks

 

 

February 28, 2014 New Orleans

Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material
Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material

Red-shouldered Hawks and Woodies

A welcome change of pace this morning when I was greeted with clear skies and cool temps, a second straight day of nice weather!

Click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

I went looking for wood ducks first thing and found several pairs drifting around just offshore from their nesting boxes on the shores of the large pond in the middle of the park.

Wood duck drake
Wood duck drake

I got one quick shot of this drake on top of his nesting box just before he flew off. I just can’t get close enough to these guys to get any decent shots. They are without a doubt, the easiest to spook ducks I have run across.

Wood duck drake
Wood duck drake

As I circled the park, I came across a beautiful hawk on the ground standing over some small prey he had caught. When I stopped for a shot, of course he took off. Just a beautiful bird that at that moment I could not identify. Circling around to see if I could relocate him, I saw some motion in the trees above me and noticed the beginnings of a nest in the bare trees above me. I decided to stop, pull out the tripod, and the rocking chair, and wait to see if the nest and the hawks might be related.

Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material
Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material
Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material
Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material
Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material
Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material
Red shouldered hawk gathering nest material

Soon after, first one, then another, red-shouldered hawk flew over carrying twigs to the nest I had spotted. Though there were too many branches in the way to get any good shots of them on the nest, I was able to get several half decent shots of them coming and going.

Red shouldered hawks
Red shouldered hawks

Also was able to get them sitting on their favorite perch high up in a dead tree 100 feet or so from their nest.

Little blue heron
Little blue heron

While I was shooting the hawks, this little blue heron flew in and landed on the bridge railing only a short distance from me. Even though I plan to depart the park for Florida tomorrow morning, I will have to come back out here before I do, weather permitting, this hawk nesting site has some great possibilities!