Purple bee balm

Many of the photos in this blog are taken along paths trod time and time again on weekend “photo safaris,” which usually consist of an hour walking an area less than a half-mile radius from the house. There are mornings where the thought forms, (with sigh): “There doesn’t seem to be anything new today.” And almost before it’s completed, something new does appear. This was the first time in all the years on the mountain that we’d seen these purple bee balms. These were perched comfortably on a steep, south-facing slope.

Purple monarda
Purple bee balm.


The eastern bluebirds have really been hanging close to the house the last few days. Maybe it’s because of the warmth radiating from the house, the plentiful sunshine from the south, or perhaps because there are still a lot of sumac berries for snacking. (There’s plenty of competition for those berries from sparrows, juncos, chickadees, flickers and wrens.)

Eastern bluebird grabs breakfast in the sumac.
Eastern bluebird grabs breakfast in the sumac.

The monarch is back!

The monarchs are back. Well, at least one monarch. This one was trying to rest in the goldenrod this morning, but found himself being buffeted by breezes, honey bees, wasps and other pollinators. You can see the wear on his wings — appearing as scratches in some of his orange areas.


Eastern and west

Another attempt at shooting the night sky. Through the viewfinder it appeared as if the tree was strung with tiny white lights, but it turned out many of the leaves on this struggling oak had their own glint.  Tonight, we’ll stay up to see Mars, the Orionids and maybe, just maybe, catch a glimpse of Comet Ison.  (The Waiting for Ison blog has lovely  illustrations showing what you can expect to see and when, in the night sky.)

Night Sky looking east
Eastern sky last night.
Moonset and sunrise
Western sky this morning with gibbous moon and 360 degree pink ring around the horizon.  

Autumn colors 2013

Here it is late October and the Ouachitas are just beginning to turn.  Even though the woods are mostly green, there’s still plenty of autumn color around. Photos taken today and yesterday.