Beyond the Backyard

Callaway Gardens Vacation: Part 5 – Migrating Warblers!

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The Beast was napping in his case when Rich and I were hiking in the Azalea Bowl at Callaway Gardens last week.  I had the wide-angle lens on the camera, somewhat disappointed at the meager number of birds that we’d managed to find on our vacation.  So I put on a warming filter and concentrated on making landscape images.  (Note: an APS-C sensor with its 1.6 crop factor does not make for a good landscape camera at Callaway…the trees are so tall that you can’t fit them in the frame!) Of course, as soon as you leave the telephoto lens behind, you come across the birds!  We found a flock of mixed warblers and other small birds in the woods.  Some of them are year-round in Georgia, but with the mixed flock, I wondered if they were migrants. I ran back to get the Beast.  Even though it was mid-day and the light was very harsh, I found that the trees filtered the light, and my shots were better than I expected. The first bird I photographed was the Black and White Warbler above.  I was glad to have my 1.4x teleconverter, as the birds were all really high up […]

Beyond the Backyard

We Found Woody!

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Dyeyo and I have been going to Circle B together for over a year now, and for that whole time Dyeyo has been on a quest to see Red-Headed Woodpeckers.  But day after day goes by and Dyeyo still hasn’t seen his “Woody.” So for Father’s Day, I asked Herman to recommend a place where I could take Dyeyo to find a Red-Headed Woodpecker.  Herman recommended a place called Chinsegut (an old Eskimo name, pronounced Chin-SEE-gut.  Try saying it three times fast!).  The name means “the place where things of true value that have been lost may be found again.”  Well, maybe the woodpeckers weren’t lost exactly, but we sure found them! The nature center at Chinsegut is open only on Fridays and Saturdays.  We found it to be a really cool little place.  The best part was outside the center, where there’s a butterfly garden with a ton of bird feeders.   There were a ton of birds, most of them with their young fledglings:  Northern Cardinals, Tufted Titmice, Carolina Chickadees, Eastern Towhees, House Finches, Blue Jays, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, and of course, the Red-Headed Woodpeckers.  At one point, I said that I had heard a hummingbird.  Imagine Dyeyo’s […]

Beyond the Backyard

Callaway Gardens Trip – Spring 2010

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Rich and I decided to take a week off this spring to go to Callaway Gardens to see the azaleas.  With the cold winter and early spring rain, the bloom was supposed to be spectacular.  It’s also very late – so the Callaway Azalea Watch was very helpful in planning our trip. The Mountain Creek Inn was full, so we ended up renting a cottage.  It was really nice.  We were right inside the gardens, and we woke every morning to bird song. One of my favorite things about Callaway is seeing flowers and plants that like colder weather, so I can’t grow them in Florida.  The flower beds were accented with pansies and tulips and daffodils. I took this picture in Mr. Cason’s Vegetable Garden in the morning while the gardeners were watering the flowers.  The water droplets add a fun effect. Rich asked me to take a tulip picture for his mom, and once I started trying to get good close-ups, I had trouble stopping.  Squirt says I should have gotten more close-ups of pansies while I was at it. Of course, the real reason we went this week was to see the azaleas.  Callaway has several azalea […]