Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Beautiful Birds, Sweet Mammals and the Need for Rain

Promenade Juvenile Female Cardinal

Tufa Terrace Female House Sparrow

Tufa Terrace Eastern Cottontail

Arlington Beautiful Peony

Its already 90 degrees as I am heading out this morning at 7:50 a.m., the humidity is a visible haze.  I washed my sunglasses in warm water before I left so they are not foggy over as I head into the park.  As I reach the Arlington Lawn the girls a group of female House Sparrows are lined up looking at me from a bench back.   A beautiful Peony catches my eye glowing in the low light of the early morning.  A sweet little sparrow lands in the Tree next to me.  I look back to the bench to see a Male Cardinal has scared all the sparrows into nearby Trees.

I head up the Tufa Terrace Trail to the Promenade to see a lovely juvenile female Cardinal in a Tree catching the first light of morning.  She is singing a sweet tune as I head further up the Trail. I almost miss the male Eastern Cottontail in the earth and brush to my side. He is always a welcome sight, I wonder where is the female.  As I move ahead a juvenile black bird lands in a Tree above me, this young bird is about the size of a large adult Robin.  If you know what it is I would appreciate your help.

When I reach the Peak Trail Tufa Terrace junction a Small Sparrow lands near me on a branch.  As I finish taking a photograph, a Squirrel peeks out at me high in the leaves above. Near the end of the Carriage Road I spot two Chipmunks chasing each other across the Tufa Rocks.  I hope they will find a cool resting place for the day.  The heat is rising so I sip some water before I head up the Mountain.  Looking down at the steps leading to the Dead Chief Trail and notice it is crawling with striped garden Caterpillars.  I step carefully so as not to crush any of them.

When I reach the top of the first incline on the Dead Chief Trail I can hear a male Cardinal singing to the morning sun.  I turn to see a bright red male Cardinal sitting on a high branch.  He is spectacular is the early morning light.  The heat is climbing as I reach the Short Cut Trail and I sweat my way to the top of Hot Springs Mountain.  When I reach the picnic area there are no hikers, bikers or vehicles, I don’t blame them the humidity is draining.  I drink a lot of water before I continue my hike.

When I reach the Hot Springs Mountain Trail below the Pagoda I watch two juvenile Cardinals flitting and walking ahead of me.  I love all these wonderful young birds in the park, they are exuberant and show great joy for life.  They stay with me as I head deeper into the Forest.  I can’t stop thinking about the need for a big rain storm in the park.  On every trail the leaves are turning brown as if Autumn has arrived.

The heat is draining and I decide I better head home before I run out of water.  I leave the park on the Floral Trail where I spot a Grasshopper type insect sitting on a flat leaf.  Again if you know what it is I would appreciate your help with an identification.

Step outside and no matter where you are Nature will find you.

Much Love,

PS: Late this afternoon the rains came, beautiful Life Giving moisture so desperately needed in the Forest.

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