Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Posts tagged “Carolina Chickadee

White-Eyed Vireo, A Pair of Chickadees and a Chipmunk

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Every action ripples across the Universe to recreate the future. ~ Lee Hiller

Along each trail Nature reveals her spring secrets… A pair of Chickadees collecting greens for their nest, a glorious White-Eyed Vireo, a lovely Chipmunk, Pearl Crecent Butterfly and Wildflowers.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Hello Spring!

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My Soul seeks to see life through the lens of Nature’s perspective. ~ Lee Hiller

I love early morning light in the Forest.  Slowly rising the sun awakens a sweet song of life which echos across the Tree tops.  A song to my Soul as I move gently along the trails in Hot Springs National Park.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Beneath A Vibrant Canopy Of Autumn Leaves

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Colorful Leaves emerge as the sun rises between the towering Pines. Chickadees sing a sweet melody bathing me in joy beneath a perfect Autumn Arkansas sky.  Beneath the vibrant canopy of Autumn Leaves I am Nature’s child.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Little Birds Among The Autumn Leaves

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Autumn falls softly to the ground exposing the wings of a million symphonies waiting to be released into the Forest.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Dreams are the canvas for our Soul to create new worlds.

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Dreams are the canvas for our Soul to create new worlds. ~ Lee Hiller

I wasn’t the only one who was pleased with the temperature this morning. It was perfect hiking weather sunny in the low 70s and humidity was low too.  Along the trail sweet bird song filled the air.  A mixed flock of small birds landed in the Trees on either side of me.  They were happily seeking food and nesting materials.  Beautiful Life in the summer Forest.

A glorious summer morning to get out and play.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Glorious Spring Birds and Wildflowers on West and Music Mountains

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Earlier this evening a bad combination of key strokes triggered the publishing of my unfinished empty blog…  instead of typing madly and waxing poetic this will be a “Wordless Wednesday with Wings” Blog.  The photographs were taken on my five mile hike across/around West and Music Mountains in Hot Springs National Park.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Wildflowers and Birds among the Tree Sculptures

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Each hike reveals an ever changing open space art gallery.  The winter Forest of Hot Springs National Park is filled with beautiful Tree sculptures.  You can see a struggle for life in each trunk curve and branch bend.  Pushed by storms, twisted by high winds, battered by ice and snow each Tree has a story to share.   Colorful Rocks are a canvas for the lichen, mold and fungi to paint their glorious abstracts.  Awakening wildflowers push through the leaves, twigs and seeds reaching for sunlight.  Their late winter petal pallet of purple and violet dot the landscape.   Lovely Birds are beginning to build homes in the branches that will soon be sheltered by new leaves.  They sing sweet songs to visitors about the promise of spring.  A living art gallery near you is waiting for you to visit… get out and play!

Love to ALL!
Lee

PS A storm is on the way so I took a detour after my hike to see the Cherry Blossoms :)


Some trails are still being cleared after Christmas Day storms

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Heavy rain and strong winds battered the already damaged Forest following the Christmas Day Ice Snow storm.  The past month I have not hiked as often in Hot Springs National Park as many trails had not been cleared.  Yesterday I took a quick tour of the west side of Hot Springs Mountain and found some trails still had down Trees blocking access.  In the distance I heard chainsaws on North Mountain during my hike.  Today I headed up Hot Springs Mountain again and found the Peak, Dead Chief, Short Cut and the east side of HSM trail loop are cleared.  On North Mountain the Upper and Lower Dogwood trails are now cleared as well.  As I was coming down the now cleared North Mountain side of the Floral Trail I could see crews clearing the Hot Springs Mountain side.

We have more rain storms coming in over night so I will check West Mountain trails accessibility early next week.  We might have to remind park management that they need to clear the Sunset Trail om Music and Sugarloaf Mountains plus the area in the old Fordyce Estate.  If you have recently hiked Indian Mountain I would love to know how the trail fared.

I missed the Forest and am glad to be back out on the trails…

Love to ALL!
Lee


First Rays of the Sun are Food for My Soul

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The path we seek is often no further than beneath our feet. ~ Lee Hiller

I am a morning person, the first rays of the sun are food for my Soul.  Light touching the sky igniting a glow across the green leaves dancing on a cool breeze.  A beautiful chorus of bird song crossing the park in a wave as the earth awakens to the touch of a new day.  Everything that seems so overwhelming vanishes with each step forward to greet the dawn.

Love to ALL,
Lee

PS: I am happy to say my husband’s wounded wing is responding to therapy and he was able to hike with me this morning :)


Wildlife, Wildflowers and Magnolias in a Lovely Spring Morning

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I Love heading into the Forest before the sun has crested Hot Springs Mountain.  It is a world of shadow and half light where Nature is waking from her slumber.  I knew it was going to be a perfect morning when I immediately spot an old friend, Bob the Squirrel.  I call her Bob because sometime before we met 3 years ago a portion of her tail had been removed (bobbed).  Her survival skills and parenting have always made her a welcome site.

As I head up the mountain I find 2 clusters of Daisy Fleabane waving in the cool breeze. On the Carriage Road I have the feeling I am not alone.  Looking up I expect to see a bird, but it is instead a lovely Squirrel hanging upside down watching me.  By the steps heading up the Dead Chief Trail a single blue Asiatic Dayflower glows by a steam vent.

The soft glow of Yellow Sunflowers dot the trail edges as the sun lightly illuminates the way forward. Two purple Asters are peeking out from sparse greenery.  The Short Cut Trail is slowly awakening as light begins to caress the canopy. At the top of the Mountain I am taken by the gentle rustling of the Leaves, a soft morning melody. It is a peaceful hike around the eastern side of Hot Springs Mountain, I had forgotten how beautiful the trail is in the first light.

When I reach the north side the sun is beginning to reach over and bird song leads me to a tiny Carolina Chickadee. An adult and juvenile Blue Jay are supervising flight training of a lovely little fledgling.  It is beautiful watching them diving in and out of the Pine Trees calling to one and other.  While I am enjoying the show my camera battery goes dead so I change it out.  As I snap in the battery I glance to my side and see a glowing shape on the trail ahead of me.  Standing illuminated in a single patch of bright light it take me moment to realize it is a Deer.  A lovely Doe has been watching me and after several seconds she gracefully trots off into the Forest.

I head home down the Floral Trail and take another tour past the lovely Magnolia… it has been a beautiful morning in the Forest.

Love to ALL!
Lee


Lake Catherine State Park Arkansas Horseshoe Mountain Trail

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The Horseshoe Mountain Trail in Lake Catherine State Park Arkansas is one of my favorite places to hike.  The trail winds through a wonderful variety of  peaceful landscapes.  Each season provides hikers with different points of interest and diverse wildlife.

My hike begins in a beautiful Pine Forest zigzagging up the side of Horseshoe Mountain.  Two Swallowtail Butterflies dance lightly across a Red Buckeye Bush illuminated by stray rays of sunlight.  Soon the Pine Forest is interspersed with broadleaf Trees as the trail hugs a large outcropping of Rocks. Winding higher up the mountain I pick my way through boulders and sparse Trees in a constant climb toward the first plateau.

Large Rocks and Pine Trees give way to a spectacular Deciduous Forest decorated with colorful Wildflowers.  The trail make me feel as if I am moving through a vast cottage garden .  The natural flow of the path is lined by Rocks, Grasses, Wildflowers and newly leafing Trees.  Tiny birds move rapidly among the Leaves of the spring canopy stopping only to feast on the plentiful insects.  An old log on my right is a launching platform for a swarm of white-winged termites. In the early morning light their translucent wings glow as they lift off drifting on a light breeze.  For a moment I pause and imagine them to be woodland fairies launching themselves into the beautiful spring Forest.

At the top of Horseshoe Mountain (782 feet) the trail traverses a ridge through the thinning Forest.  A Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker is hopping from Tree to Tree searching for its breakfast.  His red head markings are spectacular against the greenery surrounding us.  Large clusters of Rose Verbena are growing from the edges of Rocks that create a series of obstacles on the trail. Yellow winged Grasshoppers spring forth with every step creating an illusion of flying Wildflowers. Lizards scramble under the Leaves as my footfall disrupts their basking in the sunlight.

The trail leads me down into a predominantly Pine Forest dotted with spectacular blooming white Dogwood Trees.  A tiny Black and White Warbler peers cautiously at me as I pass beneath its hiding place in the leaves above.  When I reach the bottom of the trail it intersects with the Falls Branch Trail then continues up the other side of Horseshoe Mountain.

On the top of the next ridge Deciduous Trees give way to a meadow sprinkled with Spiderwort, Wood Spurge, Birds Foot Violets, Rose Verbena and Potato Dandelions.  In another month the dominant green ground cover will give way to a blanket of purple, pink, yellow and white.  An opening in the foliage at the end of the ridge affords a view of both Lake Catherine below and Dam Mountain to the right.  It is a perfect place to pause and reflect on the beauty Nature has painted for me today.

The trail rapidly descends toward the Lake through a forest floor blanketed by years of rust autumn leaves.  Beautiful Red Buckeye Bushes dot the side of the mountain drawing me toward the shoreline.  A sweet Chickadee sings a soulful serenade and glances shyly at me from a branch winding across the trail.  I continue on the path crossing both a suspension and small wood bridge that leading me past nearby lake front campsites. A short while later I reach the trail head from which I began my hike.

Love to ALL!
Lee

Lake Catherine State Park Horseshoe Mt Map


A Hike Fraught with Twists, Turns and Beauty

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I am hiking up West Mountain and the unthinkable occurs, one of my cameras dies :(  I thought at first it was the battery but it soon became clear it was the camera.  I turned around and headed home at peace with the problem, thankful I took out the 4 yr extended warranty.    The little monster was eating batteries, so broad landscapes will be on hold for at least 10 days.  It is time to refocus my view of landscapes as I did once before during a couple of weeks in 2010. “Beautiful Birds of West and Music Mountains” “Woodpeckers, Chickadees and Who is the Rock Stacker?

This left me with one camera so after I arranged for repair service with Sony I headed back outside to console myself with photographing Wildflowers.  As readers of my blog may already know I love Wildflowers, so my mission was a wonderful way to spend the rest of my morning.  While I searched the grass for tiny blooms I heard a noise above me, I was not alone.  Slowly stepping back I turned to look up and find the source of the scraping sound.  Peering down at me was a sweet Squirrel whose lovely color was transitioning from winter silver to spring rust.

As I was moving through the park searching for spring flowers when a Cedar Waxwing landed on a Tree in front of me. Soon it was moving off with other birds and I decided to try and follow them.  The truth, I lost ground pretty fast so I ended up on Bath House Row in the park going to see if a favorite Tree had blossomed.

When I reached the Yellow Spanish Style Hot Springs National Park Administration Building  I could see a the large Saucer Magnolia Tree blossoms were beginning to open.  The freeze and snow last weak changed the outer petals from a pink to a pale beige gold.  At first I felt sad to have lost the chance to capture perfect pink blossoms.  When my mind adjusted to the different colors I realized Nature had presented me with a new version of beautiful.  Gold accented the pink making the shape and definition of each blossom a unique floral sculpture.  Spring has arrived in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Less than a block from my goal I glanced to my side and saw two lovely rows of blossoming Cherry Trees.  To see the spectacular Cherry Blossoms visit my last blog entry “Beautiful Cherry Blossoms Herald An Early Spring“.  You will also see the beautiful wings waiting for me in the blossoms.

Much Love to ALL!
Lee


The Sleeping Sentinels in the Changing Winter Forest

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The Forest is no longer draped in its shawl of green, now it holds sleeping secrets waiting to emerge in the warmth of spring.  Leaves randomly sprinkled along the trails remind us of the colorful past foliage that cradled us in 2011.  Wildflowers are replaced by the colorful feathers of now revealed birds joined by the delicate beauty of fungi on rocks and logs.  The Short Leaf Pines tower high above the sleeping Oak, Birch and Gum Trees creating a new canopy above us as we hike.

Open your Heart and eyes to the beauty in the winter Forest, revel in the simplicity of the sleeping sentinels.  While some Trees sleep you will see glorious details once hidden beneath the green of spring and summer.

Love to ALL!
Lee