May 30, 2020

Silly Animals, Stately Birds





Since I posted multiple photos from Shenandoah National Park yesterday, I thought I should share these three shots from there too. The deer looks surprised that I interrupted dinner.

I was pleased to get close to a wild turkey but it turned its head away before rushing into the forest.

The rest of today's pictures are from my back yard, beginning with a silly squirrel.



I'm still filling the finch feeder. Usually I stop feeding birds in April because bears wander around hungry in the spring. I've had a couple of feeders crushed by a bear in the past. But I'm hopeful that bears are not attracted to black thistle seed like they are to sunflower seed. Thistle seed does not smell good, in my opinion. Goldfinches like it, though.


We've watched a pair of Canada geese with their lone gosling as he's grown over the past few weeks. Today I saw a second single-gosling Canada goose family at the same time as this one which surprised me. Usually Canada geese have multiple goslings, so why do two pairs here have only one? Perhaps there's an egg-stealing predator around. 

There is also a family of hybrid graylag geese that visit our yard and they have five goslings.

May 29, 2020

Mountain Rocks, Walls, and Flowers.

Shenandoah National Park
Willy Nilly Friday
 
Skyline Drive is open again, and I wasted no time going there and driving through a nearby section of Shenandoah National Park.  We were up there on Sunday in spite of fog, and went back yesterday when the clouds weren't so low.

The rain had brought forth springs of water splashing over the rocks. There were also splashes of color from wildflowers blooming in profusion.




Fences Around the World.
Most of the park facilities are not yet open. The store at Big Meadows is opening this weekend. Picnic areas, campgrounds, and restaurants are still closed.

If you've been to the central part of the park, you probably saw the profile of Stonyman. Here a rock formation makes the slope of the mountain look like the side of a face, as long as you use just a little imagination.
"Stony Man’s fa├žade is greenstone, a metamorphosed ancient volcanic rock. Even though we think of rock as never changing, it does change – it weathers, erodes, and breaks down. A rapid event like an earthquake or a landslide could alter the shape of Stony Man’s face or make his nose fall off in an instant! No matter the shape of his face, the view from the top is worth the effort it takes to get there."


Skywatch: Next let's admire a view of Old Rag as seen from Thoroughfare Mountain Overlook. 


I was dismayed to see trash at this overlook and at other points along the drive. I hope this bad behavior does not discourage the Park Service from reopening the rest of the park. Overcrowding and carelessness were problems earlier in the pandemic when the park stayed open after most recreational places had closed. No one wants to pick up items that might be contaminated with the virus!


Rappahannock County has several trailheads leading into the park and they have chosen to keep them closed because hikers were blocking roads with the vehicles after trail parking lots filled up. County leaders are also concerned about people from other localities bringing the virus into their rural area.

I've heard similar concerns voiced in Warren County but so far they are still welcoming visitors.

On a more pleasant note, I'm closing with mountain laurel and a scenic view. Some of the flowering plants were planted when Skyline Drive was built. A landscape architect was actually employed and plants were purchased in nurseries in the valley. Like the well-engineered road, the landscaping blends in beautifully with the mountain scenery.

May 28, 2020

Roadside Reading

Here's a car with more stickers than I could read.



This masked bear in Wardensville implores us to "Flatten the Curve." Coincidentally, Tom has posted a masked bear on his Signs linkup


I've been dismayed at how many people refuse to wear masks, even though they've been shown to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This bear's mask would make it unlikely that he would breathe on you (if he were a person instead of a carved bear). My mask is to protect people I speak to. Yes, it can feel uncomfortable in warm weather, but getting the disease would feel worse. And I actually like how it makes the odors of the detergent aisle in the supermarket a little less annoying! (I'm allergic to many fragrances.)

The sign on the left of the next image puzzled me until I looked it up. It is a hash tag of QAnon conspiracy posts on social media.


The remaining three pictures are ones I took in Warren County along 619. An electronic signs warns that a section of the road will be closed next week. 

The 619 Market has changed their sign to say "I thought air was free until I bought a bag of chips." 



The volunteer fire department is still trying to get new volunteers.

May 26, 2020

A Fancy Swimming Pool.



I haven't visited any museums or historic places lately because so many places are closed. For this Tuesday Treasure, I'm drawing from my 2018 photos. We visited an estate on a garden tour and this is just the pool house and pool. As you can see, the setting was lovely and the pool was surrounded by statues.

The pool house was an old residence that had been restored. 

Clarke County Countryside



Sharing these scenes from 2019 with:
The Barn Collective and
Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday.


May 25, 2020

A Flag Memorial and Park Random-osity


Monday Murals.
The Good: For Memorial Day, I located a picture I took last summer at the American Legion in Front Royal. This flag mural is made of painted rocks! It is surrounded by lawn statues of saluting servicemen.

The Random: Virginia has gone from the emergency lockdown to Stage One, which allows some nonessential businesses to open with restrictions. Campgrounds are now opening with safety measures in place. I took a picture of the campground host's setup at Shenandoah River State Park.


The Fun: Shenandoah National Park has reopened! This means that Skyline Drive is open to traffic again.  Some amenities are not yet available but at least tourists can view the wonderful sights and hikers can enjoy the trails.

I knew it would be crowded on the first day, Saturday, so we waited until Sunday and drove to Sperryville to enter at Thornton Gap after 5 PM.  It was obviously cloudy, and we found the Drive was shrouded in fog. 



For sixteen miles I drove slowly through fog so thick we couldn't anything but trees and the headlights of oncoming cars. Then we finally emerged from the clouds and pulled off at the Browntown Valley Overlook, elevation 2890 feet. 



It was good to be back on the Blue Ridge!
Mosaic Monday.

May 24, 2020

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Front Royal, VA




I noticed a large sign at this church. One side invites people to worship with them via online video conferencing.

The other side of the sign says "Pray for our health care providers." Amen to that!



The white wing of the building appears older than the modern brick sanctuary.

May 23, 2020

It's Caturday and World Turtle Day.


Saturday's Critters. I haven't filtered a cat photo in a while, so I plucked one out of my archives and altered it in Photoshop for the Caturday blog hop. 

Today happens to be World Turtle Day and I found a turtle in my archives too.

The rest of today's pictures are from this past week.  Do you see the fish that this fellow caught? He threw it back a few moments later. Our neighborhood pond is pretty much a "fish for fun" place.
Weekend Reflections.

The squirrel seems to have spotted me. He doesn't look too pleased. I was in his territory that day, a park in Front Royal. I also photographed a robin there. How nice that it posed on a fence! That makes it perfect for the Fence linkup.

The Bird D'Pot: The rest of my pictures today show local birds.





The young sparrow was perched about our deck. I think he fledged from our bird house recently. I've watched the parents bring food to the house, and heard chirping inside it.

The male goldfinch is a bright yellow in spring. The female is a duller shade, but still quite charming.

The ducks in the final photo are mallards.