November 30, 2019

Misadventures in Birding.

When I walked out into the living room this morning, I heard strange sounds. Something was moving around but Frank was still in bed. Saw nothing out the window, nothing in TV room, nothing in the kitchen. Muffled sounds. Sounded like something or somebody was on the roof!

I went around peering out all the windows. Then a couple of huge vultures flew low across the yard. I grabbed my camera and walked out on the deck. More vultures, flying from my roof, flapping powerful wings like the flying monkeys! At least 20 of them left my roof and sailed across the lake. The last one was perched in a nearby tree and finally sailed off. I guess he was the sentry.

I only got two pictures. We did look at the roof later but did not see anything on it. I don't know why they congregated up there.

We often see vultures in our neighborhood. They like to hang out near the lake.

Recently I spotted what I think was a kingfisher, just across the North Fork at Seven Bends State Park. It was perched in a tangle of branches and I had trouble getting a clear shot. Since I didn't have a tripod, the picture is not sharp enough to crop any more tightly than I have here.

I placed it in the middle so you can find it.

I shifted my weight and tried to hold the camera still. By the time I pressed the shutter with care, the bird had flown! I captured a reflection of bare trees though.

Well, I've been waiting to cold weather to put up my bird feeders. Since we are between a forest and a river, bears sometimes come through our yard and they will destroy bird feeders to get the seed. On the day before Thanksgiving, I put up a couple of finch feeders even though there are still reports of bear sightings in our county. The seed in these in thistle seed (also called nyjer), and it is supposed to be too bitter for squirrels. I hope this means it won't attract bears. 

So far I've only seen one goldfinch on the feeders, and he flew off as soon as I took a picture, even though I was inside a window. The photo was a little blurry so I thought I'd turn it into "art" for Athena's linkup

The other finch feeder is a "sock" style. So far I haven't seen any birds on it, but there's this guy!

Apparently this squirrel did not get the memo that squirrels don't eat thistle seed. It looks young and slim, so it was probably hungry. Unfortunately it made several holes in the fabric so no doubt seed will fall out.

November 29, 2019

Marie's Visit, Mountain Vistas.

1. I took this yesterday evening as Thanksgiving Day drew to a close. Clouds obscured Signal Knob. 

Black and White Weekend.
2. It was nice to have Marie visit, however briefly. I picked her up at the airport on Wednesday morning and dropped her off at the Metro yesterday afternoon. She is my younger daughter.

3. On Wednesday afternoon, Marie and I made a brief visit to Shenandoah National Park. The views to the west were very clear but the wind was blowing a bit too strongly for us to spend much time outside.

4. Next are two more picture from park overlooks. I visit the northern section of the park frequently because it is not far from home and I have a pass.

5. Skywatch Friday This is the same view that I showed at the beginning of this post, taken on a different evening.  I can see this panorama of the Massanutten Range from my home.

November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving in Woodstock.

Today we met Lynn for Thanksgiving lunch. We arrived at Cracker Barrel at 11:30 and did not have to wait. Not many places are open on this holiday so the restaurant gets very busy.

We wanted a place that serves other main dishes besides turkey and also has some side dishes that don't contain any of our allergens. My daughters and I have certain foods we can't eat, not all the same ones.

Marie and Frank had the full turkey dinner. I had a ham dinner and Lynn had one with chicken-fried steak.

I have some other photos of the Woodstock area to share, not taken today but showing a bit of Shenandoah County: A water tower, a horse and fence, a farm gate, a sign with the 1752 date that Woodstock was established, and another restaurant.

The horse does not look impressed with me!

Fences Around the World.

Sharing with Signs, Signs.

November 27, 2019

Tonight at the Main Street Mill

In Front Royal with Marie. 

November 26, 2019

Fixer-Upper with a Great View

Harpers Ferry, WV.  The old Hilltop House Hotel is literally falling down. A developer is interested in rebuilding it because it has a wonderful view, but there has been some opposition. I think some people are concerned about traffic and noise in the now quiet neighborhood.

The view is as fine as any hotel has. You can see the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, which long ago carved a valley in the mountains.

The overlook is still open to visitors. It may become inaccessible while hotel construction takes place, so this is a good time to see the view. The street address is 400 E. Ridge Street.

The first time I saw Hilltop House, it was still open. I was on a Civil War tour with Dr. Poland's class and we toured the John Brown sites and had lunch at the Hilltop House Restaurant. That was probably 27 years ago.

The hotel closed in 2007.

November 25, 2019

Murals at the Main Street Mill

This restaurant in Front Royal was once a feed mill. The dining rooms are decorated with long murals painted by Patricia Windrow. 

Allow me to show another collage, this one of skies seen in Front Royal. You can get a wide view of the sky from the bridges at the Riverton end of town.

More murals by the late Patricia Windrow:
The Not So National Zoo
and a Valley Scene.

November 24, 2019

Today Near Garlic Hollow

Inspired Sunday: This charming church is at the corner of Garlic Hollow Road and Headquarters Road, which is west of Edinburg, Virginia. This is St. John's United Church of Christ, founded in 1889.

It was a pretty day in farm country, so I got some pictures of barns and cows.

The Barn Collective.

November 23, 2019

Skylines and Critters

Shenandoah National Park

Let's go back to a few weeks ago on Skyline Drive. This is a view from Hensley Hollow Overlook. 

Saturday's Critters: The dog was with his people in a parking lot. I brightened his picture and added some filters.

For more pet art, visit Athena's Caturday linkup.

I visit Shenandoah National Park frequently. A cloudy day or even a light rain does not deter me. Here we see deer in the mist and a rabbit near the Dickey Ridge Picnic Area.

Skyline Drive traverses the park, and it features 75 overlooks with great mountain views. Here we see Old Rag Mountain and then Stony Man. 

People drive up to the overlooks just to watch the sun go down. Now that the days are short, it is easy to remain in the park until dark. Then you need to drive down the mountain very cautiously so you don't hit any animals that may be crossing the road.

November 22, 2019

River Pics, Birthdays, Windows.

1. I've shown low-water bridges before. This one spans the North Fork of the Shenandoah near Muse Vineyards. 
2. Someone commented on Monday's post that she would like to see a regular-size view of the river rather than a small one in a collage. So this is for Barbara!

3. I met Lynn for lunch today to celebrate her birthday, which is tomorrow.

4. Allison's birthday is today so we met celebrated that tonight. The upward lighting  is from her phone. She is Frank's middle daughter.

5. Friday Flowers and Friday Bliss. I like flowers and since there isn't much blooming outside, I sometimes take pictures of cut flowers. These were in Spelunker's, a hamburger and custard place in Front Royal.

6. Skywatch: This week I had our outside windows professionally washed. This is a first for me, but I have to accept that my balance is not what it used to be so I need to avoid standing on ladders.

They are sparkling clean and ready for me to take pictures through when the birds visit our feeders this winter.