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WritingAfterDark

Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Nature’s Wonders

Sometime between my April 3 post and today’s posts I managed to pause for a few moments to catch nature at its best. There is truly nothing more calming than taking a breath of fresh air and enjoying one’s surroundings.

The Blue Heron—
I believe it was in mid-April when I made sure I put my camera in the car to snap a shot of the Blue Herons that nest in the same trees every year for the past decade. They are such beautiful large birds, and so graceful when they fly. I’m glad I was able to photograph them this year before the foliage covered their huge nests.

Here’s a picture of a few Blue Heron in their nest.

Here’s another happy couple in the nest a few trees away. Every spring these birds come back to the same group of trees that overlook Big Sewickley Creek. There are approximately 25-30 nests total and each year they add a few more.

I was able to catch this one in flight before he landed.

Poor Old Coon—

I stood taking pictures of this coon at the top of the dead tree wondering if he was stuck in the hole he’d climbed into. All that was visible was the fur on his back. Two Feather and I rapped on the tree. The hollow sound of the dead wood echoed, but the coon never budged. We stood watching it for a bit, then decided to leave him alone. Maybe he was sleeping. The following week we walked by the tree again. The poor old coon was still in the same hole of the old dead tree. Obviously, the coon had expired there. Each time I walk by that tree I wonder if he’d gotten stuck and died trying to get out. I guess we’ll never know what caused the demise of that poor old coon, but one thing for sure, he’s still there and the only thing visible is the fur on his back.

Screech Owl in the Daytime—

With woods surrounding our house, we hear birds all day long. That’s nothing new. But when I heard an odd sounding screech behind the house, it immediately caught my attention. I walked slowly toward the edge of the tree line listening for the screech again. That’s when I saw this tiny screech owl in a knothole in the center of an old dead oak. What is it with old dead trees and knotholes this year?

In fact…

What is it with trees this year?

I know you wouldn’t believe this one if I didn’t have a picture of it!

Treehog—

Well, actually, it’s a groundhog in a tree. Yeah, I thought it quite interesting, too, when I looked out the window and saw this overweight groundhog climbing out to the end of the tree limb to eat a few tasty black walnut leaves. It was even more humorous watching him try to hang onto the branch as he eased his way back to the trunk of the tree.
Chair Nest—

Please remind me to take my comfortable camp chair inside next time I use it. Now, that may not be until next year. Early in the morning I noticed a pile of mulch being sculpted into a neat arrangement in my chair. Mom and I had gone out for the day and when we returned, the sculpting was complete. A perfect bird nest in the middle of my chair. I still don’t know what kind of bird nested in my chair, because I haven’t seen her yet, but I keep watching. It may be for nothing, though. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why any bird would build a nest in my chair on the front porch when my mom’s cat keeps a vigil by his food dish just a foot away. I’ll bet the cat was sleeping on the back porch in his bed when the bird decided the chair was a safe place.
I’ll be back with more pictures of the beauty of nature and gardens another day. Right now, I need to catch up on my beauty sleep. Hope you all enjoy.

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


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10 Comments:

Blogger jason evans said...

All are amazing pictures! Especially the Great Blue Herons. What a find!

I also loved the bird's nest in your chair. That's one industrious bird. :)

Thanks for sharing.

6/12/2006 12:17 PM  
Blogger paintbrushpoet said...

Howdy there! I could not find an email address for you in this blog. I have a book signing Wed 6-14 for "Stories of Strength" and would like to read your story along with some others. I hope this is okay--
I don't know about you but I have been soooo busy this spring/summer. I did have a severe withdrawal from AW and am now trying to get back to it. I did pray for Jenna though, bless her heart.
Your blog is great!
Paint

6/13/2006 12:58 PM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Thanks, Jason. As you well know, I love taking pictures. Lately, it seems I'm finding a lot of strange things to capture through my lense. :)

6/13/2006 5:52 PM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Paint,
Hmm. I thought my email addy was showing, but it wasn't. Congratulations on the book signing for "Stories of Strength." That's great! I don't mind at all that you'd like to read my essay. In fact, I feel quite honored. Thank you! Hope your signing goes well. Let me know.

6/13/2006 5:53 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Very nice, Joanne. Thanks for sharing. :)

6/13/2006 9:01 PM  
Blogger September said...

I still can't get over the great place you live! And that groundhog in the tree - lol - I never imagined that before. :) Great pics, Joanne.

6/15/2006 12:01 PM  
Blogger Anne C. Watkins said...

Oooh, a heron's nest! And a groundhog in a tree! I just love it when you post pictures. :)

Left you a message in the baby announcement post. I'm sorry to be so late! She's gorgeous, just like all the women in her family. And what a lucky baby, to have such a great family to love her.

Say hi to your mom and Two for me. *hugs*

6/21/2006 4:41 PM  
Blogger Frank Baron said...

Great pics Jo! Thanks for posting them. :)

6/21/2006 7:38 PM  
Blogger jen.nifer said...

Hi Joanne, your appreciation for the nature around your home is so lovely to see!

6/25/2006 5:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Jeff, September, Anne, Frank and Jennifer, thank you for reading. I'll be back with more nature pictures soon. ;)

6/25/2006 1:23 PM