Monday, August 4, 2014

Honey Bees Vs. The Hummingbirds

I love the honey bees....I love hummingbirds...that being said does anyone know how the two can peacefully coexist in our yard? We have an abundance of the little hummers this year (15 or 20 they are too fast to count them all) but a few days ago the bees invaded as you can see. The poor little hummers can't get to the feeding ports. My husband tried a plate of sugar water to coax them away from the feeders (something we had read about on the web) but it only attracted more! It's almost like we have a hive on our deck at times! We have some flowers that the hummers can feed on but our sugar water was a big part of their diet. For now we are just feeding them in the evening at dusk when the bees calm down and we're trying to move the feeders to other parts of the yard in the hopes that the hummers will find them but the bees will not. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to keep my hummingbirds fed?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sights From The Shenandoah National Park

Lara Ellis Fine Art Nature Photography Sell Art Online Art Prints Lara Ellis Fine Art Nature Photography Photography Prints Sometimes I forget how lucky we are to have the Shenandoah National Park in our back yard just 20 minutes from home. Here are some of my favorite sights from our recent drive along Skyline Drive near Luray, Virgina. We saw a young bear cross the road too but I wasn't quick enough on the draw with my camera to get a shot. This cute little fawn made up for my lack of a bear photo though. She was so curious about the woman with the flashy thing. Every time the flash would go off she cock her head in wonder. Maybe it was the first flash she had ever seen. The beautiful orange flower is a turks cap lily. I saw it from a distance in the middle of a wildflower meadow filled with black eyed susans. Its bright orange color really stood out in the yellow and I had to get a closer look to see what it was. It was certaily worth a closer look to see this beauty up close.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Colors Of Spring

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 This past winter seemed unbearably long and cold and lacking in color. Growing up on the Oregon Coast I was a bit spoiled with the seasons. Sure it got a little cooler in the winter and rained A LOT but everything remained green year round. I didn’t realize how important color was to my life until I moved to the East coast and I really missed it during the winter months. Here in the blue ridge, we have what they call "seasons". We have beautiful dramatic changes between the seasons and some of those change over times are easier than others.  I love the Summer with its warmth but Spring has got to be the most amazing season to me. Spring is like a reward for making it through winter and its lack of color and warmth.  Spring is like that scene in the Wizzard of Oz after Dorothy has survived the trip in her house riding on the back of a tornado. Once her house has landed, she steps out her door and steps from her black and white world into a world filled with vivid colors!

After surviving winter in the Shenandoah Valley it's wonderful to see a parade of color from the flowers. First it’s the purple of the crocuses followed by the yellow of the forsythia and then the redbuds and then the light shades of green everywhere from grass to shrubs to trees. But that’s not source of color that Spring has in store for us winter weary folks in the mountains.

There is also a parade of brightly colored birds. There are bright yellow pine warblers and gold finches and one of my favorites, the rose-breasted grosbeaks.

The grosbeaks are only here for a short time. Our place in the blue ridg mountains is like their little vacation spot before they get to their nesting grounds to the north and west of us here in the Shenandoah Valley. When they first arrived this year the sight of them literally made my jaw drop and rendered me speechless. When I tried to tell my husband that they were here I couldn't get get the words out right because I was so excited! I read an article online from Cornell Lab of Ornothology here that described them as “like seeing an exclamation point on our bird feeder”. They truly are like seeing and exclamation point on your bird feeder!

Not only are these birds drop dead gorgeous but these birds have wonderful personality too. You would think that a bird that is only here for a short time would be a bit skittish and definitely not ready to have their portrait taken but these birds are just the opposite. I can be as little as 8 feet away and once that camera starts clicking, it is like they are mesmerized by the attention and they just stay put and pose away. Perhaps they are used to having their photo taken since they are such beautiful birds and have come to realize that they are in no danger. Whatever the reason may be, I’m thankful for such a willing bird model and a beautiful one too! Happy Spring! :-)