Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Where the Wild Things Hide

Thought for the day:  You can't experience the mountaintop unless you're willing to climb the mountain.
It's still a little too hot around here to do any mountain climbing, but we did go to the Blue Heron Nature Preserve this past Sunday. The newspaper article described it as a very quiet, reflective, and peaceful place. Plus it touted the area as a habitat for deer, beavers, otters, minks, wild turkeys, quail, woodpeckers, and of course, blue herons. (Oh, my!)

I mean, wouldn't you have wanted to visit such a place?

So I grabbed some bottles of water and insect repellent, (AKA finishing sauce) and off we went.

We were greeted by this cute little guy, who stood right at the first trail we took into the woods. Let's just call him Recycle Man.

Other than ol' Recycle Man, we didn't run into anybody else. Ours was the only vehicle in the parking lot, too, which pretty much assured us from the get-go of finding that peace and quiet mentioned in the newspaper article. We meandered all through the area, followed every trail, and looked around here, there, and everywhere for some signs of wildlife. We came across a community garden and an apiary, but not a single critter. Not one. Didn't even see any tracks. I reckon it was too bloody hot for them. They probably went to the mountains for the weekend.

Alas, the only blue heron we saw was on this weather vane atop a pavilion.

We had a grand time, even though it was a little hot around the edges, but my better half was the closest thing to wild life I encountered at the preserve. Let's just call him Smarticus.

We heard lots of birds. We gazed at Nancy Creek for a while, but didn't even see any signs of life there. No fish, no snakes, no beavers, no turtles. If there were any wild things at that preserve, they were all in hiding. (Except for us, of course.)

Talking about the absence of turtles made us think about Chattahoochee Nature Center, and how the last time we were there, we saw so many turtles, they were literally stacked four and five high all along a log. Really! Darnedest thing we ever saw.

So we decided to go to there to continue our walk.

We no sooner got inside the Nature Center and paid our entrance fee than the skies opened for about a five-minute downpour. You know, just enough to turn that little hot around the edges into an

                                                           absolute SAUNA.
                              Really. I'm talking steamy, people. (Didn't do a thing for our dos...)

Until the rain stopped, we wandered around inside and checked out the exhibits. HEY! Finally saw my heron!

How'd you like to encounter a snapping turtle this big in the wild? (He was about two feet long.) Impressive critter, but I was just as happy that the taxidermist found him before I did. And yes, of course, I touched him. After all, the sign does say please.

 When we went out into the sauna to hit the trails, we did see a couple of impressive bald eagles, and several kinds of hawks and owls. But they were in humongous cages. The pictures I took of them were pretty lousy, so you'll just have to take my word for it that they were there. We looked all over the beaver habitat, but nuttin, honey. Oh, well. Either they were hiding, or they were away for the weekend, too.

                                                                But what we did see is


Beautiful, beautiful butterflies.

All kinds of butterflies. Big ones, little ones, brightly colored ones, dark ones, and even ones with stripes. But for the most part, they were very busy flitting around, and didn't want to sit still long enough for me to grab many pictures.

                                    But, I could've shot a full-length movie of the bumblebees.

       Recognize these plants?

Here's a closer shot. Does that help? It's a pitcher plant. They're carnivorous. That lid snaps shut once an insect is lured inside. Pretty cool, huh?

After a while, it seemed as though the trees were trying to tell us something. Like maybe it was time to go?

And so, we danced on outta there, and headed for the air-conditioned hacienda and something cold to drink.

                                      How about you? Enjoy any wild life over the weekend?

                                    Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. Thanks, Susan, for this look into a remarkable project. It's like what my wife would do if we had 25 acres. You may not find a blue heron but there are plenty of the sorts of little creatures I like to converse with. Also impressed by gardens supplying Crossroads Community Ministries kitchen. Yes, you got me reading about the place!

  2. The pitcher plant look every bit like the menacing carnivor from some alien planet.

    As for weekend wild life I can't seen to get away from work. I've been on-call for the past two weekends now and will be again on the one coming up.

    Hoepfully I can make a trip down to the South Carolina coast during the middle of September.

  3. I'm with Beach Bum, the pitcher plant looked scary -- particularly the markings ...

    Did it feel odd that there was no sign of wildlife, especially after having seen so many turtles at another time? I certainly don't want to be alarmist but I guess it did leave me a bit unsettled that the bulk of your sightings were bees and butterflies.

    Like your opening quote, Sus.

  4. Something about mad dogs and Englishmen and the noon day sun. Proof, yet again, that animals are smarter than we are.

    Didn't realize pitcher plants could survive Hotlanta winters. Learn something every day. Looks like a great park.

  5. It looks beautiful! We are lucky to live near a massive nature preserve spanning Pennsylvania and Delaware -- AND it connects to bike trails in nearby Newark, Delaware (home to the University of Delaware). I'm usually a walker, but I recently took up bike riding with my husband and love it! So peaceful!

  6. What a lovely day! Great pictures. Yes, even that scary pitcher plant.

  7. Oh, that last picture is so awesome. Looks like a dancing tree spirit. Very cool. Glad you went on an outdoor adventure and shared the pics.

  8. Knowing how humid it is here after our visit from Issac, I can imagine how uncomfortable it must have been walking through a nature preserve in Georgia at this time of year. So what did Smarticus have to say about this expedition?

  9. Geo- Oh, how neat that you researched the preserve! We enjoyed walking around there, but I'd really like to go back when the weather is a little (a lot) cooler.

    Beach Bum- Hi-ya. Good to hear from you again. You know, with an alias like "Beach Bum" it's practically mandatory that you spend some quality time loafing around on the beach. I hope you get to do just that later this month.

    Suze- No, I wasn't alarmed that the critters were in hiding, just a little disappointed. It's just too hot for them to do much moving around during the daytime right now. And I'm pretty sure if we go back to the nature center in the spring, we'll see just as many turtles on that log as we did before.

    Mr. C- No doubt about it, the animals showed more sense than we did. I was really surprised (and excited!) to see the pitcher plants. In all the years we've lived here, that's the first time I recall coming across them in this area.

    Dianne- Your preserve sounds wonderful. Especially with the addition of bike trails. (Now, THAT'S the enjoyable kind of exercise that doesn't feel like work!)

    Linda- It was a great day, and coming across those pitcher plants was a real highlight.

    L.G.- Thanks. Glad you enjoyed the pics.

    Arleen- Yeah, it was pretty uncomfortable, especially for an air-conditioning addict like me. As for what Smarticus had to say about the expedition, he enjoyed our walks as much as I did, but I suspect his favorite part of the day was aggravating Maggie. That's what we call the GPS unit, and he gets the biggest kick out of programming a destination into it, and then going the way HE wants to go. I'm not saying he "ticks the unit off", but I swear, sometimes it sounds like it. Every time the GPS told him to "Make a U-turn as soon as possible!" we cracked up.

  10. My hubby carefully puts in our destination into the GPS and then possibly goes about a mile following their directions. The word most spoken in the car is "recalculating". I think he just likes to hear that Australian woman's "voice" and then thinks he is pissing her off by doing his own thing. He is sure he knows better than a computer.

  11. Arleen- HA! Sounds like our hubbies are a lot alike. Only our GPS unit doesn't say, "Recalculating." At all. Kinda surprised us, but she DOES spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out where the heck we're going... and why did we even ASK her if we weren't gonna LISTEN...?

  12. We live near a pond and every once in a while, a turtle that big climbs up to visit our next door neighbor's yard. Probably on an egg laying mission. Our neighbors plop the visitors into a barrel and drop them back in the pond. It's always good for conversation though. Those bug eating flowers, now those was something!

  13. I had an unusually boring weekend. But for a change the weather was spectacular!

  14. Many thanks for letting me accompany you on a soothing journey through some splendid greenery.

    And don't let the heat get you down. It was 107 here in Texas today and I could hardly walk from my truck to the front door at WalMart.

  15. Hey Susan,
    Wow, what a place the Blue Heron Nature Preserve is. For one moment I thought you might be referring to some kind of rather different jam preserve.
    I'm especially liking those photos of the butterflies. And that snapping turtle is just the kind of creature I'd touch to get me out of my shell.
    That tree may have been checking for wind direction. Finally before I completely bore you, "Mr. Recycle Man", has just made me think of "Garbage Gobblers". I have no idea why. With that, mercifully, I'm outta' here :)
    All the best and thank you for another informative fun blog with great photos!

  16. OK, that tree picture made me laugh out loud.

    I love walking around nature preserves, and we have a number of them around here, but sometimes it just is too hot. Looking forward to cooler weather (known here as January 14).

  17. I LOVE your header. Could you send me your address please 'cause I think there is a friend here who would like to visit your header. giggle

    Hugs! 12:34

  18. Liza- Wow, I sure it isn't a snapping turtle coming up to visit. They're like pit bulls of the reptile crowd.

    Al- What, no waterfall trip this weekend?

    Jon- OY! That kind of temperature is fit for neither man nor beast.

    Gary- HA! Yeah, blue heron preserves would be kinda different. Glad you liked the butterflies. I don't think I ever saw that many of them in one place at the same time before. The striped ones were especially neat, but I wasn't quick enough to get a picture of one of them.

    Pixel Peeper- Yeah, your temperatures are even warmer than ours. That's why we try to visit Orlando in October. It's too darned hot in the summertime.

    Skippy- Thanks. Glad you like it. I know it's must plain silly, but I have fun playing with my yams. 12:34

  19. No wild life here, but your butterflies looked beautiful.


  20. We had a neighbour's new born calf go missing for a couple of days, but otherwise the only serious wildlife is Lady Magnon.

  21. Janie- And here I thought a little bit of the "wild life" was in your blood. The butterflies in the pictures are beautiful, but I sure wish I could've gotten a better shot to show just how many different kinds were there.

    Cro- Complaining or bragging? I'd say you're a very lucky man.

  22. Lucky stiff! I loves flutterbys and dumbledores. And I love the treeshaping. We could use a few fingertrees around here.

  23. Laura- HA! I call 'em "flutterbys", too. ("Bedknobs & Broomsticks"?) I have a feeling I know which fingers you want those trees to flick.