I decided to use that title for this post before I took this photo. I was thinking I'd been in a bit of a birding drought lately, at least in terms of new species added to my Big Year list. When I saw this dry creek bed, I thought it all too appropriate considering the actual drought affecting our region since last year.
So while the doldrums of summer have kept the additions to my list to a minimum, the resident species haven't been any less interesting. A few, like the Great Blue Heron and Belted Kingfisher have been around only sporadically, but most of the rest are pretty reliable. Even with little rain and a lot of heat, some of the plants are still looking good.
As intolerable as Lily can be at some points along the trail, there's nothing like the look on her face when one of these little guys appears and just stares at us.
I have to admit, I've developed a bit of a fascination with dragonflies this year. It seems like the butterfly population is way down, so perhaps I'm looking to these other winged beauties for my summer entertainment.
A bit further down the trail I saw a first-timer for the location, an Eastern Phoebe. It's not a new bird for me, but it brings the total number of species I've identified on the Moss Creek nature trail to 64 since December. It's not a great picture, but (s)he was very camera shy.
At the same spot I saw 3 Downy Woodpeckers, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, and plenty of rowdy Carolina Chickadees. A bit further down we came across the cutest sight of the day, by far. The first picture is a juvenile Chipping Sparrow. Apparently they are still too young to know when to be scared at this stage, because I was within 6 feet of him when it was taken. So photogenic! In the second picture, if you look closely, you can see one of the parents feeding the baby a nice big juicy cricket. Yummers!
Lily really likes to say the name of the Indigo Bunting. Apparently she is familiar with it, thanks to one of her favorite episodes of Max & Ruby. There are no shortage of the bright blue beauties at the trail. This guy posed just long enough for me to get a good shot.
Lily really likes the wild raspberries too. She desperately wants to start picking them and eating them right off the bushes. She gets especially jealous when she sees the birds devouring them.
When we came home there was an egg in the bluebird nestbox. It wasn't there at 8:00 this morning, so I know it was laid today. I wasn't able to capture the shot of the 3 juvenile bluebirds while they were on the bird bath, but I did manage to get this shot of mom and dad as they took up one of their favorite spots.
A great afternoon of enjoying mother nature culminated in a beautiful display by her. Tonight was the "Solstice Moon", or the full moon closest to the summer solstice. It produces those really huge moons at the horizon that you've seen in movies. While I didn't get that good a look at it, I did manage to get the camera on the tripod for a couple good shots. These are proof that I really have a lot more to learn about how to use my camera. I know it can take better pictures than this, I just haven't figured out how to make the rubber meet the road yet.