Its been 80 degrees the past couple of days here so I think I can say winter is over and spring has arrived. We are looking forward to it. Here is a field of daffodils.
A lot of people head to warm weather locations for a spring holiday. This year I decided to avoid the crowds and sunburn. I went to Chicago instead and only suffered minor wind burn. No frost bite though.
Chicago is a wonderful city and always a delight to visit even if it is a bit on the chilly side.
What a perfect first day of spring. I'm undecided if I should walk through fields of wild flowers, go see the cherry blossoms are maybe just have a picnic in the backyard. So many choices today. Well first we have to get the snow blower going then decide later.
Today I took the chance to go into DC. There were the usual demonstrations but I decided to take a chance and go into town anyways. Fortunately the crowds were a distance from where I wanted to visit.
I have gone to the Vietnam Memorial previously but had not spent any time at the 2 statues on the edge of the Wall Memorial. The statues are quite well done and inspiring.
It's just a quick trip across the Potomac to get to Maryland. It's about 20 minutes from our house but somehow a trip to Maryland seems like a big journey. I made the "major" event yesterday and went to Great Falls in Maryland. Here is one view from the other side.
The weather was pleasant the other day and I enjoyed the late afternoon in the backyard. Our yard has become a center of bird activity. Here are a couple of recent visitors.
The past couple of days have been wonderful here in Washington DC. I'm speaking of the weather, of course. It has been in the low 80's and I have enjoyed getting out in my local area. I am very close to Riverbend Park on the Potomac and I went to the eagle nest to look for activity.
The eagles from last year have returned and have an active nest. It is not sure if there are eggs in the nest yet but some witnesses have reported that there were adult actions witnessed a couple of weeks ago. Enough gossip I did see 2 eagles taking turns sitting in the nest. Here is one heading out for a needed break.
We had a couple of hours of snow on Saturday afternoon. It came down hard for a couple of hours but quickly stopped. It was beautiful snowfall. The best part of it was that it all melted on Sunday afternoon. We're expecting 75 tomorrow.
You have to send flowers on Valentines Day, right? So I'm sending you flowers today.
Happy Valentines Day.
A few weeks ago when I was in Philadelphia I stopped at Valley Forge National Historic Park. Valley Forge was the site of the 1777-78 winter encampment of the Continental Army. It was a bitter cold winter and 2,500 American soldiers died from the cold conditions and disease.
I was there the day after a snowfall and can attest to the cold. It was a relief to be able to return to a warm hotel.
Although it's probably morning as you read this blog, it is now night. As the geese gazed out to the sea I, too, bid you good night.
I have the opportunity to travel to Blackwater Wildlife Refuge in Maryland this past week. It was a great experience even though it was a little chilly. The refuge is about a 2 hour drive from Washington DC.
Before going to the refuge I telephoned the ranger to learn if the snow geese were still at the refuge or had traveled to their winter location already. She informed me that the Blackwater is their winter home and will stay until March when they had back to their summer home. I would have chosen an alternative winter location but I was happy that the geese had selected Blackwater.
As we arrived we quickly found the geese and observed their calm behavior just sitting out on the water-ice. Nice but not really exciting. Just click on any of the pictures for a larger image.
Suddenly we heard a great commotion as the geese began to feverishly honk. The noise was loud. Just as suddenly they all took off.
It was amazing to watch the geese fly. They were like a school of fish darting through the water.
I was confronted with a rainy Sunday morning today which developed into a rainy Sunday. What do you do on a rainy Sunday? I decided to take my photo assistant for her normal morning walk and then hunker down into my studio. Well, after an hour of hunkering I decided to take advantage of the rain and fog and go get some pictures at Great Falls. My photo assistant, a golden retriever born with a rain coat, completely agreed. We headed out for our long 10 minute drive.
Much to my surprise the park was not totally empty. I was not the only one a bit off. None the less, I believe it was worth the effort and the expense of the rain gear. (for my camera gear not me. I just got a little soggy). Click on the picture for a full size view.
Our bird feeder has turned our backyard into a center for bird activity. I've been this little guy for a few weeks and finally managed to get a picture of him in the sun. I thought it was red headed woodpecker but discovered that it's a red bellied woodpecker. This one is shy about his belly.
We are still opening some boxes from 5 years ago. Not sure what is in the remaining boxes but hopefully there is a treasure or two. I'm still looking for the gold bars.
Although not made of gold we found a nautilus shell that we purchased many years ago. I'm not sure if it is from Asia or Africa but am confident it's not from the Potomac. I photographed this in my studio.
The past couple of weeks have been very cold here which made life tough on the birds. I saw this duck coming in for a landing but the stream looked frozen to me.
It has been really cold here these past few weeks. In the mornings I awake to a range of 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit. I have the clothes and, really, don't mind the chill but it has been cold. I haven't been up to walks in the woods in our neighborhood but decided that I'm going to do it anyways.
I called my always ready photo assistant to come with me and she immediately obliged. We went to our favorite walk (my favorite walk but I presume she is in complete agreement ) and headed out. A bit nippy but worth it.
During my quick trip a couple of weeks ago I photographed some wild horses. It was a very cold day but there were times when the some broke through.
As I was driving to the wildlife refuge last week I spotted this small store in the country side. I had to stop and get a quick picture as I had only seen this type of building in old magazines. It was great fun to see this but I was too early to go shopping. I was hoping to get a RC cola.
I made an unplanned trip to Blackwater Wildlife Refuge last week. I knew that a cold spell was coming and I wanted to try and photograph some snow geese before they left for their winter home. I saw some snow geese but my surprise were the eagles that I saw. Here are a couple of the eagles that I saw there.