Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Birdwatching and Signs of Spring

I've been interested in bird watching for years, but I really got excited about it after attending a class about the Language of Birds at OGS last weekend. You can learn so much about the world around you by listening to the birds. All the animals and other birds listen to them. Is there a predator? Do they sound alarmed? Are they just checking in with each other to say hello? I'm still a long way away from identifying the birds by their songs, but I can start by learning to identify birds by sight. 

On the last night in our house in Orlando, a new neighbor, without knowing about our interest in birding, gifted us with a pair of binoculars. (If you're reading, thanks Jon!) Today, Dave and I set out on a walk to use them for the first time. It's way more difficult to find things through their lenses then you might think, but with a little practice, both Dave and I were able to spot some birds up in the trees. 

According to my Bird Language class, one of the best local spots for bird watching is right here at the UNC Asheville campus and the surrounding area because of the amount of local foliage the grounds keepers took care to plant. The class instructor wasn't kidding; standing in one spot along the trail, we were able to identify many robins, some downy woodpeckers, and a gorgeous pair of Eastern bluebirds, along with some small brown and white birds and a yellow bird we can't yet identify. 

Of course, we couldn't identify those birds while we were on the trail today because we didn't yet have a birding guide. In another moment of serendipity, we found a copy of Eastern Birds for $7 in our favorite local used bookstore this afternoon, and quickly set about identifying the varieties of birds we saw today. 

In addition to bird watching, we've been enjoying watching the plump local grey squirrels. Also, I've failed to mention this before, but most all photos on this blog are by Dave. 

We've been totally in love with this little creek that runs along the Greenway between Weaver park and UNCA. Some of the things we both really missed living in Florida were creeks and streams and rocks, which are in abundance here. 

Although it's still pretty cold, signs of spring are popping up everywhere. I didn't realize just how much I missed the change of seasons until rediscovering all these beautiful gems of the transition from Winter to Spring. There are daffodils blooming, trees covered in buds just waiting to burst open, robins on the ground, and that feeling in the air that tells you Spring is near. 

Dave loves these old vines winding their way up and down the trees. 

We found this mailbox wedged in between a tree. You have to wonder if it was ever actually used in this spot...

Tomorrow, we have plans for a day hike in nearby Mt Mitchell State Park, which we're told has some pretty amazing views. Can't wait! 


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