Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Valentine's is for the Birds!

  photo c8ac1d4d-6372-41e4-8356-6e5f51e8e662_zps5c8b3bd8.jpg

Valentine's started with boys in pink playing cupid.
 photo 32b8f983-87d6-4da7-96f2-54f294717858_zps0e82f1c6.jpg

 photo e066a21b-b007-46b0-9a0f-d52d6cff8a2d_zps189d7779.jpg

My parents came down to watch the kids.  We took advantage of the opportunity to get some much-needed time together.  Friday night, we went to a movie.  Saturday, my parents took the kids for a drive on the Foothills Parkway.
 photo 13ef8541-fbcd-4415-ae47-39b56df46e47_zpsaddd4306.jpg

And we drove down to Soddy Daisy for a river cruise to Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge.
 photo a9e27058-e1c7-4f82-905c-050aa7848588_zps7222d505.jpg

 photo e49f3e60-121f-4222-b420-109dc0460491_zpsb7be59ee.jpg

Lots of Ring-billed Gulls.
 photo 3a429e99-3802-4ea7-87fd-8bb9a15cb03e_zpscad6c5b2.jpg

 photo 826f21f0-e374-448f-ba35-4ee9404eebde_zpsbb19662e.jpg

This is the male bald eagle, posing nicely next to his nest.  The female and some babies were in the nest.
 photo ad98d041-000f-4d32-9572-aa38d58473e5_zps8493140e.jpg

These eagles have been using this nest for over 20 years.  It is about 8 feet across and weighs 2,000 pounds.
 photo 1f200d61-9fcc-453a-85b7-ff61b6a7e79c_zps414fdd96.jpg

The main attraction here is the huge flocks of sandhill cranes.  There were thousands.
 photo 63eb4800-ff54-40a0-8ea4-cedfbca2fefb_zps6fc016b2.jpg

 photo 2439e1ee-8480-489e-a9fc-f734ba52cf95_zpseb028d66.jpg

 photo f5b86a2c-b52f-4029-ab72-c6ae47af91af_zpsa3dc03ed.jpg

 photo 5000ef5d-9319-4747-a985-4d002da2690a_zpse82a8a60.jpg

Immature bald eagle, 3-4 years old.
 photo fe653ddb-6d3c-46ab-a9e4-01e64cf3e58a_zps8f2c9d2f.jpg

 photo 13ce84d9-3e54-430e-8470-35b1ad008a24_zpsfaf259c2.jpg

Lots of Great Blue Herons.  The males were already building nests to attract females.
 photo 30b30be5-cc0d-4651-9c8e-cc144be19028_zps992ed98a.jpg

Double-crested cormorant drying his wings in the sun in front of a flock of seagulls.
 photo 61a8f41b-25cf-44cd-8ece-4395837e1895_zpsbfe8edd7.jpg

More cormorants and herons.
 photo bf4cc895-3a26-4169-b2eb-1d9d2271b164_zps671d957f.jpg

V's of cranes flying into a parhelion.
 photo 1183c725-7baf-4f3f-8d83-908e485f5074_zps6db443f9.jpg

 photo 80f01535-8258-4a77-8f09-771ea492ef5d_zpsacf32234.jpg

White-winged scoters, sea ducks visiting for the winter.
 photo 23bdf2e1-607f-4a8d-9700-0ea196bcbf81_zps9e1a6c84.jpg

A codgery of coots catching comestibles
 photo daa11657-65d9-4e3b-823c-e52da6f5caea_zps74e00205.jpg

 photo a9b552aa-52a3-4427-bfc5-f85c0ba04516_zps252d7b20.jpg

 photo c8657279-0128-4e9b-bd60-548615bf19b5_zps008057d2.jpg

 photo 574fba8b-7c03-4851-9559-6f1cb0ac2f73_zpsdc3eb5e7.jpg

The best moment was after the cruise.  We were driving home and saw these sandhills near the road.  We got out of the car and watched and listened to them.  They made such a neat noise!
 photo 5b23b075-212f-4e35-a19c-eaf22904f54d_zps918a203d.jpg

As we drove home, we saw even more flocks of cranes flying into the sunset.  What a special day!
 photo 3f2331ad-59fc-40c8-84b1-e25b6edb53ab_zpsdaa6a007.jpg

3 comments:

  1. Wow!!! What an awesome experience! I was wondering if the cranes are still there. The river cruise would be so much fun! Glad you had a great time!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What an awesome Valentine's Day weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  3. That was the last cruise of the season, but I bet the birds are still there because there were so many.

    ReplyDelete