Say hello to Butter Butt

Before 2020 and the lock downs I wasn’t much into bird photography; that was DH’s thing. But when being inside with DH all the time finally got to me I decided to venture out into nature with him to try bird photography.

And I was hooked!

I went from knowing the basics about birds to now being able to recognize a Coot from a Gallinule and a Red headed duck from a Canvas back duck. By the way, I never knew there were so many different species of ducks out there!

Last year was my first year to learn about warblers and their migration. Lucky for us, they happen to make a pit stop here in Ohio before heading off to Canada for breeding season. It’s such a big deal that there is an entire week devoted to it in May and it really is a big deal! Last year while the birders were there (including us for the first time) the big festival wasn’t. It returns this year, read about it here.

Only one potential issue. The boardwalk and area where the birds and birders all congregate was hit hard by a big storm last year with trees knocked down and lots of damage so things may be a bit different. But there are plenty of places along the Erie shore where the birds hopefully will be if not so much around the boardwalk. So what’s a butter butt?

Last year was a learning curve for me with photographing warblers. They are little, quick and tend to hide high in trees or deep in the leaves. But I did get some shots which I will share hopefully soon. Thanks to the app Ebird and many fellow birders on the boardwalk, I learned not only where the birds were (I was terrible at spotting them) but their names as well…and that’s where butter butt makes its appearance.

This bird’s real name is the Yellow Rumped Warbler, I’m assuming it’s because besides the yellow patch on the head it also has one on its rump. Birders have nicknamed it – you guessed it – butter butt!

Teri πŸ“·

yellow rumped warbler, butter butt, ohio birds,
Posted in birds, event, nature photography, Ohio, photography | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

I need sunshine because it’s raining today

Amazing how far behind one can get when out of commission for a couple of weeks. Plus, wouldn’t you know it, just as soon as I found myself scratching off things to do a few more thing popped up (two of which I am THRILLED about but cannot talk about just yet) which slowed me down again.

Such is life…

Billy is furiously working on the last chapter of his travels in Scotland (which is quite amazing considering he has hooves instead of fingers) and is beginning to ask me when he can go on another. One thing at a time, little dude, one thing at a time. So here is another sunny day sunflower photo with the bonus of a yellow swallowtail butterfly to brighten your Monday.

Teri 🌻

sunflowers, butterfly, swallowtail butterfly, Ohio
Posted in Flowers, Insects, nature photography, Ohio, photography | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

A little sunshine…

In light of what’s going on over in Europe right now I just felt drawn to post some old sunflower photos. I hope they bring a little sunshine into your day.

Peace be unto you – Teri

Oh! I still have headaches off and on from the fall but I am doing much better. I fall down but I get back up again… reminds me of a Chumbawamba song πŸ˜„

Posted in Flowers, nature photography, Ohio, photography, Throwback Thursday | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Singing a different kind of blues…

Easter Bluebird blues that is. It was a cold and snowy day when I fell and while I probably should’ve gone straight home, I initially didn’t feel anything (other than embarrassment) so we left for another favorite birding spot – one that was covered in ice and snow too but there was one clear path and I stuck to that!

I’m glad I went because the area (a large local park with several bird feeders) had an abundance of sweet little birds that day including more Bluebirds than I’ve ever seen in one spot! I took a lot of photos of these and the other birds before the cold and the pain from the fall finally made me go home.

Eastern Bluebird, bird photography, wildlife photography, Ohio nature
Female Eastern Bluebird
Male Eastern Bluebird

I would say that it’s almost two weeks now and I’m doing much better. The wrist was fine in a few days, the headaches and then the body aches that followed , while far less severe, are slowly fading. Not gone yet but fading. The weather states that we may have a snow, freezing rain and ice storm again tonight.

I am NOT leaving the house!!!

Teri πŸ“·

Posted in birds, nature photography, Ohio, photography | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

Down and sorta out…

Yet again, Billy’s adventures through Scotland have to be put on hold. To be honest, blogging and a lot of time on the computer has to be put on hold until further notice. I will explain why as briefly as possible…

Me + camera with long lens + snowing + ice under the snow + a fall = Emergency room visit.

Thankfully DH was there even though I got up by myself and was more in a panic about my gear than my body. My body (especially my head) let me know it was not happy about things soon after. Nothing broken on camera or me but there is some bruising, the use of therapeutic ice and Tylenol.

Will return when feeling better. Billy makes an adorable nurse.

Teri πŸ€•

Posted in life | Tagged , , , | 31 Comments

Billy Visits Scotland – St. Andrews Cathedral

This chapter in Billy’s travel journal was one that I enjoyed but he did not like it much. He enjoyed the view walking towards St. Andrews but once we entered, he was disappointed that it wasn’t another castle where he could play king. When I explained to him what all the stones where that were everywhere (headstones) he scurried back into the backpack and didn’t want to come out again.

Next to St. Andrews Bay and the North Sea in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland lies the remains of the cathedral of St. Andrew, St. Andrews Cathedral.  The area around the cathedral at St.Andrews has been a site of worship since 700AD when the alleged relics of Saint Andrew were brought here by Saint Rule. St.Rules Church was built in 1123 and extended in 1144, but was superseded when the larger cathedral was built. All that remains of the church is a small part of the chancel and the 100 foot tower.

St. Rules Church remains on the left and the remaining wall of St. Andrews Cathedral on the right.

St. Andrews was built in 1158 and became the center of the medieval Catholic Church in Scotland.  During the 16th century Scottish Reformation, Catholic mass was outlawed and it fell into disuse and ruin.

In June 1559 during the reformation, a Protestant mob incited by the preaching of John Knox ransacked the Cathedral, the interior of the building was destroyed. The Cathedral fell into decline following the attack and became a source of building material for the town. By 1561 it had been abandoned and left to fall into ruin.  wikipedia   After that nothing was done to preserve the site until 1826.

According to those that have studied the ruins, the building was 391 ft/119m long, 168ft/51m wide and 100ft/30m tall.  Standing there being dwarfed by the enormity of these ancient structures one can only imagine what it was like in it’s prime.  Situated towards the end of the town of St. Andrews, you can see it towering above everything else. 

The cathedral was eventually consecrated in 1318 after the west end had to be rebuilt when it was blown down in 1270. Since then the building was dogged by bad luck. The English stripped the lead from it during the Wars of Independence, then it had to be rebuilt after a fire in 1378. In 1409 the south transept collapsed during a winter storm, but it was after the reformation in 1559 that the building was ransacked and fell into disrepair.

During the late 1600s it was primarily used for quarrying and the grounds were turned into a graveyard.

Some people don’t enjoy wandering the grounds of a cemetery (Billy did not) but there are those like me that find them a combination of tranquility and history. It was interesting to me to see the plots that held generations of families and how young many of them were when they went to join their ancestors. There are 534 graves here. I tried to find the oldest grave but all I came upon (that I could read, many have had their words worn away by time and weather) were those from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Some of the interesting graves.

I coaxed Billy out for his one and only shot there (other than a family selfie we took that we sent back home) and he quickly ran back to his backpack. Can you find him?

It was time to head back to our car and get us to our final stop which was the car rental company to return our car – didn’t want any extra charges. And then spend our last two days in Scotland in Edinburgh.

A street in the town of St. Andrews. I believe the red car towards the end of the row of cars was ours.

Next – Billy explores the big city

Teri and Billy

Posted in architecture, History, photography, Travel Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Another tale of Ice and Snow…and Ducks

We braved the cold, snow and ice (I had to put hand warmers into my gloves to be functional) and went out in search of cold birdies. We found the floofy things trying to keep warm themselves. This photo is of a male and some females Common Goldeneye ducks.

They were floating about on a stretch of water from the overflow of a dam. Most water around here is frozen with just patches of open water which is a magnet to all of the waterfowl that may be around. As you can see, we still have snow and ice on the ground. Case in point, while walking along the area next to the overflow, I had to focus on where I was stepping because the ground slopes downward towards the water.

With no markers other than memory to remind me of where to step safely I was thankful I had the long lens (a must with bird photography anyway) so when I felt I needed to stop inching forward, I did! Although I did manage to find one patch of snow that when I stepped on it I sunk up to my knees.

Teri πŸ“·

Ohio, bird photography, Common Goldeneyes
Posted in birds, life, nature photography, Ohio, photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

A Tale of Ice and Snow

But no dragons. Game of Thrones reference there. From early Thursday morning until around 7 this morning we were under a weather alert which I believe ended up as a level 3 alert which means don’t go out unless you absolutely have to!

It started with rain, then icy rain, then sleet, then more sleet then even more sleet. No idea how much ice we got but this was, and in a few windows on the un-sunny side of the house, the view through my window/s.

Ice Ice Baby

Eventually the weather decided to grace us with snow to fall upon the layer of ice. No idea of how much snow but I’d take a guess of at least 6inches of the stuff. This is me making my way out to the mailbox. Notice how much deeper the shovel is compared to me standing a bit more on top of the snow. In case you were wondering (and I know you weren’t but I’m going to tell you anyway) I am also wearing three layers under my coat and two pairs of gloves on each hand. My fingers get cold very easily.

Fortunately today the sun came out for an hour or two…maybe even three, which melted some of the mess from the streets but not driveways. And fortunately too, we didn’t lose power. Phew!

Enjoy your weekend everyone – Teri β›„

Posted in event, Nature, Ohio | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

Not feeling it at the moment…

While things seem to be getting a bit better in terms of the state of the world vs. the virus/viruses, the long term effects of living under its cloud has gotten to all of us in one way or another; mentally, physically, emotionally, financially and more. The price of everything has gone up and it has made us all adjust how we do certain things like even planning a meal.

Going to the grocery store to find out just how much something is now (that is if it even is on the shelf, which a lot of times it isn’t) has become a game of chance with just how much that final amount is after you’ve scanned your 10 items and get sticker shock! We won’t even discuss the price of gasoline – ugh!

But we keep on keeping on.

I was blessed to have been able to go see my family in early December when the weather was incredibly above average. I hadn’t seen the kids in over two years and that is a lifetime with grandchildren. Grandchildren who had grown and changed and I didn’t get to see any of it.

But we keep on keeping on.

The old year left, the new year dawned and then things went not so good. Since the beginning of January I have had one in-law and five close relatives all contract the virus. One family member had to ship their baby off to live with their in-laws to keep her from getting infected (hopefully) while they quarantined. As of this post all but two are out of quarantine but they all still have lingering coughs.

But we keep on keeping on.

Photography and going anywhere to do any photography has been a bit sketchy as the weather has been playing fast and loose with us here. Cold, colder and *&^% cold with wind and snow has frozen my zeal (and my fingers) to get out to take photos many a day. And when the weather was being nice, I just didn’t feel like getting out. Lately I’ve just wanted to immerse myself in comfort food and keeping my cold fingers around a hot mug of something.

So I was on a roll there with Billy and his adventures and then for some reason I came to an abrupt halt and have been unable to get myself to finish his travel journal. He is sorely cross at me and I don’t blame him but then he too has been feeling the blahs.

But we keep on trying to keep on.

And today we are under a winter storm warning. As I am typing this, I can barely see out of my front windows because they are coated in ice! Nobody is leaving the house today. High winds and possible heavy snow are still in the forecast. Snow I can deal with, ice can be deadly. Are we having fun yet?

Tired of trying to keep on keeping on.

I hope that wherever you are you are safe and warm and healthy. Maybe I can push myself gently out of these doldrums and work some on Billy’s journal. His next section is going to be a bit brief as he did not like where we were and only came out once. By the way, I just saw the mailman slowly creep along my street delivering the mail. I might go get it in a day or two.

Teri 🧊 ❄️

Posted in life, musings, writing | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Billy Visits Scotland – Dunnottar Castle

This was one of those “the best laid plans of mice and coos oft times go astray” moments with visiting this castle. We had a lovely breakfast at our BnB with the plans for the day being to visit Dunnottar Castle which is (taken from their webpage)

Perched atop a 160 foot rock and surrounded on three sides by the North Sea, these dramatic and evocative cliff-top ruins were once an impregnable fortress of the Earls Marischal, once one of the most powerful families in Scotland. Steeped in history, this romantic and haunting ruin is a photographer’s paradise, a history lover’s dream and an iconic tourist destination for visitors the world over.

I was hyped and had everything set in my backpack (besides Billy of course) to photograph my heart out. Then Murphy’s law kicked in! As we drew nearer to the castle fog set in…really really set in. I was still optimistic about the trip though. We arrived, we parked and then we saw – this!

Scotland, Castle Dunnottar

We heard the sea and just barely made out the shoreline but the fog was not going anywhere that day. So onward and upward! There were times, depending on where we stood on the long 200 steps down trek that the castle seemed to fade away.

I was beginning to wonder if we would see any of what we first saw as a shadowy outline any clearer. While our entire visit was shrouded in fog, things did get better once we were in. They designed this castle to be difficult to storm… this tunnel in had irregular steps and because of the stone work, there were warning signs posted about how it was slippery when wet; please hold on to the hand rails!

We emerged from the tunnel and entered the castle grounds – even though it was still draped in fog – it was amazing! This is a view of the gallery which housed some living rooms, the kitchen, stores and brew house. On the far right is the chapel.

The chapel on the right and in the center is the water tank.

There is just so much amazing history attached to this castle that I couldn’t even begin to tell you all about it. Here are just a couple of highlights: William Wallace in 1297 attacked an English garrison here and took the castle back under Scottish control. In 1562, Mary Queen of Scots paid the castle a visit. After 400 years of Dunnottar being the seat of Clan Keith, it was sold by the Government to the York Mining Company. Everything of any value was removed including, floors, ceilings and all furniture leaving just a shell.

Billy was not impressed with the history of the castle, he was more interested in the green grass, the yellow flowers that were growing everywhere (including in the stone walls) and pretending he was king.

Billy T. Bull at Castle Dunnottar, Scotland, fog

Fortunately for all of us, in 1919 Lord and Lady Cowdray purchased the Castle and began an extensive program of conservation and restoration, protecting it from further damage and deterioration. The Castle was then re-opened to the public. It remains in the same family to this day.

This is Waterton’s Lodging next to the garden. Still haven’t figured out who Waterton was; I’m guessing if he had his own lodgings then he must have had some high position.

The view from part of the garden of the stables on the left and the smithy/forge on the right.

The smithy.

It was through the tunnel again and up the 200 steps to head off to the next stop. I asked Billy if he had seen my missing earring which had probably fallen off when I put my back pack on, he hadn’t. I lost an earring at this castle so I guess you could say a piece of me remains in Scotland.

Next – Billy wasn’t fond of St. Andrews

Teri and Billy πŸ“·

Posted in architecture, History, photography, Travel Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments