Sweltering August Heat

The Pathless Wood

Blue Dasher The August long weekend is here, and it’s been brutally hot and humid. Temperatures have reached as high as 32°C with a humidex of 41. It didn’t feel quite so hot yesterday, but today was awful. The sun was relentless, and there was no cooling breeze to provide relief. Being in the shade helped, but even so, I didn’t feel like staying out for very long.

We haven’t had much rain in the last month, so the water levels of the Ottawa River have dropped and mudflats are developing in Shirley’s Bay and Ottawa Beach. I wanted to look for shorebirds, but Shirley’s Bay didn’t sound too appealing – a long mosquito-infested walk through the woods to get to the dyke, which is almost completely open to the baking sun – all the while carrying a scope that sometimes feels like it weighs as much as I do…

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Migrants Arrive at Mud Lake

The Pathless Wood

Green Heron On August 7th I decided to return to Mud Lake, a place I hadn’t visited in a few weeks. First, however, I stopped in at the storm water ponds to check if anything new had arrived. I saw two Northern Flickers flying over, a species I occasionally observe here, though not on every visit. Only two herons were present, a Great Blue Heron and a Black-crowned Night Heron. Three Barn Swallows were swooping over the water, and I found a young Common Yellowthroat lurking in the vegetation close to the water. Best of all, there were some new shorebirds present – two Solitary Sandpipers and a single Least Sandpiper!

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July Photo Contest Winner!

the local's guide to hhi

Congratulations to Lucas N., visiting us from Cranberry, Pennsylvania.   He is our July photo contest winner! Lucas was able to snap this incredible pic of a very happy Great Blue Heron on a fishing trip they booked with Hilton Head Outfitters in Palmetto Dunes. Lucas and his family enjoyed staying with us at 8101 Wendover Dunes.

🌴 http://bit.ly/8101WD 🌴

Enter here for YOUR chance to win a $50 VISA gift card:


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Least Bittern III

Backyard and Beyond

The first time I saw a Least Bittern was on Padre Island, Texas. It was a brief glimpse, the bird jumping from one clump of reeds to another. The second time was strange: the bird was high up in a tree in Prospect Park.Third time is a charm of a cliche, but what a sighting! Note those long toes. The bird, a juvenile (no dark crown), stilt-walked above the water by grabbing nearby foliage. They don’t have to wade like other herons.This was up at Montezuma NWR, where a fellow bird-dog called me back twice to make sure I spotted the bird, since it kept scooting back into the reeds.The binomial Ixobrychus exilis can be broken down nicely: the genus name might be translated as “reed boomer” and exilis simply means small. A Green Heron, a larger bird than the Least, seen a few minutes…

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An unusual pot…and a shameless request for some translating help!

Nebari Bonsai

Tofukuji pots enjoy a top-shelf spot in any collector’s display. He was a master of glazes, shape and form. All without a kiln of his own, and never to be recognized for his work in his lifetime. A few years ago one of his pots appeared online showing a number of his chops stamped into the inside of a pot.

I thought it was pretty cool from a collector’s perspective to see many of his chops immortalized in their own media. Matt Ouwinga owns this one. Recently he offered another chop-adorned pot for sale, and I was able to add it to my collection.

This pot has over 2 dozen chop marks, representing most (not all) of Tofukuji’s chops. It’s the pottery equivalent to an autograph book, on one of his recognizable primitive shapes.

He’s the only Japanese Bonsai pot maker with a book dedicated to his works. In that…

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Nature Walks – Morikami Japanese Gardens

Blue Dragon Journal


Nature Walk – Morikami Japanese Gardens, October 27, 2017

Clouds were pouring in from the ocean this morning, but the temperature was fine, so I thought I would venture forth to Morikami Gardens, a local Japanese Garden and Museum.  The gardens offer year-round programs, Tea Ceremonies, and tours, but I opted for the singular tour on my own.


The Gardens did sustain some damage from the recent hurricane in September, but on the whole, was looking okay.  Some of the pine trees were a little sparse and other trees looked a bit wind-swept.  There were some broken trees and bamboo, but in the nearly two months post-hurricane, it appears that a lot of work has been done by the garden staff.


Yesterday I watched the 1980 movie version of “Shogun”, which put me in the mood for walking through a Japanese garden.



In the past, I’ve visited Japanese Gardens in…

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