Shohin Bonsai Europe on Instagram: “There is something beautiful about wire on a tree. :-) Detail of a Shimpaku Juniper I styled earlier this season. www.shohin-europe.com…”

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Thrushes epitomize the spirit of fall migration

Our Fine Feathered Friends

wood-thrush-songbird-hylocichla-mustelina-looks-up-while-it-perches-on-a-branch Photo by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service • The Wood Thrush often sings its flute-like song from deep under cover in dense woodlands.

While many migrant birds take wing in the autumn, a recent event reminded me that, in many respects, fall is the season of the thrush.

Taking part in the recent Fall Bird Count conducted by members of the Elizabethton Bird Club afforded me the opportunity to see some amazing birds, including large flocks of migrating broad-winged hawks, playful pileated woodpeckers and some often hard-to-see thrushes.

I usually feel lucky to be able to find one thrush in a single day of birding. On Saturday, Sept. 29, migration must have brought these birds out in full force, because I saw three different species — wood, gray-cheeked and Swainson’s — in the span of a few hours.

I found the Swainson’s thrush during the morning while walking the trails…

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Great horned owl reigns as ‘feathered tiger of the night’ among birds

Our Fine Feathered Friends

owl-Alexas-Fotos-Pixabay Photo by Alexas-Fotos/Pixabay • A great horned owl is capable of almost silent flight, which helps the predatory bird take prey by surprise. Many myths and superstitions surround the world’s owls, but the truth about owls is often more fascinating.

I’ve been so focused on migrating warblers and other songbirds of late that I felt some surprise when outside near dark on Oct. 10 when I heard the low hoots of a feathered phantom from the woodlands on the ridge behind my home.

The hooting of a great horned owl is an instantly recognizable sound and always sends shivers traveling along the spine. The after-dark calls of this large predatory bird also got me to thinking about previous encounters with this owl, such as watching one glide silently over wetlands in Shady Valley, Tennessee, many years ago. I had traveled to the bogs in Shady Valley maintained by The Nature…

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