2020! Happy New Year !2020

Gone Birding


It’s been pretty quiet on the blog for…a while now! Life got busy and writing up my trip reports seemed to take a back seat. Nothing has changed, if anything things are busier now; in the middle of a degree and starting a new job next week means life is about to get a little crazy for a while until I settle into the new routine. But I really want to get back to my blog this year too, it’s about getting the balance right!

No matter how busy I get I always find a way to get out into nature, that will never change. I need to go to the bush or anywhere outdoors to relax and reset; I get very claustrophobic if I don’t get out to the bush often enough. And I had started feeling that way today, so off I went to the Walter Sisulu…

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理恵 明渡 on Instagram: “今年も無事1年を終えることができました。ご愛好いただきありがとうございます😊 来年もたくさんの盆栽やお手入れについてをご紹介したいと思います。 #bonsai #bonsaitree #bonsailovers #盆栽 #養庄園 #大阪府池田市 #osaka #japan”

理恵 明渡 on Instagram: “養庄園展示会より 野梅と小品盆栽の席飾り yoshoen exhibition plum & small bonsais(Chinese juniper, japanese quince) #bonsai #bonsaitree #bonsailovers #yoshoen…”

Cardinals do their part to make the winter season brighter

Our Fine Feathered Friends

Photo by Skeeze/Pixabay.com • A male Northern cardinal lands on a snowy perch. Cardinals are perfect symbols for the Christmas season with their bright red plumage.

The shopping days before Christmas are getting fewer, so I hope everyone has had time to find gifts for everyone on their lists. My own sincere wish to readers is that everyone gets to enjoy a great holiday that just might also include watching some birds.

Often, when we think of the birds of the winter season, our thoughts focus on some of the less-than-colorful feeder visitors — the brown sparrows and wrens, the black and white chickadees, the drab American goldfinches that look so unlike their summer appearance.

There’s one bird, however, that makes an impression in any season. The Northern cardinal, especially the brilliant red male, stands out against a winter backdrop of snow white, deep green or drab gray.

Photo by…

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Egrets, snow geese sightings enliven winter birding

Our Fine Feathered Friends

Photo by Dewey Fuller • A great egret stands amid a flock of Canada geese at Middlebrook Lake in Bristol, Tennessee.

It’s 2020, but I feel like I am still playing catchup with the birds found in the last few weeks of 2019. We might not have had much snow so far this winter, but birds with white plumage have stirred up some excitement in recent weeks. The birds are finally showing some winter movement as they turn up in some unlikely places and at unseasonable times. While I have felt that the winter’s off to a slow start in regards to birds, some other unusual visitors have popped up in various locations in the region.

Dewey Fuller, who resides near Middlebrook Lake in Bristol, Tennessee, emailed me recently to report an unexpected bird and share photos of the feathered visitor.

He correctly identified the bird as a great egret based…

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77th Elizabethton Christmas Bird Count yields 63 species

Our Fine Feathered Friends

Photo by Bryan Stevens • This adult bald eagle was one of several counted on this year’s Christmas Bird Count.

The 77th consecutive Elizabethton Christmas Bird Count was held by members and friends of the Elizabethton Bird Club on Saturday, Dec. 14. Participants in the long-running CBC tallied a total of 63 species of birds, which was down considerably from the recent average of 73 species. The all-time high for this count consisted of 85 species and was established two years ago with the 2018 Elizabethton CBC.

The temperature lingered in the 40s all day with light rain. The low species total, as well as low individual numbers, was likely due to the lousy weather, according to long-time count compiler Rick Knight.

Knight noted some count highlights, including single representatives of ruffed grouse, pine warbler and red-headed woodpecker. In addition, 75 wild turkeys, 181 Eastern bluebirds, and 449 cedar waxwings…

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🌿✂Erick Schmidt🌲🌳 on Instagram: “Friends, family and whoever else for whatever reason follows me, I excitedly and officially announce that we will be moving to Houston, TX…”

Chojubai quince update

Nebari Bonsai

Just a quick update on the Japanese flowering quince, ‘Chojubai’. These are very small plants, but vigorous growers. Mine flower from September through about April, so there is always something of interest…to viewers and to aphids…

As purchased in 2 3/4″ pot from Evergreen Gardenworks, April 2013:

I think this one is on the right, being grown as a single trunk, and is about 4″ tall, in a oversized Bigei pot:

And maybe slated for this beautiful blue Tofukuji pot at some point.

Which would make this the one from the left, 7 growing seasons later…all in a pot:

The orange leaves and red flowers look great atop the aqua pot by Byron Myrick. With the leaves removed:

The bark is starting to develop, and winter is a great time to examine the trees’ progress, and look for problems as well.

See the aphids clustered around the base of the…

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