Monday, February 25, 2013

Winter Walk-off 2013

For the last couple years Les has hosted a Winter Walk-off, where you have to get out of your garden and take your camera with you.   The rules are pretty simple, you have to travel on your own two feet and share what interests you along your walk.  After you post, you are to give Les a link to your post so he can share it.
My walks are always accompanied by Newton and Skyler....my four-legged buddies.  Last year I had Monroe as well but she has since passed away.  Hers was a good long life, she made it to 18.  You can see last year's post here, and the year before's post here.
On with our walk--- Newton is the black dog and Skyler is the Aussie, he hears the wind which can sound like a car coming.

For those who are new here, we live in the country, sort of.  The development isn't built out yet, which we love.  It feels like we have it to ourselves.    Our walk today is out the driveway and to the right.

Looking back toward my house.... there is one house that is a second home, so most of the time we are by ourselves in this direction.   Their house is at the turn, you can sort of see their driveway marker.  

My walks are constant observation of nature, no gardens or plantings can be seen for most of the walk.   At one point in the walk you can look through the woods to the lake.  There is a cove that we are looking across.   A few years ago you could see the next neighbor's house across the cove through the trees, but now there is too much growth.  Do you see the bird?  Bird watching is always part of my walks.

 
Ok, how about if I zoom in a bit?  Still kind of hard to see, it is a Red-tailed Hawk.


I noticed a strange growth on some of the stalks of some Goldenrod blooms.  I had to search for these to get a good photo again....some stretches of the road seem to run together.    Have you ever seen anything like this before?  My first thought was some kind of gall where the insect has entered the plant material and the plant builds up some growth around it as a defensive mechanism.  I had to pick one and bring it back home to see what I could find out.

I snapped it off and took it home to further investigate.  

I decided to cut it in half and see what I could find.


It is some kind of larvae, anyone know what it might be?  I am stumped. 


Back to the walk, lots of grasses and spent flower heads, sparkling in the sun.  

This time of year I really enjoy the pines that grow close to the road as they put off a wonderfully fresh scent of pine.  I think it is really refreshing and clean smelling.  This one especially is fragrant, maybe it is close to the road, whatever the reason, I look forward to walking past it.  

Along the edge of the road are lots of small Winged Elm, Ulmus alata.  You can read more about them here, one of my tree posts.  They are so sculptural.   Like all the corky appendages along the small trunk?

As we end our walk I am able to capture a good picture of Mr. Eastern Bluebird.  I have a lot of bird activity along the walks, love having the chance to get a good picture of one.

Be sure to head over to Les' blog and see other Winter Walk-off posts.  Spring is just around the corner!!!



©Copyright 2012 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

62 comments:

  1. How lucky that you could get the bluebird photo--my dogs would have chased it off! I think that's a lovely idea to have a winter walk-off. Yesterday was such a gorgeous day, it would have been perfect! Today, I only walked to the greenhouse and huddled in there for a few hours. Brrrr.

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    1. Julie, the bluebird was pretty high up in the tree, so he was disinterested in the dogs. Next year you should join the Winter Walk-off.

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  2. That's a really interesting post, Janet. Your terrain is very different from ours in Dorset. The galls - Have never seen any that shape- only round. Hopefully someone will know what the larvae are. The elm - never seen anything like that before either! Thanks for taking us on the walk! Fascinating.

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    1. Ester, thanks!! Appreciate you stopping by too! Galls are so interesting, the plants do some fancy cover work to contain them.

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  3. Great winter walkoff post! Love the solitude of your walk. My kind of walk :) I was thinking about joining Les in the walkoff but wasn't sure I'd be able to find interesting yards in my neighborhood to feature. But I think I can find some interesting things in the woods and trees--so I will see what I can come up with. I'm envious of your 'retirement life'--wish we were able to do the same. The timing isn't right, though. Maybe in another 20+ years--when we're almost 80? haha...

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    1. Jan, My walks are just about always done in solitude. If a neighbor comes by it is a nice time to visit for a few minutes. Your retirement time will be here soon!!

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  4. The larve is goldenrod gall fly. Great photos of the parasite and the fabulous blue bird. I didn't find the camera locally but have ordered it from Amazon. We had sleet last night and I hear there is ice on Paris Mtn. this morning. The Reedy is almost over its banks...you have lots of water headed your way!

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    1. Marian, thanks for the ID!! I love learning about new finds in nature. I am glad you ordered your new camera....let me know what you think.

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  5. You live in a beautiful area. I hope the developers hold off at least for a good while. Nice that you have bluebirds.

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    1. Jason, thanks, we think so. Loving living in paradise. As for more homes.....I don't see it happening for a good long time.

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  6. What a beautiful winter walk! Loved the bluebird and, of course, the dogs.

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    1. Carolyn, thanks, we love the walks. I always enjoy seeing the bluebird, that flash of blue is beautiful. The dogs are my buddies to be sure.

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  7. I felt like I was tagging along as you walked! Such a beautiful day - and place - to explore outside a bit.

    We get quite a few of the goldenrod galls around here. My understanding is that they can be made by several insects, including flies and small wasps. I haven't got a clue how to identify it further than that, though, so "goldenrod gall fly" sounds good to me! (Have you ever tried bugguide.net? It's a site run out of Iowa State University, I think, that has a lot of entomologists who do identification for free. They've helped me several times when I've been stumped.)

    Thanks for sharing your winter walkabout with us!

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    1. Gaia, thanks for coming along with me. We see a lot of birds on our walks.
      Thanks for additional verification of the gall moth.

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  8. What a pretty walk! Love all those tall trees. I also enjoyed your bluebird sighting, and that majestic hawk!

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    1. HolleyGarden, We have lots of trees all over....full of birds!

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  9. Britta had some trouble leaving a comment-- Here is what she had to say--

    Dear Janet,
    that was a long and beautiful walk, thank you (you don't need a cross-trainer, as we in the city - and your air is better!). Loved the bird pictures. And think it is a gall on that plant - but you will know which kind of, right?
    You have such a vast landscape around you - gives you quite another Lebensgefühl, I think.

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  10. Thank you for playing along once again Janet. I can hear the wind, smell the fresh pine and enjoy the quiet in your post. I am still amazed that your Monroe lived so long.

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    1. Les, thanks a bunch for hosting this. Always fun. Still miss Monroe as I know you miss Loretta.

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  11. I could almost breathe your air on this walk. Thanks: I am feeling refreshed.

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    1. Ricki, the fresh air out here is wonderful...unless there is a skunk! I enjoy our daily walks.

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  12. Thank you for the tour, Janet and the beautiful bluebird. I spied one the other day while walking but I'm thinking it was just passing through. Don't know if they would nest at 3600 feet. Must ask down at the Bird Barn!

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    1. Lynn, I am not sure about bluebirds nesting at higher elevations. Let me know what they say.

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  13. That is a lovely winter walk off. Your subdivision looks very desolate. Must be nice!

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    1. Tina, thanks, single road up and down the lake. I like desolate. :-)

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  14. Very enjoyable! You live in a lovely part of the world, and not just because there are dogs in it...

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    1. Susan, yes, I think it is a lovely part of the world....dogs included.

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  15. Enjoyed the walk and time outdoors. I am so jealous that you have sun. We don't know what it looks like here.

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    1. Carolyn@Shade Gardens, We haven't had the ugly weather you all have had this winter, though we have had our fair share of rain...a good thing.

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  16. So peaceful looking, Enjoyed walking with you!

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    1. Chris @Garden Sense, thanks for coming along!

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  17. Gloria Ballard left the following comment-- with that beautiful blue sky, it looks like it was a wonderful day to be out with a camera!
    sorry for the issues with leaving comments

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    1. Gloria, every day is a day to be outside with a camera...never know what I will encounter!

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  18. What a wonderful refreshing walk!
    Enjoyed seeing your photos.
    Interesting thing about the goldenrod gall - someone else posted about one recently. Can't remember who. I think they said it was a goldenrod gall moth.
    Have a wonderful day!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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    1. Lea, I thought it was interesting about the goldenrod gall too. thanks!!

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  19. I wish it would be worth it to do this walk but truthfully my neighbors have lawn and shrubs (not so exciting) and of course we have snow still...love your walk. Our bluebirds are still here and showed themselves a few times this winter...and the red-winged blackbirds have returned...yippee

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    1. Donna@ GEV, I am sure you could find something interesting in your neighborhood...snow and all! I love the bluebirds and sometimes we have Indigo Buntings that are blue as well.

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  20. I do love the winter walk off. How wonderful to not yet have many neighbours - how long will you have this degree of peace? A lovely walk, I imagine there are always new things to see - and smell...

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    1. Janet, I enjoy the lack of neighbors. Not sure how long the peace and quiet will last.

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  21. What a lovely daily walk! I especially liked seeing the bluebird. Maine looks like that...in late April! So nice to connect with you via Les!

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    1. Sarah, thanks for coming by! Yes, I imagine your beautiful winter scenes look like mine later in the year. Will add more bird photos as they come flying by.

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  22. I like seeing your bluebird too. It really makes a pretty scene in the pine. The goldenrod - that is a Goldenrod Gall Moth. We get them here too and I took it into the extension office to the director the first time I found one. Like you, I cut it open.

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    1. Donna @GWGT, I enjoy the bluebirds so much. We are too alike ;-) cutting out the gall to explore.

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  23. I've seen those sorts of galls before but had no idea there was a larvae in there. Sounds nice to still have the neighborhood to yourself!

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    1. Sweetbay, I thought the gall was pretty interesting too. We enjoy the neighborhood to ourselves.

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  24. Gosh, it is winter walk-off time already! We are buried in snow and it feels as if spring has forgotten us here. I have noticed those same bulbous growths on wildflowers and always wondered about them. I never cut one open however to look inside. Interesting! It is a very ingenious winter cocoon for whatever bug larvae was in there.

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    1. Jennifer, it is time for the winter walk-off. You have been having fun in the snow I imagine...at least the dogs have been! Winter cocoon is a good way to describe it.

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  25. Enjoy those quiet walks while ya have them. We once had those quiet times but growth have taken that away from us. Sigh.... I have been noticing more hawks circling in the skys and squaking. Assume they are calling out their territory or something. Ewww, That is sure a strange looking larve. I have been spotting lots of Winged Elms in our woods walks of recent. I am shocked we dont have more in our back or front woods here at the house. They do make for interesting trees. Great pic of the Bluebird! They are a favorite of mine, but then again, all birds are my favorites. LOL, cant seem to pick just one of those beautiful feathered friends as a fav. I bet your Fur Babies enjoy the walks as much as you do...

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    1. Skeeeter, we are enjoying them quite a bit!! Sorry your quiet times are no more. The dogs act like we are going to the circus or something, the walk is the best thing EVER!!

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  26. What a lovely quiet spot you have there. So interesting to see what sort of areas people live in outside of their gardens.

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    1. Marguerite, thanks, we love it. I agree with you on seeing where people live ....very interesting.

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  27. What a nice walk! Your dogs are such cuties.
    Thanks for taking us along.

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    1. Freda, thanks for coming along. These two dogs are my wonderful companions.

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  28. You have inspired me to participate this year.
    Ray

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    1. Ray, I am glad you are going to participate. The more the merrier.

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  29. It must be so quiet. :o) All those pine trees immediately yell South Caroina! to me. I've never done the Winter Walk off. Maybe because I'd just end up posting pictures of my neighbor's houses. Love the bluebird pic. We have blues that nest in our garden every year. This year the chickadees have claimed their house as their own but that's typical. The bluebirds usually kick them out.

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    1. Tammy, yes, pines in SC, pretty standard! I bet you could find some fun stuff for a Winter Walk-off. We don't have any bluebird boxes out, but there are plenty of woods for them to find a spot.

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  30. Your "neighborhood" sure looks like a great place to walk. Your doggies are darling too! We have lots of the winged elm also and I just love their bark. The winter landscape sure has lots of surprises!

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    1. Karin, I imagine your neighborhood looks rather similar to mine. Winged elms are so gnarly looking aren't they?

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  31. I enjoyed walking along with you. Looking down an undeveloped road lined with pines reminds me of northern New England. Love the bluebirds! I don't have enough open space around me to attract them. Sorry you lost one of your walking partners. I'm sure she's still walking along with you in spirit :).

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    1. Sue, thanks for commenting. I love the bluebirds too, we sure have a lot in our area. Yes, my late walking buddy is surely watching over the pack.

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