Sunday, January 30, 2011

Great Discoveries

Today was a gorgeous day in South Carolina.  Yesterday was also a great day.  Yesterday we gave all three dogs a bath out in the driveway.  Good to get the winter stink off of them.  After the baths we took a stroll along the shoreline.  The lake level is down at its lowest and walking along the shore is a pleasant way to spend a little time.  As we walked along I saw a hawk, a small one.  He landed high in one of our neighbor's trees.  Lucky for me I had my camera with me.  These are probably the worst pictures to share, but I can't figure out who this little guy might be.  The dark coloring on his cheek makes me think it might be a falcon of some kind.  I will leave the better ID to some of you---- let me know!

 He looked around and turned his head a good bit.  In the photo above you can see the white tip on the tail feathers.   I think it MIGHT be an American Kestrel.  Those stripes on the face really make me think this is the correct bird.

What do YOU think?  For those who didn't read or hear about the hawk in the Library of Congress, it was a female Cooper's Hawk.  She was rescued and will be treated for dehydration and eventually released into the 'wild' of DC. 

Just after we saw this unknown little hawk/falcon/kestrel we saw a Bald Eagle fly up the lake.  These are such majestic birds.  Even from afar you can tell it is a Bald Eagle.

As we continued our walk we saw lots of footprints in the sandy shoreline where animals go to the water's edge.   Guess my next form of study will have to be animal tracks.

There were tons of all kinds of mussel shells and some spiraled shells, like I shared on my previous posting.  I was surprised to see one quite so large.  This is my boot -- size 7. 
Pretty large shell.

Today was a day for working on the front woods.  I am trying to keep a balance of nature here.  Leave the trees, mostly, get rid of the honeysuckle, smilax, and muscadine vines.  I thinned some of the trees-- 5 Sweetgum can't grow in a four square foot area. 
One of the places I had marked in my mind for a Mountain Laurel there was a large honeysuckle vine-- the trunk was about an inch in diameter.  As I pulled and dug this neverending vine out, I came across my Great Discovery.  I found a Cranefly Orchid.  I wasn't 100% sure at first.  Posted the photo on Facebook and did a little more investigating online.  Mine didn't seem too purple on the underside of the leaf....until I went and looked again.  This is the first picture I took.  Size and shape were right, but from this photo, it didn't look like it was dark purplish on the underside. 

 So I went back out and looked is a Tipularia discolor!!
Oh yeah!!  I marked the area with some branches stuck in the ground.  Don't want the dogs running through them nor do I want to dig right there.   Will have to watch when I plant anything in there.

Another mystery to me is what is growing near the orchid.  Anyone have any ideas what this might be??  The stems are reddish and the new growth is also red in color.

 It has a sharp-toothed leaf, interesting coloring.  I am clueless to what it might be.  Help?? Daricia has provided an answer! It is a Striped Wintergreen or Striped Pipsissewa, Chimaphila maculata  thanks Daricia!!

  After all my front woods discoveries I thought I would go out back and check the Witch-hazel. 
Hamamelis x intermedia 'Feuerzauber'
Still just a few blooms, but it is young-- next year!!!

words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.


  1. janet, i think the plant in your last photo is pipsissewa. ( you have some great flora and fauna, dont you? nice!

  2. Janet,
    We get Cranefly orchids in our property in the woods. Your hawk is as your thought a kestral.

    Was a beautiful day.

  3. Janet,

    Daricia is right it is wintergreen!

  4. It's always relaxing to watch eagles soar the sky, and dive at will... they are kings of the air...

  5. An orchid! How fabulous! Your new home is so rich in flora and fauna. Quite magical.

  6. Janet, What wonderful discoveries! Native wildflowers, fantastic birds~and blooming honeysuckle. What a good day. gail

  7. You hit the jackpot, Janet;-) Fantastic post! I hope those natives will be sprouting up in more than just those few places. Now that you've been settled there for a season and the ground is undisturbed perhaps you'll have even more surprises waiting for you to discover!

  8. What exciting discoveries you've made, Janet! I can only imagine what fun you will have this spring as more new growth emerges and the woods come to life.

  9. Americal Kestrels are such beautiful little falcons aren't they? I see them often on powerlines in the country in the wintertime.

    I've seen Cranefly Orchids leaves here before but haven't actually seen them in flower.

    My grandfather was a good tracker. It was fun to go out with him in snowy weather and note the different animals.

  10. Dear Janet,
    maybe John Saunders (follower on gardeninginhighheels) might answer the question of the hawk - he knows so much about birds and makes terrific photos!
    Your findings are interesting - so many mysteries in nature - and always people there to help to identify.
    We have no animals in our flat in the big city - but for a week I am "substitute mother" for the three gerbils from the neigbour's daughter - but I don't have to bath them :-)

  11. An awesome shot of the Kestrel. We once saw one snatch a baby bird right out of the nest. Kind of cool but scary!

  12. You are having a lot of great days in your new garden Janet. I think you picked a fantastic spot to build a home. There are so many interesting plants/birds all around you.

  13. That was a fantastic walk. I love those kinds of walks.

  14. Janet,

    I did not soak the anemones, they really were dried up. They were forgotten and I figured I better plant them.

  15. The latest issue of How to Find Great Plants is here and your bald cypress post is listed. Thanks so much for participating, I hope you will again next month. Here’s the issue:

    Great bird photos! I see those a lot here, too. This weekend's weather was spectacular.

  16. Daricia- you are great! Thanks so much for the help with the ID. We do have lots of flora and fauna around here.

    Randy- thanks, I thought it was a Kestrel, sure was a great weekend. Daricia rules!

    Bangchik- it is very exciting to see the Eagles soar.

    Janet- thanks, it is a magical place.

    Gail- I thought they were pretty great discoveries.

    Jan- I did hit the jackpot. I hope to find more treasures as the season unfolds.

    Rose- I agree!

    Sweetbay- they are really pretty birds, love the markings. I hope to see the Orchids bloom. I could use a tracker...

    Britta- thanks. I guess you wouldn't have to bathe the gerbils. hahaha

    Rosey- Thanks, wish the picture was clearer. Nature at work isn't always pretty.

    Kathleen- I think we found paradise!

    Lola- I love these kind of walks too.

    Randy- I am confused about the timing of planting the anemones.

    Eliza- thanks! Checked it out. Great!

  17. How nice to have this kind of diversity on your site!

    Having Chimaphila and Tipularia is great.


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