Monthly Archives: May 2017

Weekly Photo Challenge #8

Happy Wednesday! The last one in May. Can you believe it’s already June?

Did you see anything that fit last week’s photo challenge theme of pink? Once you see a few pictures from this theme I think you will agree the color pink is common, especially in spring.

Here are some of the pictures from this theme:


Lizard by JockTulips by ArdenTrees by Ardenby ArdenPink by ArdenBy JockLiquid mirrorSecret GardenArboretum by ArdenRose by Ardenby ArdenBee on Milkweed, by Jockby ArdenSkipper on Milkweed by Jockby ArdenWall Street in Asheville, by ArdenCarnations by ArdenOcean Beauty by ArdenFlowers by ArdenOrchids by ArdenPink by ArdenFlowers by ArdenPink! By Ardenby Ardenby ArdenBy Ardenby Ardenby Ardenby ArdenRoses by ArdenSunset by Ardenby Ardenby ArdenAt BiltmoreTulips at The NC ArboretumRedbud reflectionPetalsPink flowerMagnolia blossomWater lilyPeonyPink lady slippers in GSMNPLined with pinkPink backgroundLilySweat bee on pink flowerOn the ATTrail of pink petalsPink tulipsPink tulipWater on pink petalsPink heartPink in our backyardPink azaleaAll pinkLots of pink!Magnolia

So last week I asked readers to suggest a theme. Let’s choose one that Joe suggested: Things that are Round

Good luck! I can’t wait to see what you all come up with. Please email me any photos you want to share and they will be put in the next Wednesday slideshow.

Happy photo hunting to you! See you again soon.

Weekly Puzzler Answer #149

Did you recognize the handsome bird in last week’s puzzler? It is a Reddish Egret.

Reddish egrets eat fish, crayfish and other crust

Reddish egrets eat fish, frogs, crayfish and other crustaceans

The rarest egret in North America, this bird is found in extreme southern Florida and along the Gulf Coast to Texas. It can also be found in coastal Mexico and the West Indies. Have you been lucky enough to see one? They have a dark and a white morph though I have only seen the dark one so have no photos of the white morph.

The reddish egret has a wingspan of 46-48 inches and is 27.6-31.5 inches tall. As you can see from this photo, they have a distinctive black-tipped beak that is pink at the base and blue black legs and feet. (Wasn’t it nice of this one to pose so perfectly for me?)


Reddish egrets are smaller than great blue herons (3.2-4.5 feet long with a wingspan of 5.5-6.6 feet) but larger than the little blue heron.(29 inches long with a wingspan of 41 inches)

A great blue heron

A great blue heron

A little blue heron

A little blue heron

Here is the next puzzler–a small creature that makes a BIG noise.

Weekly Puzzler #150: Sharp Claws and Big Eyes

Happy Saturday to you all! And happy Memorial Day weekend too.

I just want to give a shout out –and a big THANK YOU–to all of those people who came out last night to our 2nd annual blue ghost party here in western North Carolina. It was great to see so many people out on a Friday night anxious to learn about and view an insect! I was happy to get to meet some new people and see some friends I’d met years ago. Would you agree that nature lovers really are the best kind of people?

Thankfully many of “our” blue ghost fireflies were active and everyone who attended got to watch them moving through the dark forest for a little while. (Sorry, no photos as they are notoriously difficult to photograph–you will just have to make plans to experience them live for yourself one of these days) Later we went to look at the white sheet under the black light to see what moths we attracted–a small number of rather small moths mostly. (We talked about Luna Moths last night–here is what one looks like and here is what a tulip tree moth looks like. Also, here is a DAY-active moth you may have seen)

During the party I talked with several people about our next puzzler–an insect that has an amazing lifecycle, and, as many pointed out, an amazingly loud sound. Wow, a lot of these insects in one place can be deafening. This insect has the longest lifecycle of any North American insect. (But not the world. We will talk about the winner of that prize next weekend)

Check out these photos:



Wow, look at those claws! What do you think it uses them for?


Do you recognize this? Do you know what it is? Have you seen these in a forest near you? Or heard them?  If you want to guess feel free to use the comment box below. All correct responses will be entered in a quarterly drawing–the next one will be on the first day of summer–to win a prize. As always, check back next weekend to learn the answer to the puzzler.

Have a fabulous weekend! I hope you make some time to get outside–it’s a wonderful time of year with a lot of things going on. See you again soon.

One Minute Meditation:Falling Water

Imagine you are standing beside a towering waterfall, one that rises above you more than 70 feet. As you look up your face is gently misted by falling water. You can hear nothing over the sound of the water. No one else is around, only you. You close your eyes and listen to the constant sound of liquid hitting the gray rocks and splashing into the shallow pool…

Weekly Photo Challenge #7

Hello and Happy Wednesday to you! Are you enjoying your “hump” day yet? Is it another beautiful rainy day where you live? (If the rain is putting a damper on things in your neck of the woods, here are 7 positive things to love about rainy days  or here’s why I love rainy days)

I got some spectacular images for last week’s photo theme: SUNLIGHT. This may have seemed like a challenging theme at first but since the word photography comes from the greek roots meaning “writing with light,” it is easy to see that so many images fit this theme.

Check out this image–my favorite!–from subscriber, Jock from Asheville. Wow, amazing, right?

Photo by Jock, from Asheville

Photo by Jock, from Asheville

Here are some other images for the theme of SUNLIGHT. Which one do you like best? Do you want to suggest a future photo theme? If so, use the comment box below or send me a private email at I hope to hear from you soon!

Duro River in Portugal, by ArdenBy JockNC Mountains, by ArdenCardinals at sunset, by JockDuro River, Portugal, by ArdenSunlight, by JockSunrise, Florida, by ArdenSunrise Davenport, by JockSiesta Key, by ArdenWalking into HeavenJump off Rock, by JockSunlight gathering, Meritt Island, FloridaSplendor in the GrassHeavenly CampsiteMorning GloryBacklit EgretSparkles on the water, FloridaPearls on silkMorning SecretJewels in the grassDancing TreesSunlight peeking throughSparkles on IceNC sunriseNew Zealand SkyMorning Light, by JoeRedwoods morningDeer in the shaft of sunlightBathed in SunlightSunshine!On the Appalachian TrailSunlight

And for those of you participating in the challenges–thank you, thank you, thank you! I am enjoying seeing what you have to offer each week and hope to see more people’s images in the future.

Our next photo theme is: PINK


What things outside can you find that are pink? How will you represent this theme?

Special Invitation: Blue Ghost & Moth Viewing Party!

Hey all and happy Monday to you. If you live locally in Asheville or western North Carolina, this post’s for you–a special invitation to come out and join me on Friday night to watch a special firefly. (If not, so sorry! I will feature another post after the party with some photos)


As you’ve likely heard me say a time or two, my husband and I live in the woods in south Asheville. We discovered some years ago that we have BLUE GHOST FIREFLIES on our property. Don’t know what a Blue Ghost is?

Blue Ghost Fireflies are different from other species of firefly in that their light stays lit for 30-60 seconds, 2 to 3 feet off the ground. So watching them is magical–it’s like ghosts are carrying lanterns as they move silently through the trees.

The firefly is only the size of a rice grain but his light is bright enough to light up the night, especially when there are a bunch in one spot. Females also have a light but have no wings so remain stationary.

On THIS Friday, May 26th, at 8pm, my husband and I are hosting a blue ghost and moth viewing party. We will sit outside and have a drink while we wait for it to get dark, then will learn a bit about these fireflies before going on a short walk to see some.

We will also put out a black light and white sheet to see what moths we might attract. I will mix up a special drink for the moths and will put it out near the sheet. After we watch the blue ghosts, we can walk over and check out what’s on the sheet. You never know what we might see! Here are a few of my favorite moths that I’ve seen other years:

Luna mothVirgin tiger mothInside of tiger moth's wingsTulip MothImperial mothTulip moth,maleA luna moth with another smaller mothUnidentified mothMoths Polyphemus mothTiger mothPolyphemus mothMoth on sheetMoth attracted to black lightMothMothFirefly in daytimeOrange patched-smoky mothA beautiful luna mothMultiple luna moths

If you want to attend, great, I can’t wait to meet you! PLEASE wear comfortable shoes for this! And note that we will not be using flashlights for much of the time in order to allow our eyes to adjust to the night. The driveway is wide and mostly level and we will not be off-trail at any time. But to get the address and directions, you must RSVP at my meetup site   or send me an email saying you’d like to go– To avoid overcrowding, I am limiting this to 20 people.

If you want to learn how YOU can attract moths to your yard, see this post or if you want to read about one of our more beautiful moths, check out this Tulip Tree moth. Or, here’s a quiz to see what you know about moths.

Lastly, if you are interested in learning more about moths, such as how to identify them, here is a link to a fabulous book–a Peterson Guide to Moths. 

Weekly Puzzler Answer #148

Happy Saturday to you! Were you able to identify the handsome bird in last week’s puzzler? Perhaps you’ve seen this bird use a lure to catch a fish?


It’s a Green Heron, though honestly I don’t think this is the best name for the bird as in most lighting situations, it does not look very green.


Check out this video! It’s amazing! (wait for the end, it’s worth it!)

Here is the next puzzler–another bird found in similar habitats as the green heron, yellow-crowned night heron and black-crowned night heron.

Enjoy your weekend! I will see you again soon.