Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Rainy Sunday Morning

"Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby."
– Langston Hughes

" Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life."
– John Updike

We finally got some decent rain today. Not all that we need, but it was pretty soaking this morning and there looks to be more of the same later this week. We need it. And it rained on me while I was doing my errands this morning.

It started raining while I was doing my laundry, two showers, one after the other. Then it stopped for a while. When I headed for the grocery store via my usual route through the Dykeman Spring Nature Park, it started out with just dampness from the previous showers but no actual rain, so I got the first photo of the butterfly. But not long after the rain started up again, and the rest of this photo essay is concerned with views of the park in the rain. Yes, I got wet. Happily so!

A Variegated Fritillary butterfly getting a meal in before the rain starts up again
A view of the north duck pond in the rain
Raindrops on the north duck pond
A view of Timber Hill from the upland meadow
Looking west from the top of the meadow
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Hot August Morning

We're currently stuck in a Bermuda high; this means that there's a high pressure system sitting in the Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast just cycling, and it cycles in a clockwise motion, which means it's cycling hot, humid air from the south right over us. We've been stuck in it for about 4 days now and it doesn't look like it's going to move off for several more days. Right now at 2:20 PM it's 99ºF/37ºC, which combined with a dew point of 74ºF/23ºC means we have a heat index (what it actually feels like)  of 111ºF/44ºC. And a very humid 111º at that. A local weatherman called this weather "disgusting"; I heartily agree!

This is also my once-in-four-weeks weekend off. Nope, no hikes; during a heat advisory like this the advice is to stay indoors, but if you need to be outdoors don't do too much, don't stay out for long, and fer Pete's sake stay hydrated! I went out to the grocery store earlier this morning (full and previously refrigerated water bottle tucked into my messenger bag along with the camera) to get all my wandering done before the real heat set in, and I still totally soaked my shirt with sweat. Despite the discomfort, I followed my usual practice and walked through the Dykeman Spring Nature Park; these are the scenes that grabbed my attention.

Nice, cool water; the creek in the Dykeman Spring wetland
A Long Dash Skipper sipping on some Spotted Knapweed in the Dykeman Spring wetland
These reflections in the north duck pond look amazingly like Aurora Borealis
A Cabbage White butterfly sipping on Spotted Knapweed on the upland meadow
Mountains and clouds to the north seen from the upland meadow
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

A Visit to Burd Run

Today I decided to head over to the Burd Run stream channel reparation project park at Britton and Fogelsanger Roads. I haven't been there in some time and thought it was about time for another visit. Due to the dry Summer the creek is running low, but it was still plenty green and there were some interesting photos waiting to be taken. Enjoy!

A male Goldfinch on the approach to Burd Run
Burd Run at Britton Rd.
A Cabbage White butterfly
Black-eyed Susans
A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird on a Buttonbush
A Long Dash Skipper
An Ebony Jewelwing damselfly on a branch over the creek
Heading home on the undeveloped end of the Rail Trail
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Monday, August 08, 2016

Stained Glass Wings

Today was a day for butterflies in the Dykeman Spring Nature Park, and the prolific Joe Pye Weed seemed to be the place to be the place to find most of them.


Two views of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Spicebush Swallowtail
Silver-spotted Skipper
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Wednesday, August 03, 2016


Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumblebee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. – Ashley Smith

Scenes from a walk in the Dykeman Spring Nature Park

Photos © 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Friday, July 29, 2016

An Abundance of Wildlife

We actually had rain yesterday and overnight last night, and there may be more coming on the weekend. This seems to have awakened some of the critters in the Dykeman Spring Nature Park out of their heat-and-drought-induced midsummer torpor, especially the turtles, who tend to sink to the bottom of any deeper water and bury themselves in the muddy bottom until things cool off. Here are some of the residents of the park who sat still long enough for a portrait.

This Eastern Cottontail was sitting in the middle of the Dykeman Walking Trail daring me to keep walking
A Common Whitetail dragonfly in the Dykeman Spring wetland
A Painted Turtle sunning on the bog pool next to the north duck pond
This particularly large and ancient Snapping Turtle, who I call The Behemoth, had just come up for a breath of air, with the mud of the bottom still on his back
This Green Heron flew up out of the wetland into this tree to hide from me, and kept a wary eye on me for quite a while
A Variegated Fritillary butterfly in the upland meadow
My new Summer hat, a handwoven palm hat from Tula Hats out of Austin, TX
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Sunday, July 24, 2016


"Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." – Nathaniel Hawthorn

"The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough." – Rabindranath Tagore

A Red Admiral in the Dykeman Spring wetland
A pair of Silver-spotted Skippers in the Dykeman Spring wetland
A Cabbage White in the upland meadow of the Dykeman Spring Nature Park
Photos © 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger