A New Sunset Experience

Even after always living about two hours from the Outer Banks, Motor Man and I learned something new about that area this week.

We never knew before, that from the middle of July until about the middle of September, tens of thousands of purple martins roost under the William B. Umstead  bridge over the Croatan Sound near Roanoke Island, just west of the town of Manteo. Then, in September, they begin their migration to South America.

Since we were in the area Tuesday evening, we researched online and learned that, every day, the birds leave their roosts under the bridge around sunrise and return at sunset. During the day, they fly over the coastal plains of North Carolina in search of insects.  The information suggested that you arrive at the bridge about 30 minutes before sunset to watch the martins return.

It had been an overcast day, and the clouds provided a beautiful sky as we waited.

 walk in golden hour 7-22-2014 7-41-03 PM

Since we had the tripod, we took advantage of the photo op. (Sadly, a light reflection on the lens created spots on my face and Motor Man’s shirt.)

jrdb 7-22-2014 7-39-29 PM

 As the sun was setting, the martin activity began to increase.

pier before sunset 7-22-2014 8-00-54 PM

Most of the birds were about halfway across the approximately 2-mile bridge, so we weren’t able to get really good photos of them from our vantage point at the foot of the bridge.

martins2 7-22-2014 8-12-41 PM

But it was a nice evening and a new experience for us. We also learned of a special sunset boat cruise, sponsored by the Coastal Carolina Purple Martin Society,  so there’s the possibility of a future blog post with better photos of the martins.

~These Days Of Mine~

Wordless Wednesday: Out To Pasture

truck and barn 7-5-2014 8-19-10 AM

~These Days Of Mine~

Things To Love…

…about a summer evening.

Golden hour – and Bride Swan to show just how beautiful it can be.

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A gull in flight.

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And the setting sun skipping across the water.

sunset skippng 7-16-2014 8-13-55 PM 7-16-2014 8-13-55 PM

~These Days Of Mine~

Summer Sundays

Since I’ve been an adult, there have been many times during summer months, that I’ve thought back to the summer Sundays of my growing up years.

Sundays were special; Mom would get up early and fry chicken for lunch, always making sure to have our Sunday clothes carefully put away in a room with the door closed. It wouldn’t do for our clothes to smell of fried chicken when we went to church.

After church, either one or both of my adult sisters would be at our house with their children to have lunch with mom and me. Looking back, I’ve often wondered where everyone sat. It was a tiny kitchen with one of those formica-topped  tables and four chairs. I’m sure we brought in extra chairs from around the house to seat everyone.

Since our house had no air-conditioning at the time, those summer Sunday afternoons were spent outside. By the time I was twelve, I had three nieces and three nephews. The adults sat and talked under the shade of an “umbrella” tree, and we children played on the swing set or rode bicycles/tricycles.

Yesterday, my mind went back to those summer Sundays. And I was curious: what years, during my childhood, did July 20 fall on a Sunday? Of course, it didn’t take long to find an answer on the internet. I was quite surprised: it happened in 1958, when I was five years old. I obviously don’t recall too much about that summer.

And here’s the surprising part: the next time July 20 came on a Sunday was in 1969, when I was sixteen.

Not that summer, but a few months later

Not that summer, but a few months later

Now, as a sixteen year old, I certainly wasn’t to be found playing with “children” that summer; I was in the throes of a major crush on a local boy with wavy brown hair, blue eyes and a navy blue Torino GT.

internet image

internet image

 On the radio, we were listening to “In The Year 2525″, “Crystal Blue Persuasion”, “Bad Moon Rising”, and “Quentin’s Theme” (from Dark Shadows).

Oh, and what were we watching on TV?  That particular day:

moon

internet image of the moon landing

That was a summer Sunday:  a mere 45 years ago yesterday.

~These Days Of Mine~

Random Five Friday

Five little random thoughts today:

1.) My neighbor gave me a “shoot” off her plumeria tree a couple of weeks ago. She said I really didn’t need to root it, to just plant in some soil.  I did….and I babied it. And almost all the leaves fell off. And I thought it was doomed. And then, yesterday, I noticed a bloom and what appear to be several buds. Until I researched plumeria for this post, I didn’t realize that these are the trees where flowers for Hawaiian leis are found.

plumeria 7-17-2014 9-39-38 AM

2.) Last weekend, on my antiquing trip with my friend, I found two treasures: a small anchor and this blue spatterware pot, perfect for yellow zinnias.

spatterware and anchor 7-17-2014 3-00-02 PM

3.) Motor Man and I continue to be amazed (okay, me more than him) at “our” hummingbirds. I know at least two have found our feeder, and I managed to get this picture of one of them yesterday. From information I found online, I think this may be a juvenile male ruby-throated hummie.

ruby 7-17-2014 3-48-54 PM

4.) Recently, I’ve been awake and out of bed just before sunrise. This was yesterday’s; I’m so glad I didn’t sleep through this one. Maybe one day, I’ll make a video, so you can hear the quiet of the morning, the birds and the sound of  work boat engines in the distance.

sunrise2 7-17-2014 6-01-00 AM

5.) Thank you all so much for your support for the Corolla Wild Horse issue I mentioned in yesterday’s post.  In that post, I wrote that I wasn’t sure why legislature was involved in bringing in more ponies to breed with the Corolla horses. It’s a lengthy explanation I received from the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, the organization who cares for the horse, but I’m sharing it in its entirety here:

USFWS, (United States Fish andWildlife Service) who owns 1/3 of the land accessible to the wild horses (the rest of the land is privately owned by individuals and LLCs), defines them as a non-native, feral, invasive species and a pest animal. When the horses were moved to their current location in 1997, a management plan was put in place that called for a herd size of 60. This number was not selected based on science but merely a number upon which all parties could finally agree.Although I provided USFWS with peer reviewed science in 2007 that places the herd size at 120 – 130 as the genetic minimum, they continue to insist that the number be 60. We are down to one maternal line. Managing this herd at 60 would be managing for extinction. The Shackleford Banks wild horses experienced the same issue in the late 90s prompting the 1998 Shackleford Banks Act. This law mandates that the herd size be 120 – 130 with never less than 110. That is what I am asking for as well. The Shackleford herd has three maternal lines. In addition to mandating a herd size of 120 – 130 with never less than 110, the Corolla Wild Horses Protection Act allows for introductions of Shackleford horses into the Corolla herd in order to increase genetic diversity. Without legislation, USFWS could decide at any time to deal with the wild horses the same way in which they deal with other invasive species – eradication. It is important to also note that during our last annual aerial count only 11 horses were on any USFWS property (3,000 acres).”

So you see just how important it is that something be done to help these horses. Sad to think  that their fate seems to be caught up  in… politics. I’ll keep you posted.

horse1

~These Days Of Mine~

My “Friends” Need Your Help

Those of you who have been reading this blog for any length of time know about my love of the wild horses of Corolla on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I’ve posted many, many photos of them over the past few years. (If you’d like to read previous posts, just click on the OBX Wild Horses category on my side bar.)

3 horses head on 6-21-2014 11-37-25 AM

Now the horses need our help.

In order to prevent in-breeding, the herd size needs to be approximately 120-130 horses. At last count, it was 101.  Unless something is done, more birth defects will occur, and, at some point, the Corolla Wild Horses will become extinct.

horse1 9-26-2013 1-12-22 PM

A couple of weeks ago,  the State of North Carolina passed a resolution asking the United States Senate to pass the Corolla Wild Horses Protection Act, but the Senate decided not to move forward with it.  Apparently it was an amendment on The Sportsman’s Act, which was blocked because of reasons having nothing to do with the wild horses.  This Act would have allowed horses from Shackleford Banks (also in North Carolina) to be brought to the Outer Banks to grow the herd and breed with the Corolla horses. (I’m not sure why bringing those horses to the Outer Banks requires legislation, but I’m hoping to get that information soon.)

This would cost taxpayers nothing.

black horse_Snapseed

Now the only hope is that North Carolina Senator Kaye Hagan will move the Act through the Senate as a stand-alone bill.

Would you help by contacting her office?  You can fax a letter to Senator Hagan at 202-228-2563 or call her office at 202-224-6342.  Here’s a link to a contact form, which can be filled in and sent by e-mail to her office:

http://www.hagan.senate.gov/contact/

The horses (and I) thank you for taking a few minutes to let Senator Hagan that you support this legislature.

sunrise and horses

~These Days Of Mine~

Wordless Wednesday: Bird Watchin’

hummie on hydrangea 7-11-2014 7-41-59 PM

 

hummie silhouette 7-11-2014 7-42-13 PM

 

sundae 7-11-2014 7-44-43 PM

~These Days Of Mine~