Saturday, November 1, 2008

October 29, 2008

My bestest buddy Carroll took me off into the wilderness Thursday. We'd read many of the Looper's blogs and some boaters mentioned following the American White Pelicans southward along their journey. On this day I got my new camera body - a Canon 40D - so we thought we'd see if we could spot some white pelicans at the dam.

We arrived to a very windy, choppy lake below the dam. Fishing boats were rocking in high waves. Fishermen struggled to keep their balance as they threw their lines out into the chop. The Great Blue Herons were having a convention and we spotted a couple of cormorants and coots, but not one white pelican. We know of a trail through the brush that sometimes reveals "pelican island" when most of the leaves are gone. We give it a shot, but no pelicans. Obviously, they're not here yet.
Walking back along the trail we spot some beautiful berrying vines draping the trees like holiday garland. The glorious Virginia Creeper was in full autumnal glory with its deep, garnet red leaves and blue-black berries with red stems. This is one of my all time favorite vines.

This particular area is listed in the North Alabama Birding Trail and it's easy to see why birds of all manner are attracted here. There are high limestone cliffs upon which eagles and osprey perch watching for fishes. Herons and ducks and cormorants and loons and coots and all manner of water fowl are here as well for the great fishing. Songbirds twitter high in these trees thanks to the abundance of food and shelter. These Virginia Creeper berries won't be here long.

Several species of Sphinx moths rely on Virginia Creeper as host plant, and a variety of bees are attracted to the nectar and pollen.

Virginia Creeper is not poisonous but does tend to tangle in the wild with Poison Ivy, which you can see in the photo above. Poison Ivy has three leaves whereas Virginia Creeper has five. Poison Oak doesn't grow in North Alabama (so say the experts), plus it has whiteish berries, so if you see a five-leafed vine with blue/black berries in the wild it is Virginia Creeper. We also saw a brilliant red-berried vine with which we were unfamiliar. After consulting with our local Botanical Garden director we now know what it is. That'll be the next post.

For me, I love the autumn color of this vine and think it's fall finery makes for some pretty shots. So...what do you think? Are these photos clearer than my 20D photos? I wanted more resolution and the 40D is 10 pixels versus the 20D's 8 pixels. The 40D has lots of new tricks I've yet to learn, and I can't wait to play with it more. (...fair warning)


tina said...

I had no idea Virginia creeper even got berries. Duh. You would think I would know this. They sure are nice clear pretty pictures of them.

Anonymous said...

I always love your eye for color and juxtaposition. Thanks as well for the tip from your playlist on the Chris Botti version of Hallelujah.

Anonymous said...

Your photos are absolutely beautiful, Debi, and when enlarged, are crystal clear with lots of detail. That vine is spectacular, and I especially like the hues in the photo with the poison ivy. All purply-pink. :)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Great photos Debi. My eye isn't sharp enough to detect the difference in the pixels. Sorry. I have Virginia Creeper growing in the garden. It is the prettiest vine in fall with its red leaves. You captured them well. The berries don't last long here. I rarely see them.

Anonymous said...

Debi, what a wonderful day you had with your friend. My heavens, things really do grow much more lushly and abundantly way down there. Our Virginia Creepers have berries but they sure don't hang down like forgotten necklaces!

Congrats on the new camera (I'm still saving for my 300). I honestly don't see a difference my dear but that's only because they're small photos -- I'm sure you can see the difference on your screen -- how wonderful and exciting for you!!


Naturegirl said...

I love the first image with the contrast of the red leaves with the blue berries! I love seeing the various berries on trees and shrubs this time of year!

Blessing Counter said...

A new camera? What fun!! Don't you think you should bring it out here for a visit??!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I look forward to seeing what you do with your new camera! How exciting for you!

Anonymous said...

We have Virginia creeper growing on the pillars at the front of our hospital and just yesterday I was looking at the blue/black berries which are now prominent. Synchronicity!
Lovin' the new camera. Can't wait to see what you make that baby do. I so excited for you. There's nothing like discovering a new camera body and taking it out for a spin.
Love ya!

Anonymous said...

P.S. Love the bokeh too!


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