Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #195 – Colorful Expressions

Mother Nature’s colorful wildflowers add beauty to our world.

Texas Bluebonnets
Bluebells in Alaska
Fireweed in Alaska
Spring wildflowers in Virginia
Spring Wildflower in Virginia
Blanketflower in Texas
Summer wildflower in Georgia

Many thanks to Anne for the challenge Lens’Artists #195: Colorful Expressions

Caribbean Islands Adventure 2022 – Part 6: Dominica

January 19, 2022

Welcome to Dominica!

We had booked a morning snorkeling excursion and had just finished getting ready when our phone rang. The snorkeling trip was cancelled because of rough seas. I had just been looking at the description of the Rain Forest and Waterfall by 4×4 excursion and thinking how fun that would be. I asked if there was room for us and there was! I already had on my bathing suit and asked if there was swimming available and he said yes. That was even better!

We met our guide and followed him to our fun ride for the day – the cool 4×4 shown below. We climbed up a ladder, found our seats and off we went for our wild ride into the rain forest with the Wacky Rollers.

Our ride in Dominica

The drive to our first stop was on narrow, steep, winding roads. We stopped for a look down at the capital city of Roseau. When I saw the rainbow I was a happy camper. How could it get better than that? Well, it did.

We stopped at the Botanical Gardens for a look around at some of the beautiful vegetation and an unusual moth caterpillar.

The road was like a roller coaster as we got farther into the rain forest. It started raining which added to the adventure. The driver stopped on a bridge for a view of some hot springs.

Hot Springs in the Rain Forest of Dominica

At Morne Trois Pitions National Park we hiked up wet, slippery stone steps to view the Trafalger Waterfalls. It rained off and on the entire hike but the view at the top was our reward.

After returning to the bottom of the stairs we had a chance to read about the park at the Visitor’s Center and gazed out a window to see the rain coming down.

Rain in the Dominican Rain Forest

We continued the tour on more roller coaster roads until stopping at Ti Tou Gorge with an opportunity to swim into the gorge. Out of about a dozen people on the tour, only four women took the plunge. The water was cold as we swam against the current into the gorge to a circular pool where we could look up to see the sky. We continued a little farther for a peek at a waterfall before turning around to go back.

Swimming back to where we started was easy with the current pushing us along. It was a challenge getting out of the water onto the slippery rocks but I did it with the help of one of our guides.

The roller coaster ride continued down the mountain on the way back to the ship. Back on board we had a nice view of the colorful city of Roseau, watched another gorgeous sunset and enjoyed another fabulous dinner.

The adventure continues. Where will we be next?

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #188 – A Special Place

Our host Karina asks us to show us the places that are or were special to you and tell us why. I’ve chosen to feature two National Wildlife Refuges located in Southeast Georgia.

Working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mission

The National Wildlife Refuge System is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These public lands and waters across the United states are set aside to protect many species. They are special places to experience nature and to view wildlife. There are over 560 National Wildlife Refuges in the United States.

The Okefenokee Swamp is one of North America’s most unspoiled natural wilderness areas. According to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge web page, “the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has 353,981 acres of National Wilderness Area within the refuge boundaries.  In addition, the refuge is a Wetland of International Importance (RAMSAR Convention – 1971) because it is one of the world’s largest intact freshwater ecosystems.”

The refuge headquarters are located in Folkston, Georgia. There is also access to the refuge in Georgia’s Stephen C. Foster State Park in Fargo and the Okefenokee Swamp Park in Waycross.

Alligators in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Turtle in Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Swallowtail Butterflies in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Wild Turkey in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Snowy Egret in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Located just a few miles east of I-95 in Townsend, Georgia, Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for a diversity of wildlife, including nearly 350 species of birds. In the spring, hundreds of wood storks, egrets, and other birds can be seen building their nests in the trees on Woody Pond.

Great Blue Heron in Flight at Harris Neck
Pair of Wood Storks building a nest at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Nesting Wood Storks and Great Egrets at Woody Pond
Baby Alligators at Woody Pond

Many thanks to our guest host Karina of Murtagh’s Meadow for the challenge Lens’Artists #188: A Special Place

Feeding the Backyard Birds

I enjoy feeding my back yard birds and keep a feeder filled with seeds close to my butterfly garden. It’s fun to see how the birds in the yard change with the seasons. During the warm months I keep three hummingbird feeders filled with nectar and grow flowers that attract them. I enjoy sitting and watching the birds and trying to capture them with my camera.

In Fall and Winter birds like Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse, House Finches, and Northern Cardinals show up frequently. All of these birds can also be seen at various times during the rest of the year. The pair of Northern Cardinals in the header photo were perched in a tree near the bird feeder this week. They like to hang around waiting for seeds to fall to the ground for an easy meal.

Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Chickadee
House Finch

I start seeing a change in the birds in the spring when the weather starts warming up. The hummingbird feeders go up and I anxiously await the first Ruby Throated Hummingbird. Spring also brings the Painted Buntings to the yard. Both the hummers and the buntings come around frequently all spring and summer.

Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird
Male Painted Bunting
Female Painted Bunting
Pair of Painted Buntings

This post was inspired by John Steiner’s Lens-Artists challenge Change

and by Terri’s Sunday Stills Challenge Are you a Bird Feeder? Her post reminds us that February is National Bird Feeding Month.