Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #142 – You Pick It

Ann-Christine’s choice for the challenge this week is “You Pick It”. My topic is Spring has Sprung!

I’m not a cold weather person and winter just lasts too long for me. All winter I look forward to seeing the colorful blooms of azaleas and Dogwoods signalling the beginning of spring. Usually by St. Patrick’s Day the azaleas are in full bloom and the vibrant pink blossoms are on display all over town. They were a little late this year but to me they seemed more beautiful than ever.

Spring Azaleas, to
Azalea blooms

The blooms on Flowering Dogwoods are another sight I welcome each spring.

Dogwood Blooms
Dogwood Blossom

I also welcome the signs of spring in the animal world. Egrets, Wood Storks and other long legged wading birds like to build their nest in the spring and a great place to see them nesting is in the trees at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge. Alligators are coming out of their hibernation in the spring and if you are lucky you may even spy some baby alligators at the refuge.

Nesting Birds
Nesting Wood Storks
Baby Alligators

Happy Spring Everyone!

Many thanks to Ann-Christine for this weeks Lens-Artists Challenge #142: You Pick It

Spring at Callaway Gardens

Our latest wandering took us on a short trip that was full of excitement. Our first stop was F. D. Roosevelt State Park,¬†Georgia’s largest state park, in Pine Mountain. It was the perfect place for us to use as home base for exploring both Callaway Gardens and F.D.R.’s Little White House in Warm Springs.

After driving in the rain on the winding road through the park we arrived at the Visitor’s Center to check in just after a tornado warning had been lifted. Everything was fine in the campground and we set up camp just before another rain shower began.

“Connecting man and nature in a way that benefits both.” – Callaway Gardens Mission

With the sun shining the next morning we drove about 15 minutes from our campsite to Callaway Gardens.  Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Callaway Gardens opened in 1952. Today, there are many different gardens to explore, a lodge, golf course, swimming beach, and even a zip-line adventure.

Our tour of the gardens began with a stop at the Pioneer Log Cabin. From there we strolled along the Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Trail with many Georgia native plants.  The Flowering Dogwoods and many other wildflowers displayed their brilliant spring colors.

Pioneer Log Cabin at Callaway Gardens
Pioneer Log Cabin at Callaway Gardens

Flowering Dogwood on Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail
Flowering Dogwood on Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens

Azalea at Callaway Gardens
Azalea at Callaway Gardens

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens

Next we walked on the trails to the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center for a look at some tropical butterflies. Butterflies of all sizes, shapes and colors fed on the colorful blossoms and sailed by our heads as they flew from flower to flower.

Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens

Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens

Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens

We learned about some of Georgia’s birds of prey at the Discovery Center. As our guide gave a very informative presentation, two different species of owl and a red tailed hawk flew over our heads during the program.

Juniper the Great Horned Owl at Birds of Prey program
Juniper the Great Horned Owl at Birds of Prey program

Barred Owl Birds of Prey demonstration at Callaway Gardens
Willow the Barred Owl Birds of Prey demonstration at Callaway Gardens

Red Tailed Hawk Callaway Gardens Birds of Prey Show
Red Tailed Hawk Callaway Gardens Birds of Prey Show

We must have just missed the Azaleas at their peak because most of the Azaleas on the Overlook Azalea trail had finished blooming. The Flowering Dogwoods and other trees added color to the landscape.

20170404Callaway-Gardens-Azalea-Trail
Callaway Gardens Azalea Trail

20170404Callaway-Gardens-Flowering-Dogwood
Flowering Dogwoods were in bloom at Callaway Gardens

Eastern Redbud Callaway Gardens
Eastern Redbud at Callaway Gardens

Callaway Gardens Overlook Azalea Trail
Callaway Gardens Overlook Azalea Trail

Our visit to Callaway Gardens included only a few of the many gardens there. It is a wonderful family destination and bicycles are a popular way to get around the park. There are several restaurants to choose from or you can have a picnic in one of the picnic areas.