Arboretum Recaps

March 22, 2009

Last Wednesday was a beautiful day in the Valley. As I walked into the arboretum at JMU, I couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming sounds of birds.

For a significant amount of my time there, I wandered through the top section, known as the Caroline Baytop Sinclair Memorial Garden. In addition to robins, tufted titmouse, doves, cardinals and blue jays, I had a great time with a few white-throated sparrows.

Those little buggers amused me to no end by jumping in and out of a puddle. As I sat motionless about six feet away from the puddle, watching the scene unfold through the lens, I soon realized I was sinking into wet ground. Oops.

For several minutes I pushed that fact into the back of my mind and kept photographing the scene. In the end I was rewarded with a great shot of a sparrow staring at the puddle, complete with its own reflection. It might be on my list of top favorites, and is already in the layout.

After a while, I noticed a squirrel busy at work building his nest. Running out on limb after limb, he would nibble off twigs and run back into a hole within a tree. Seconds later he would pop out and run to the ground, where he would scoop up as many leaves as he could carry before shooting back up the tree. I’ve unofficially named him Stumpy from his bizarre (as seemingly recent) loss of most of his tail.


Although there wasn’t a ton of action that day, I was still glad to have photographed the puddle scene. It’s easy to find a bird in a branch, but its nice when you get the variety of some different behaviors.

On Friday I hit the arboretum again, but the experience was very different. As I walked into the arboretum from the overflow lot, I did not hear the same presence of birds and the wind began whipping around me. Compared to Wednesday’s trip, it was much cooler.

Walking around the pond and through the surrounding woods, I heard the familiar sounds of woodpeckers and quickly honed in on the source. I enjoy watching woodpeckers a lot and had some moderate success following them from tree to tree.

After identifying a few more subjects, I made another round of the pond and started to make my way out. In passing, I spoke to another photographer and his wife, who turned out to be frequent visitors of the site. After I explained a bit about my project, they showed me an area near the paths to revisit that contains a possible hawk nest. I’ll be sure to keep an eye on that in future visits!

2 Responses to “Arboretum Recaps”

  1. Renee Says:

    Wow, sounds like a successful outing! Can’t wait to see the bird pics – so cute jumping in and out of the puddle! Looks like that squirrel is building a nest for babies!

  2. […] Nearing the end of my adventure, I walked the woods and found another little friend. Remember Stumpy the squirrel? […]

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