Life Verse:

"...I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly." -- JESUS in John 10:10

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Solstice Hike - Barred Owl Sighting

Hike:  Portions of Red and Black Trails, Swayback Bridge TOLA, Wetumpka, AL 06/21/2014, 0830-1100CDT
Distance: 6 miles  Rating: 4/5
Difficulty: Easy
Conditions: Hot (low 90s) and humid.  Wind: light & variable.  Trails were mostly dry.  Encountered a few mountain bikers near end of hike.
Summer in the Southeast means bugs (lots of bugs).  Used 40% DEET to repel mosquitoes and ticks (though I have never known ticks to be a problem here).  Had several gnats fly into my eyes.  The drone of flying insects was a constant chorus throughout the hike.  The ubiquitous trail-spanning spider webs were easily handled by my trekking pole.  Insects can be a worrisome distraction this time of year, just prepare (mentally, clothing, & repellent) before venturing into the woods.  

Gray squirrels and chipmunks were observed throughout the day scampering around the forest floor.  The drumming of a woodpecker greeted me at the beginning of the hike.  Small lavender wildflowers were the flower stars today... taking center-stage all along the trails.  I am not certain of their identity, though they resemble the mint family with small clustered lavender blooms.  Did not notice a particular fragrance associated with these blooms.  Yellow daisies, Black-Eyed Susans, and Mimosas added the additional colors from GOD's palette. 

The greatest surprise was a large Barred Owl flying through the forest canopy within 60' of me and perching in a tall hardwood.  Silence accompanied his swoop through the tree tops.  Owls are rarely observed during the day.  This may have been only the third time I have ever observed diurnal behavior in an owl.  He was not close enough to get a quality photo, but certainly close enough for me to enjoy such a wonderful sight. 

12 "For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Isaiah 55:12 (NKJV)

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