Along the Natchez Trace

Friday, June 19, 2015

Honeysuckle, Lupines and a Big Surprise....

I spent nearly all day yesterday riding around in the Gator, looking for honeysuckle bushes.  This particular species of honeysuckle is not native here and it's one of those things that can (and will) take over if not kept under control.

This bush is huge...  it consists of a clump - maybe 5 or 6 shoots all growing together.  I've come across some shoots bigger around than my wrist, but many times I can cut the shoot with pruners or loppers.  I take Bill's Makita reciprocal saw (battery operated) with me and can cut the larger shoots with it.  But it's heavy and I soon wear out.  So I use flagging to mark bushes that need cut down and I'll either get back to it later or Bill will go with me to help out.

It's kinda funny about invasive plants....  we all work hard to eradicate things like that honeysuckle, and soon we'll be pulling the spotted knapweed.  Nobody wants those to take over....  But yet...

This species of Lupine has been determined to be non-native....

It grows in the fields where the Upland Sandpiper makes their nests.  It blooms only for a couple of weeks in June so everyone enjoys its short-lived beauty.  I look forward to seeing it each year, and am always in awe of the various colors.  Over the years I've come to know where to look for the deep purple ones...  or the burgundy ones...  or where along the highway I'm likely to see these flowers.

So...  it's an invasive plant...  why don't I go full-out attack on it like I'm doing with the honeysuckle?  What happens when we make "exceptions"?  

While out on the Gator I stopped along a pond to see if the yellow lady slipper was still blooming.  I shut the vehicle down just for the silence.  But instead of silence I heard what I first thought was dogs barking.  Not really sounding like a dog... but what?   And then... an answering call....

Oh Wow!
This Great Horned Owl swooped down over the pond and then up into this tree.
He continued to call...  not the "hoot" one would expect, but more like a gutteral hacking sound.
I watched him for a while, attempting to get the perfect photo.  This one was my favorite shot.  He got tired of me looking at him and he flew away.  I never did locate the other owl he was talking to.  But seeing him was the highlight of the day!

That's All For Today!


  1. I love the way owls glare at you! Great photo Sharon!

  2. Beautiful photo of the owl. You are in bird and wildlife heaven there! We have gorse Scot's Broom, two invasive species, taking over the coast of Oregon in spots. Sometimes the state has the money to go after these two destructive species of plant, but mostly it doesn't. The last time I camped out on the coast, with cats, for dentals I stayed at Nehalem Bay state park, and it is solid Scot's Broom on the perimeter and it seems they've given up the fight there.

  3. Great owl photo! Maybe you need some goats :), I read a homesteading blog where they send the goats out to eat all of the honeysuckle in their fields.

  4. It certainly is a dilemma with invasives. Often seems like a losing battle.

  5. We don't have many, if any, of them here but we do have a lot of barred owls. They sure can make a racket!!

  6. That owl is a wonderful photo. And how accommodating of him to stay and let you snap away. Perhaps the larger the bird the less wary they are of people.

  7. What a handsome owl! Some invasives have become desired, I know they don't do anything about the Queen Anne's Lace!