When I was in Atlanta in mid-August visiting friends, I spent some time at the Botanical Gardens. It’s one of my favorite places to take pictures. They were having an exhibit of “Mythical Creatures” topiaries that was really cool to see.
Above are just a few of the growing “creatures” that come to life.
Lots of fun things to see at these gardens which were full of butterflies.
Atlanta, as seen in the first episode of the tv series “Walking Dead”. Except in the scene, the roads were lined with abandoned cars that were photo-shopped into the scene. I took this the first night of our long weekend to visit friends. It was dark and cloudy and had just stopped drizzling. My husband thought I was going to look silly being the only person standing on the Jackson Street bridge taking this picture. No, there were several other people there taking pictures as well. I found out later that there are “Walking Dead” tours that take you to some of the places that scenes were filmed at. This is one of the stops.
Another Atlanta downtown scene, taken as we were leaving to head back home.
One morning while Brett was riding his bike with some friends, I took a walk around Piedmont Park. They used to have great art festivals and other events here. I’m sure they still do but it was quiet the morning I walked around the lake.
A few of the critters and an interesting mushroom or fungi around the lake. After my walk around the park, I headed over to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, more on that later.
We stopped at a shopping center to get something and this hawk was in the parking deck. At first I thought he was hurt but I think he had just finished a meal. He took off as I got closer to him but he let me get pretty close. He left behind a few scraps of his lunch.
Almost 25 years ago, Brett and I got married here in the gardens behind the Swan House. We were passing by and I made Brett stop for a few minutes.
I was feeling really nostalgic for Atlanta. I had lived here for 17 years before Brett and I moved to Tampa for work. Since his family moved to the Tampa bay area years ago, we hadn’t really spent any time here in over 3 years so we came back for a long weekend in August. We packed a lot of sight-seeing in the 2 and a half days we were here. We happened to be staying in a hotel next to this mural. The mural is on the side of the building where the old Limelight disco was back in the 70’s and 80’s. I spend many weekends there dancing with my sister and our friends back in the mid 80’s.
These flowers are popping up at all of the parks. It’s always a sign of summer around here.
I haven’t seen a ladybug in a long time.
A tiny gator taking a break.
Vultures were eating a big turtle close to the trail. Since they only eat dead animals, something must have happened to the turtle. It might have been sick.
Face to face with a small gator. I was not close. This is extremely cropped.
Turtles are everywhere.
We found a big gator family. I think we counted 13 babies. There may have been more. They must have been very young. They were tiny and were climbing all over each other.
Mom was close by, right up against the trail.
Another pile close by.
A little bit older but still young. A few weeks after taking these, the preserve closed down Marsh Rabbit Run trail due to the gator mating activity. They can be very aggressive and will come up on the trail more often during mating season. With all of those new babies, the moms are going to be very aggressive protecting them. One or both of the main trails usually close each summer. This year was early. It should open back up around September once all of those hormonal gators calm down and go back to sleeping all day.
The cormorant tree. Some days it’s a snowy egret tree. Or an ibis tree. It changes every trip.
Another cloudy morning. It went back and forth looking like it was going to pour and then the sun would peak out for a few minutes. A least it was still cool in late March. I think all of the alligators got the memo to show up this morning. The trails were full of them. Most of the big ones were way down in the marsh.
The gardens were having a “Larger Than Life” exhibit while I was there. Really cool topiary type plants were all over the gardens.
A cool ogre plant.
This was my favorite. Connected to the waterfall she was the garden goddess. I took this from the top of the skywalk bridge.
Bees were everywhere but I didn’t see a single butterfly. I think the rain had kept them away. Plus, all of the flowers looked pretty beat up from the storms.
Bee up close.
Blooming in orange.
The rain stopped for about two hours on Saturday morning. It was drizzling on the way to the gardens and I almost turned around and went home. I pulled into the parking lot and waited a few minutes and it stopped. At least the temperature was cool for July. Not many people at the gardens. I think the rain scared them off. The gardens were full of all of the usual flowers but most were falling over from the rain. They needed a good sunny day to dry out.
It wouldn’t be a day out in nature without seeing some squirrels.
Blue jay keeping an eye on me.
I think this is a chipping sparrow? They were all over the cemetery.
Getting a drink from an empty planter.
Robins were everywhere.
Mockingbird on a cross.
A warbler in the bushes.
I could hear this carolina wren singing all over the cemetery.
Flowers were still blooming.
You can see the capital from across the cemetery.
Even though it was a little cold, it was a beautiful morning. The sun came in and out all morning. Nothing like spending a little time in a cemetery right before Christmas. I’m sure the people there thought I was crazy with my long lens taking pictures of birds. I’ve always said “Cemeteries have good birds.” Even in downtown Atlanta. I was surprised to see so many birds there. I didn’t see the red-headed woodpeckers that I had seen on my last 2 trips there. They may have been hiding. I thought I’d only be there an hour and then go somewhere else, maybe the zoo close by but ended up staying 3 hours.
This eastern towhee was very accommodating. He just sat there staring at me.
Another towhee looking for food on the ground.
Dark eyed junco getting some food.
Upclose. The cemetery was full of these guys.
Mouthful of seeds.
Posing on the planter.
As I was taking pictures of the juncos, this white breasted nuthatch flew into a tree right in front of me. He only stayed for a few seconds and it was the only one I saw that day.
Two days before Christmas I had a few hours to kill in the morning. I headed for the Oakland cemetery in downtown Atlanta. It was cold (35 degrees is almost death degrees for this Florida person). I had tons of layers on and actually remembered my gloves which I wore the entire time I was there. Oakland cemetery is a very old historic cemetery with a few local famous people buried there (including Margaret Mitchell who wrote Gone With The Wind). When I first got there around 8:30 there was no one else around but by 9:30, people were wandering around. Tourists come to visit and locals walk through when walking their dogs. A few joggers cut through the cemetery as well.
The cemetery was full of birds but not a lot of variety. At first I thought the above were all first sightings but after digging through some old pictures when I got back from the trip, I had seen all of the above only once before and gotten really bad pictures which I never posted. I have not seen these birds in Florida, only Atlanta so I was excited to get shots of them. There were several towhees and tons of juncos everywhere. A few other more common birds were there but more on those later.