Happy 2018

Today I begin posting for the new year.

It’s been a few weeks, but I’ve been travelling – flew into Philadelphia on December 27. Then Jerri and I packed her little Honda full, and headed South on the 29th. We arrived on Pensacola Beach on New Years Day and moved into our condo. But along the way, we wandered around my home town, Knoxville, on the second and third days of the trip so that I could show her where I grew up and went to school, and got into all kinds of trouble as a kid. Then the next day, up into the Smokies – the mountains I love! – for a drive through Cades Cove, where we spotted a couple of deer and wondered at the frost (no snow) atop the higher peaks that surround the cove. Back when I was a teen-ager I hike across the tops of all those mountains, and slept a night or two on their peaks. But that was long, long ago.

cades-cove-panoJerri braving the cold to grab a few shots of Cades Cove

After a quick trip down to Lenoir City to visit my sister and brother-in-law we headed south again, and decided to stop for the night in Gadsden (EEK!), AL, the place good-ol Judge Roy Moore is from, and where he developed a liking for young Alabama girls.

But we escaped without being assaulted. The hotel there, a Holiday Inn Express, was the nicest place we encountered along the way, and their free breakfast was outstanding.

But now … to the new neighborhood, and our new neighbor(s). So far it’s really been too cold to venture out much, so we’ve had to settle for bird-watching from inside or out (briefly!) on the balcony.

Our regular visitor is this huge Great Blue Heron, all decked out in his breeding season best.

ready-for-the-show

He doesn’t seem to have any place particular to go, so he just sits there, trying to catch the warm rays of the sun, sheltered from the wind by the building behind him. He’s hanging out right now on the third floor balcony across the way. This place is fairly sparsely populated so he probably has his choice of many balcony rails to hang out on.

Today he’s hardly moved, only preening occasionally, and stretching. But he’s been in this one place since early this morning and shows no signs of leaving any time soon.

Should we give him a name?

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