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Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Morning at Kleb Woods

I've been hoping I was able to make it to this event ever since I heard about it a few weeks ago.  For a while, I thought I wasn't going to be able to make it because the World Equestrian Games, currently taking place in Lexington, Ky., are going to be keeping me busy on my second job for the next two weeks.  As it happened, I ended up with a free morning (and afternoon, but I'll be working late tonight) and Eric and I were able to get over there.

The event was billed as a Hummingbird Festival and a full day of talks and demonstrations was planned.

We were there in time to see and hear the Silent Hunters program, presented by Mary Ann Weber, Education Director for Houston Audobon. It was a very interesting presentation and I learned things I never knew about owls.  For instance, did you know that owl's ears are different sizes and different heights on either side of their head?

Mary Ann introduced us to a Great Horned Owl, a Barred Owl, and an Eastern Screech Owl.

It was wonderful to see these magnificent birds in person.  Unfortunately, most of my photos came out blurred because I wasn't using a flash indoors, but I did get this one of the little Screech Owl.

Other programs scheduled for the day included a talk on what plants to use in the home landscape to encourage hummingbirds to your garden, presented by two ladies from Arbor Gate.  In the afternoon, after we had left, Fred Collins, Director of the Kleb Woods Nature Center, presented a program on identifying local hummingbirds and caring for wintering hummingbirds.

There was supposed to be hummingbird banding going on all day, but unfortunately when we were there, the hummingbirds were playing shy. Not a one to be seen!  I hope they had better luck in the afternoon, after we had left!

After the owl presentation, Eric and I went for a pleasant walk around Kleb Woods.

Just outside the Nature Center I found this beautiful Hamelia patens.  It's about the size of the one I had growing at my last house.  The one I have now is in a containter and seems to be doing okay.  I'm hoping to get it in the ground next year, by which time the beds should be ready to accept plantings.

Heading into the woods, we saw a lot of these American Beauty Berry bushes. I'd love one in the garden, but from what I can tell, they can grow to be about 15 to 20 feet tall and wide, so I'm thinking we don't have room for one!  That's a pity - I hear the birds love them.

Not far from the Nature Center is Elmer Kleb's original house.  It was open for tours today but we didn't go in.

In front of the house is this lovely bench and arbor.

Several easy, well marked trails allow visitors to stroll through the woods.  These live oaks were very majestic. Strange to think that this is the same tree as we have in our front yard - we may have to move our house to make room if it starts growing this big!!

We saw some interesting fungi, which always fascinates me.

Along the sunny trail on the way to the exit, this lantana was just glowing in the sunshine.

So that was our visit to Kleb Woods.  I'm glad I got to go, even if we didn't see any hummingbirds there.

As it happens, I was able to get a pretty decent photo of a female hummer at our feeder in the back yard yesterday, so all is not lost. I'll share that photo with you instead :-)

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.


Pam's English Garden said...

Dear Jayne, What a lovely day out! Thank you for taking us along with you ... I particularly enjoyed the information about the owl's ears and would like to sit on that inviting bench under the arbor.

Have a great weekend! Pam x

maiaT said...

That was a nice trip, thanks for taking us along.
I like these little hummingbirds. They should be specific to the Americas, though there were photographed a few in our parts too.
I was chasing some of them this week too but I couldn't get a decent picture.

Have a beautiful Sunday!

Jayne said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it Pam. We're lucky that we have Kleb Woods close by and that they have various events like this throughout the year, as well as weekly bird walks.

Jayne said...

I love hummingbirds too maiaT. We've had lots of them in the garden for the past few weeks as they prepare to migrate south. I think they may have chosen this weekend to go, which was bad timing for the Hummingbird Festival, but that's the way nature is sometimes. I forget now, where are you located?

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I'm glad you got to go there. We have a nice nature center with trails in our town that we went to a lot when the kids were younger, even though my daughter did not like the trails. We haven't been there for a long time. We should take our grandson there before it gets cold.

I have two beauty berry bushes near the edge of our property. The leaves look a little different from the one in your photo. I didn't think these were supposed to get that big. I better check to see if I have a tag.

Have fun at the horse events.

Kimberly said...

Hey, Jayne! Love your visit to Kleb Woods. I'm a huge fan of such festivals/seminars. Bummer the hummers steered clear from the crowds, but you have your very own hummingbird sanctuary! NICE! I've not spotted ANY in my neighborhood...I'm not giving up, though!

I've invited you to participate in the 10 Things meme. I linked to you in my latest post, 10 Things. I hope you'll have time to join in...I know it's a really busy time for you!

Enjoy your equestrian events!

Kathleen Scott said...

I'm glad you posted this. I hadn't heard about Kleb Woods. Now I can put it on my Houston-area list and pass it along to my sister who's just moved to the metro area.

Yesterday we had ONE hummingbird. I think migration is largely over this far north. We'll leave a couple of feeders up for stragglers but the days of 20 hummers zinging back and forth are through for this migration season. And we wish them good flight.