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.