Photos, Art and Nature

Few words today, as I reflect on the activities of the past few weeks and look forward to my rapidly approaching trip to Newfoundland. With luck, I may have some interesting reflections to share with you from that Atlantic province steeped in cultural history, puffin colonies, trout, and moose.

Eastern kingbird, Greenwood, NY

Locally, over the last couple of weeks I’ve enjoyed a bit of fly-fishing, birding, public reading performances, and visiting with the Pittsburgh folk who were kind enough to help us extend our explorations there. One highlight was the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, a magnificent blend of art and nature in the heart of an exciting urban center. Not much walking for me, as I anticipate a summer date for back surgery, but enough to keep me chirping with my feathered friends and human pals, as well.


Allegheny (l.), Monongahela (r.) forming the Ohio River
Chihuly chandelier, Welcome Center, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh
Chihuly gold star in the Desert Room
onward to the street/sidewalk art in Pittsburgh…
Andy Warhol, native…
spicy prawn with rice (Vietnamese)
a break at the brewery…
the beer was great…
back yard, Greenwood
rose-breasted grosbeak
willow flycatcher
scarlet tanager
pileated woodpecker, Greenwood
Genesee River brown
common grackle, Dormont/Pittsburgh
mallard in chalk, the ‘Burgh.

About rivertoprambles

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. This is my blog about the headwaters country-far afield or close to home. I've been a fly-fisher, birder, and naturalist for most of my adult life. I've also written poetry and natural history books for thirty years. In Rambles I will mostly reflect on the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. Sometimes I'll write about the wilderness in distant states, or of the wild places in the human soul. Other times I'll just reflect on the domestic life outdoors. In any case, I hope you enjoy. Let's ramble!
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20 Responses to Photos, Art and Nature

  1. Brent says:

    Great pictures, all around! You had the perfect vantage point to get the mallard to truly pop up from the street. Are most of the Greenwood birds hanging out at your feeder?

  2. UB says:

    Great pictures indeed! Are you using your ‘new’ camera for those bird shots? What is it again? If you’re zooming in to get those shots, it works great for theses posts for certain. Sorry I didn’t get to talk with you at the meeting. Came back home last Wednesday evening. Feels like I’ve not been at home for most of the spring and need to catch up around here. Might be going back to SR next week, but we’ll see. Back surgery… :(, doesn’t sound like much fun but I hope it addresses whatever issue you are dealing with. take care, UB

    • Thanks for commenting, UB. Well. I use a Nikon B600, with mixed results. I’m still in the “student” phase. Yeah, I missed talking with you at the SR meeting, which seemed to pass so quickly for me. Later, to slow things down, Dale & I got to do a little casting on Cedar where the water seemed fairly low. As for the back… still crossing my fingers.

  3. The prawns with rice and the beers definitely caught my attention. I want ‘em!

  4. plaidcamper says:

    Looks like early summer has been going well for you, Walt! Here’s to a good trip, more good beer, and a successful op on your back. Have fun!

  5. Mark S says:

    Great pictures! Last week I spent some time watching a pair of kingbirds hunt for insects over a beaver pond. They are pretty cool birds.
    The chalk art and the glass work is also pretty amazing. Thanks for sharing the pictures!

    • Mark, I’m glad you took some time to watch those kingbirds, very active at this time of year defending their territories and feeding their young. I’ve always found the kingbirds, like other species of flycatchers, fascinating species to observe & think about. Thank you for the comments.

  6. John Pastorek says:

    Good luck on the back surgery, Walt! Looking forward to your posts from Newfoundland!

  7. Bob says:

    So many similarities. I live in Mars just outside of “Da Burgh”. Glad you’re enjoying Pittsburgh. It’s an awesome town with much to discover and enjoy. Plus our local breweries and distilleries are quite a treat. Check out the Church Brew Works. Good luck on the back surgery. Can’t wait to hear about Newfoundland.

    • Yup, “so many similarities,” Bob. I’m checking with my son (from Dormont/Pitts) to see if we, or he & his wife, have been to the Church Brew… If not, we’ll have to add it to our brew bucket list! Thanks for the good wishes, and it’s always fun to know that truly there is life in/on Mars.

  8. loydtruss says:

    I’m so impressed with those plants in the Botanical Gardens. I’m always interested in the bird species you feature. I can only make a connection with one of the species, which is the Red-breasted Grosbeak. That bird visits my bird feeders often. I know the Eastern Kingbird migrates south, but I haven’t seen it this summer. The highlight of my bird watching this year was seeing an Indigo Bunting at the feeders back in the Spring. It is a beautiful bird that outshines any species I’ve seen this year. To view a Scarlet Tanager would be the highlight of any bird-watching trip.
    Are you a member of any bird-watching group? You may have mentioned being a member in a past post but I don’t remember. Great post —thanks for sharing

    • Bill,
      The Botanical Gardens there are truly impressive (you should its “Butterfly Room” set amidst a jungle walk), and I could only hint of the diversity here.
      I’m glad you’re keeping an eye on the birds down there. I almost included a recent photo of a male indigo bunting, always stunning in the sunlight. If you have some brushy areas with low trees in your neighborhood, you might see more of them outside of the yard. And yes, I do belong to a county bird club that offers interesting programs and occasional field trips. It’s good to be associated with a group like that. Thanks for your response!

  9. Bob Stanton says:

    Glad to hear that you are at least somewhat ambulatory and getting around. The “sweet of the year,” while off to a slow start, has at least started to pick up somewhat. Hit a sulfur hatch on the East branch Clarion that resulted in 15 trout brought to hand, all on dry flies. A bunch more refusals, near misses, and LDRs, too. A reward for all the two fish/ no fish days.

  10. Jet Eliot says:

    I really enjoyed the wildlife photos here, Walt, and your travels and the Chihulys too. Nice overview of the Ohio River confluence, too. I suspect you are on your trip to Newfoundland now, and I hope you are having a spectacular time. Or if you’ve had back surgery, I hope it’s helped. Cheers to you and summer, my friend.

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