Walking through Botanical Gardens

“I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.”

Sometimes its nice to take a day and relax. Norfolk Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place to go on a hot summer day.  They have over 30 themed gardens on 155 acres!  I love just going on walks and checking out all the beautiful flowers.

They have a wonderful Butterfly Garden! You can even find your way through a butterfly shaped maze made of flowers! I enjoyed all the flowers that were starting to bloom. They daisies were my favorite…Bright white petals and sunny happy yellow centers.

Variegated Fritillary

Variegated Fritillary

Variegated Fritillary

Long Dash Skipper

Long Dash Skipper

While watching this long dash flutter around from daisy to daisy, I noticed a spider jumping out from under the flowers trying to catch any insect that landed on his flower….I tapped on his flower to see if he would come up…

Bold Jumper Spider

We picked a beautiful bright sunny day! Walking through the gardens was so relaxing. After visiting the butterfly gardens we headed towards the Eagle nest where the famous eagle cam is located.

Eagle fledglings

I took this photo from the Nato Tower near the tropical garden.  The sun was behind the tree so it was very difficult to get a picture, but watching them through the binoculars was awesome! The little Eagles were flapping their wings anxious to leave the nest.  Under the tower I could hear a little chickadee. It was so cute! He looked as if he was bigger than his mom.

Chickadee Fledgling

There were lots of dragonflies buzzing about in all of the gardens. The dragonfly has been a symbol of happiness, new beginnings and change for many centuries in lots of different cultures.

Painted Skimmer

Blue Dasher

“Ladybug, Ladybug, fly away home….your house is on fire, and your children will burn. Except
little Nan, who sits in a pan, weaving gold laces as fast as she can!”

I’m sure you’re familiar with this cute saying… but do you know how the rhyme originated? In Medieval England, the farmers would set torches to the old hop vines after the harvest, to clear the fields for the next planting. The poem was a little warning to the aphid-eating Ladybugs, still crawling on the vines in search of aphids. The Ladybugs’ children (larvae) could get away from the flames, but the immobile pupae (Nan) remained fastened to the plants (laces) and couldn’t escape. Kinda morbid when you break it down…

Seven Spotted Lady Beetle

Seven spotted lady beetle

After having an amazing walk through the botanical gardens we headed towards sandbridge beach to watch the sunset. We had so much fun watching the ghost crabs(sand crabs) run around on the beach that we missed the sun going down!

Ghost Crab

Ghost Crab going into its home

When you come to Virginia Beach (NOT the Ocean Front, it’s touristy and they move the sand around everyday – there are many more beaches to visit) … You might notice the golfball-sized  holes scattered about…  Ghost Crabs burrow in the dry sand of the upper beach, or in the sand dunes. The burrows extend down 3-4 feet. It’s facinating to watch the clever little crabs build their homes…they bring up clawfuls of sand and tosses it 6-12 inches away from the burrow opening. Later on, the Ghost Crab tromps down the strewn-about sand, and, using its claws, smooths out the surface. The tunnel home is constructed with wet grains of sand so that it will not collapse. In the winter Ghost Crabs hibernate in their burrows, “holding their breath” for six weeks by storing oxygen in specialized sacs near their gills.

Boat Ride on the Intracoastal

Down the Intracoastal Waterway…. Another beautiful day! Sun was shining and the water was like glass…A great day for pictures!

Cormorant

We started our voyage out of Great Bridge in Chesapeake, Virginia on Brian’s beautiful boat ‘Rogue Wave’

Inside the Rogue Wave with Capt. Brian

Rogue Wave

“Great Bridge Bridge – Great Bridge Bridge… This is south bound power, waitin on your eleven o’clock opening…” Brian said over his VHF. “Roger Cap’n, You headin’ south?”  Said the guy in the bridge control room. “Yes sir” replied Brian “Well, Take it slow up there – NO wake! There’s divers down there where  a boats gone under” said the guy. So we head up the way to see a boat half under water and people salvaging what they had left. The water was an iridescent color with oil.

Sinking Fishin' Boat

Sinking Fishin' Boat

…we made our way through the locks and three bridge openings…and saw an eagle couple that we thought might have been the ones who passed our bedroom window the other evening!

Bald Eagle Couple

It was like we were in the middle of a neighborhood of Eagles… I’ve never seen as many as I did today. It was SO amazing! I think every time we would look up in a tree, there one was.

Bald Eagle Number 3

Bald Eagle Number 4

Bald Eagle Number 4 again

We saw lots of  juveniles too!

Juvenile Bald Eagle Number 5

Juvenile Bald Eagles Number 6(flying) & 7

Bald Eagle Number 8

Tons and tons of Eagles! There were so many! Some, I didn’t get a picture of because we didn’t slow down enough in time to get a picture! We couldn’t believe it!

Juvenile Eagles Number 7 & 8

We rode down to North Carolina and back and tried to go up near the cabin in North Landing Campground, but the water was just too shallow.  So we stopped and had lunch. It was an absolutely gorgeous day! The sun was high in the sky and it was about 60 outside! we couldn’t have asked for a better day in winter to go out and take a cruise. While we were eating lunch we noticed the grass was burning…probably a controlled burn. Awesome to watch!

Controlled Burn

Flames burn the invasive growth

Check out the HEAT in that picture! WE went as far as Mile post 35 on the Intracoastal waterway and Saw lots of amazing sights. The water stayed like glass the entire day. We rode past a permanent sunken wreck. Watch out! Might be what will happen to the boat we passed earlier in the day…

Danger! Sunken wreck

Cormorants guard their channel marker

Got my first in flight bird picture today!

Cormorant In Flight

Blue Heron Mile Post 35

This guy is funny! I love how he’s standing on the channel marker, ready for action!

Cormorants hangin' on a log

On our way back we spotted several more Bald Eagles. Some I wasn’t able to catch a picture of..I’m sure they were probably the same ones we saw coming down the waterway.

Bald Eagle Number 9

Bald Eagle Number 10

We had an awesome day on the boat! I am so fortunate to live on the water, let alone have an awesome boyfriend who will take me out in his boat. I hope to see even more Bald Eagles the next time we go out!