Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Cinco de Mayo Stroll

The Greenwood Cemetery at the Crescent Water, in between Vale Ave and Crescent Ave
     Today I decided to avoid any public parks because I knew they would be too crowded, so I opted for a place where picnics, barbecues, and playing sports are not permitted, I went to the cemetery. Greenwood cemetery is open to the public, but has many strict rules (as it should) in place to keep the place peaceful out of respect for those buried there. I have quite a few relatives there- according to what I have heard from my family and from my husband, including my grandmother, on my mother's side, who I never met, she passed away when my mom was still growing up. My mom has many memories of the cemetery, because she spent a lot of time there visiting with her father and siblings. She told me how it used to be a big outing, they'd picnic and spend some outside time there. The grounds are beautiful and very well kept, I could see how it could be a nice place for a picnic. The cemetery is home to some interesting headstones, mausoleums, and historic people. There are some fairly old headstones, some of which can barely be made out. If you have smart phone technology, I highly suggest a visit and googling some of the names on the mausoleums, a lot of those people were famous/rich enough to earn some cool digs for their final resting place and chances are they are they have a Wikipedia page where you can learn a little history while you are there.
     The cemetery, being so quiet, is also a lovely place to see wildlife. The cemetery is quite close to our apartment, so we see some of that spill over into our neighborhood (not complaining!). I am convinced that there are skunks there because every so often I swear I smell one outside, but if that is true, I do not know. Definitely raccoons and opossum around there, a mutual spooking occurred with an opossum last week as my husband and I rode our bikes home one night past the cemetery, I heard a rustle and jumped and he heard a bike and jumped. There is also some good birding, sometimes they even have guided bird walks on the grounds. I went for my walk at around 2:00PM, not the best time to see a whole lot, but I still saw some fun things, including red tail hawks, turkey vultures, a great egret, barn swallows, chimney swifts, starlings, house sparrows, chipping sparrows, blue jays, American robins, a house finch, and Canadian geese.
Robins were very abundant, foraging on the lawns.
A purple finch was singing loudly from its perch on this tall shrub.
Some Canadian geese were taking a Cinco de Mayo siesta on the edge of the pond. I love how their eyes close upward, so cute!
This goose looks like it has a full belly as evidenced by the green on its bill, looks like he is suffering from a food coma. He was fighting the sleep so bad, I watched him as he would close his eyes and his head would nod off, then he'd wake up and repeat.
    The great egret I saw was very interesting to watch. The bird was standing on this solar panel in the middle of the water, which I think was possibly powering something underwater that was creating bubbles. The water in the pond is very stagnant and fish need oxygenated water, so the egret was using the bubbler to its advantage, or so it seemed to me. The bird kept swooping over the bubbling area and plucking fish from the water. The fish probably gather in the area because much of the pond was blooming with green algae, probably due to being in direct sun and fertilizer being used on the nicely manicured grounds. Algae is good for ponds, but too much can rob the pond of nutrients, and being manmade, who knows what is going on underwater as far as living things go... Anyway, the egret was gorgeous as it was active hunting, eating, and flying.
Fish grab #1
Right down the hatch! 
Landing across the pond, look at those pretty wings!
Catch #2, a double! This egret approves of the use of solar panels, makes for a good fishing spot!

My favorite photo of the day! Then it flew right over my head!
     If you are interested in visiting the Greenwood Cemetery, it's pretty cool to see at least once, they have events and tours they lead on grounds. Check them out here and have a visit yourself!