Soon, my eyes alerted me to a silent visitor, who was not sure about my presence in her habitat. We both stood in the road watching each other for a moment. Then, the doe saw an opening in the brush and jumped the fence, ever so quietly. Although the doe was silent, my silly brain could not help but sing in my head..."a doe, a deer, a female deer." Out loud, I thanked the deer for the visit; then I started running again.
Periodically, in the trees along the road, I would hear birds and not recognize their calls. My repertoire of calls/songs for the purpose of identification is quite small, so I would stop or run backwards, as I looked for the bird. I had to repeatedly remind myself that my outing was for running rather than birding...and make myself move on! (Not to mention how much easier it is to fall while looking at tree tops or moving backwards....)
My next notable sensory experience caused a slight startle, as there was a sudden noise almost right next to me. I was very close to the edge of the road, as was the farm fence...and the cow on the other side of the fence, partially hidden by the brush. There was the sudden noise of breath being exhaled, then grass ripping and grass crunching in its mouth. Yes, we were that close to each other. I could honestly hear the grass tear off and crunch in those teeth. After I recovered from the initial startle, I said hello to my bovine friend, and enjoyed the crunching noises for a few more steps, running down the lane.
There is a large curve in the lane, just before you go doowwnn and uuuppp a hill. This curve and the following hill usually have lots of interesting encounters. Today, there was a small rabbit, a large cat (bunny better hide!), a pair of Brown Thrashers, and several other birds I could not identify as I flew (ok, slowly jogged) down the hill. Brown Thrashers have become one of my favorite sightings lately, perhaps because I still do not have a great photograph of them.
Maybe I will go back tomorrow with my camera.....
I did recognize Red-winged Blackbird, Mourning Dove, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Northern Cardinal, American Robin, and the above-mentioned Brown Thrasher.
The smells changed through this curve and hill...there was fragrance of skunk somewhere approaching the curve, then a very floral fragrance, almost like honeysuckle. There were plenty of honeysuckle berries, but no blooms that I could see. There were lots of blooming wildflowers, though. Again, I need to go back tomorrow with my camera to photograph the flowers and identify some of them. I noticed several flowers for which I did not have names, but I recognized Red Clover (which I have always called purple), Yellow Goatsbeard, Chicory, and Queen Anne's Lace.
So, doowwnn and uuuppp I went. The bypass intersects the end of Bells Lane, but if you cross it, there is about a mile more of road with farm land on one side and golf course on the other side. I decided to cross the bypass, but only went a little ways down that lane. My name for this section of road as "Bells Lane Extended" is not the same as Augusta County's name. The real name of the road is "Country Club Road." On Bells Lane Extended, the Tree Swallows were flying around and roosting near one of the nest boxes nailed to the fence posts.
On the return, one has to run doowwnn and uuuppp....and uuuppp....around the curve, and uuuppp some more. On the return, the uuuppp is steep, and long! Funny how I did not notice birds on the way back uuuppp...only grass, flowers, and pavement. Wait, I did notice a lovely breeze when I rounded the curve! It was welcomed on this quite warm and humid morning. It reminded me of a different time I rounded that corner with two of my running buddies, when it was freezing cold! There seems to be a permanent breeze in this location, which happens to also have great views of mountains and farm land. Although I was working hard to get up the hill, this July breeze brought forth an "Aaaahhh." Quite different from the March breeze that brought forth an "Ugh" from we three lady runners on that cold day!
July 10, 2015
Tomorrow came before I finished this post, so I went back with my camera and have shared photos below to accompany the sights above. You can click the picture to see a larger image and the captions, then use the left/right arrows to move through the images.