Monte Sano

March 19, 2022 on the Fire Tower Trail at Monte Sano State Park

March 19, 2022, I co-led a hike on the Fire Tower Trail at Alabama’s Monte Sano State Park for OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Alabama in Huntsville). Chilly, mostly cloudy, and dry, the hiking weather and conditions proved perfect. In retrospect, this hike proved special. I had been released just a […]


Aftermath of January 1, 2022 Tornado at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge

January 1, 2022, a cold-front-triggered tornado cut a quarter-mile swath across the east-central end of Alabama’s Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge just 14 miles from my Madison, AL home. I share on-site photographs (from March 1 and 15, 2022) and reflections on Nature’s fury and the renewal that will follow. Here is my February 16, 2022 […]

Sunrises and Sunsets Over the Period of My Stroke Convalescence

Life’s circumstances, I’ve learned, alter the tone and content of these Great Blue Heron Posts. Normally I offer photographs, observations, and reflections on my Nature-ramblings, generally in sylvan settings in Alabama or whever my ramblings take me. However, March 24, 2022 struck a low blow to my psyche and, for the near-term, modified my postings […]

Joe Wheeler

Falconry at Joe Wheeler State Park

January 28-29, 2022, I participated in Alabama’s Joe Wheeler State Park’s Focus on Nature Weekend, a workshop on Nature Photography. I co-led a half-day field excursion on the Park. One element of the outing involved accompanying falconer Matt Whitfield as he worked his three Harris hawks in pursuit of the Park’s ubiquitous grey squirrels. I […]

Joe Wheeler

Early Morning Perspective at Joe Wheeler State Park

January 28-30, 2022, I participated in the Focus on Nature (Nature Photography) Workshop at Joe Wheeler State Park. I offer photographs and reflections from my solitary hike beginning at dawn January 30. This Post highlights a 180-degree early morning perspective on the Awesome Trail and some tree form oddities from the entire weekend. I write […]

Joe Wheeler

A 25-month Retrospective on Tornado Damage at Joe Wheeler State Park

January 29, 2022, I co-led a Joe Wheeler State Park half-day tour as part of the Focus on Nature Weekend. We walked the Day Use and Campground areas, devastated by a December 2019 tornado. Both Park use-areas are scheduled to be reopened this spring. I offer photos, observations, and reflections on the Joe Wheeler SP […]

Late January Sunsets at Joe Wheeler State Park

Preface I drafted the text of this Post in February, at least a month before posting it March 30 (today), six days after I suffered a stroke March 24. I offer in these prefatory remarks two particulary poignant quotes from my original draft, which I present unaltered following the Preface. Life on Earth cycles through […]

Joe Wheeler

Black Locust Decline and Two Champion Trees at Joe Wheeler State Park

I participated January 28-29, 2022, in the Focus on Nature (Nature Photography) Workshop at Alabama’s Joe Wheeler State Park. Sunday morning (1/30) I hiked the Blue Loop Trail shortly after sunrise. This Post offers photos, observations, and reflections on the declining black locust component in the upland forest along the trail. I report also on […]

Some Borrowed Do’s and Don’ts of Wildlife Photography

Reflections on the Adequacy of my Photographs   As all of my regular readers know, I focus these Great Blue Heron photo-essay Posts on mostly my own wanderings into terrestrial ecosystems. Trees, wildflowers, fungi, and special places account for most of my attention, photographs, observations, and reflections. You know, too, that I rely unabashedly on […]

January 8, 2022 Mid-Day Wanderings in a Bottomland Forest

January 8, 2022, I enjoyed a perfect mid-day winter ramble in a hardwood bottomland forest on the eastern end of Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge near Huntsville, Alabama. This Post illustrates how keen observations as well as directed and informed curiosity can make a routine woods stroll something truly special. Riparian Saturated Forests Nightime temperatures froze […]

Joe Wheeler

How Nature Can Inspire Us, Teach Us, and Keep Us Happy!

Exploring a New Partnership   I’m announcing a new collaborative between Great Blue Heron and We Get Outdoors (based in South Africa). As a first product of our partnership exploration, we are pleased to present my nearly 90-minute interview (recorded late 2021:, conducted expertly by Rob Yates (We Get Outdoors Co-Founder and consummate outdoors […]

Joe Wheeler

January Mosses, Lichens, Mushrooms at Joe Wheeler State Park

January 29 and 30, 2022, I participated in the Focus on Nature Weekend at Alabama’s Joe Wheeler State Park as a volunteer staff member, co-leading one of the three Saturday field trips. I focus this Post on a sampling of mosses, lichens, and mushrooms I encountered during my wanderings. The world is a skyscraper! Don’t […]