Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for March 21st, 2012

A light encounter

with 23 comments

As you learned in the previous post, on August 24 of last year I photographed two turkey vultures in a tree in northeast Austin. I was drawn to that place because I’d caught a glimpse of a large structure looming in the woods on the north side of E. Braker Lane where nothing of that size had a right to be. After photographing the vultures, I walked around the corner and along the edge of the woods, and then into them, where I found not only plenty of poison ivy but also the ruins of two concrete silos that no previous drive-bys had led me to suspect were there. Here from last year is a picture of the lush but poisonous plants and one of the silos. Up the side of the silo you can make out a column of windows that will be relevant for what follows.

In some ways this creepy scene could be the dark encounter referred to in the title of yesterday’s post, but it isn’t. And some of you may have wondered why, with all the wildflowers coming up in Austin and in so many recent posts, I’ve abruptly forsaken them and jumped back to last year. The reason is that a week ago, on March 14 of this year, I returned to the place you see here. The poison ivy was just beginning to leaf out, as I’ve seen it doing in other places around town. The two silos were still there, and as I walked around to the openings in one of them, a vulture that had been on the dirt floor inside was startled by my sudden appearance; it flew up and landed briefly on the base of one of the windows slightly above the level of my eyes and pretty close to me, then flew out and away. When I climbed through the lowest window and entered the silo, here’s what I found on the ground at the opposite side of the circular earthen floor:

Click for greater clarity.

The turkey vulture had apparently been sitting on these eggs when my arrival scared it away. I hope the bird returned after I left, and I hope the graffiti on the walls inside the silo aren’t a sign of continuing human presence there. Whether the little snail shell and others like it nearby had any connection to the vulture, I don’t know.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 21, 2012 at 5:42 AM

%d bloggers like this: