Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for July 2017

Sphaeralcea coccinea

with 28 comments

Remember Nebraska’s Chimney Rock? When we visited on May 28th, I photographed these flowers of Sphaeralcea coccinea, called scarlet globemallow, caliche globemallow, and copper mallow. The article linked to in the previous sentence points out that “While on the course of his expedition, near the Marias River [in what is now Montana], Meriwether Lewis collected a specimen of this species.” In fact it grows across much of the western United States. I’ve seen scarlet globemallow in Texas’s hot Trans-Pecos region, so the species tolerates a broad range of temperatures.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 31, 2017 at 4:45 AM

Two henges

with 14 comments

I didn’t see it then and there, which was June 2nd in Custer State Park in South Dakota’s Black Hills. Now, back in Austin almost two months later, this ring of trees near boulders strikes me as Pinehenge. And maybe I’m a bit unhinged, but when it comes to the more contrasty view below from Mt. Rushmore three days earlier that also included pine trees and boulders, I’m inclined to call it Shadowscragglehenge.

Now surely, I thought to myself, that’s a unique name. And guess what? Google the Omniscient agrees:

Your search – Shadowscragglehenge – did not match any documents.

Suggestions:

Make sure all words are spelled correctly.

Try different keywords.

Try more general keywords.

Hooray for uniquity!

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 30, 2017 at 5:02 AM

Death camas

with 8 comments

On May 29th atop Scott’s Bluff National Monument in Nebraska I found no shortage of Zigandenus venenosus flowers. You can recognize that the scientific species name means ‘poisonous.’ The common name death camas is no exaggeration, as people have died from eating the various species of this pretty wildflower. And speaking of the genus Zigadenus, a few of you may remember that I belatedly showed an Austin species back in 2015.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 29, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Spearfish Canyon

with 24 comments

Heading back to Rapid City from Devil’s Tower on the afternoon of June 1st, we turned off Interstate 90 and followed the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway into the Black Hills. How about those clouds above the cliffs? And how about Bridal Veil Falls along the same route?

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 28, 2017 at 4:51 AM

More from the Badlands

with 30 comments

You didn’t think I’d go to South Dakota’s Badlands, spend seven hours there on May 31st, and dedicate only one post to it, did you? Of course not.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 27, 2017 at 4:58 AM

And here’s a look at those Maximilian sunflowers in their own right

with 40 comments

 

Behold some Helianthus maximiliani along the North Walnut Creek Trail on July 24th. A couple of nearby Maximilian sunflower flower heads played the role of the golden glow behind the bluebell in yesterday’s portrait. I’ll repeat what I mentioned in a comment: I’d already found some Maximilian sunflowers blossoming along this trail on June 21st, a good two months before even the earliest part of their traditional bloom period. Let me add that last year in my neighborhood I found one of these plants flowering on May 5th. Regardless of the season, Maximilian sunflowers always strike me as cheerful.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 26, 2017 at 4:53 AM

What I found yesterday

with 28 comments

 

Went walking yesterday morning along the North Walnut Creek Trail to see if any bluebells (Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum) had come up where I’d found them last year. Sure enough, a few had, and they were adjacent to some Maximilian sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani). If you know those sunflowers, you may be surprised at how early they’re blooming. Prepare to be more surprised when I tell you I found some already flowering along this trail on June 21st, a good two months before even the earliest part of their traditional bloom period.

© Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 25, 2017 at 4:55 AM

More resemblances from Mt. Rushmore

with 17 comments

In a post a couple of weeks ago you saw the naturally sculpted remains of a tree that had resonances of the carved rocks at Mt. Rushmore. Elsewhere at the national monument the resemblance went the other way. As I see it, this photograph of rocks could be a close-up of a tree trunk:

In the pareidolia department, does this other formation seem to any of you, as it does to me, like the blunted image of a face?

And in the back-to-reality department, notice the two sapling pine trees growing out of the rocks, one on each side of the “head” (the sapling on the right is hard to see at this size).

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 24, 2017 at 4:55 AM

A wasp dragging a spider

with 29 comments

Along the Muir Lake Trail in Cedar Park on July 3rd I noticed a colorful and energetic wasp dragging a spider that it had immobilized. When I stepped closer to try to take a photograph the wasp went away, but I took a stance at a medium distance from the spider and waited for the wasp to return. It came and went several times, continuing with its task each time, and I managed to get some sharply focused pictures in spite of the frequent movement.

UPDATE: Thanks to John S. Ascher at BugGuide.net, I can now say this predator appears to be Tachypompilus ferrugineus, known as the rusty spider wasp, red-tailed spider hunter, or red-tailed spider wasp.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 23, 2017 at 4:45 AM

Western wild rose

with 9 comments

How about this flower I found on a western wild rose bush (Rosa woodsii) near the top of Scott’s Bluff National Monument in far western Nebraska on May 29th?

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 22, 2017 at 4:51 AM

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: