Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Now you don’t see it, now you do

with 39 comments

This sawtooth-edged plant is sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri). If you don’t see what else caught people’s attention at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on March 14th, you’re welcome to take more time looking. If you still don’t see it, or if you want more information about it, click to enlarge the explanation on the blackboard below.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 27, 2018 at 4:37 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , ,

39 Responses

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  1. What a fun shot! It’s like those “Kilroy was here” graffiti, with the head always peeking over a wall. Sawtooth or horns, looking a bit like a portrait of prickliness 🙂

    Robert Parker

    March 27, 2018 at 5:14 AM

    • That’s a great connection to make. I think only a small portion of people recognize what you’re referring to, and that portion must be rapidly diminishing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 27, 2018 at 7:10 AM

    • I see that the Australians beat the Americans to it by a quarter of a century:


      Steve Schwartzman

      March 27, 2018 at 9:46 AM

      • I’ll be darned, this is the first time I’ve heard of that. Well, I won’t be a Foo Fighter, that’s great.
        We’ll have to see, perhaps an Egyptologist blogger can find us some sgraffiti on a pyramid, with an ibis beak and “Thoth was here”
        On a related note, I was looking at photos one of my grandfathers took, during WWII, and looked up “Quonset hut,” thinking that was an American invention, but found it was a British invention during WWI, the “Nissen hut.”

        Robert Parker

        March 27, 2018 at 10:25 AM

        • If not a Foo Fighter, at least a partaker of Food for Thought, or for Thoth, to follow your clever suggestion.

          Like you, I once looked up the Quonset hut and learned that it was based on the Nissen hut. You’ve provided a second good example of one war copying from another. I wonder how many Quonset huts remain on Quonset Point:


          The Quonset hut reminds me that in New Zealand last year we spent a night in Lower Hutt. And yes, there’s also an Upper Hutt.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 27, 2018 at 10:50 AM

          • Upper, Lower, and a Jabba?
            I looked at Quonset Point on Google Earth and darned if I could see a single hut, they’ve obviously sold off a lot of the land for houses and businesses.

            Robert Parker

            March 27, 2018 at 11:01 AM

            • At https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lower_Hutt I confirmed that Hutt long precedes Star Wars, having been named in the 1800s for “the founding member, director and chairman of the New Zealand Company, Sir William Hutt.”

              I was surprised to learn that Lower Hutt is New Zealand’s seventh most populous city, with a population of 104,700. Adjacent Wellington, the country’s capital, has only about five times that many people.

              Steve Schwartzman

              March 27, 2018 at 5:14 PM

  2. “Here I am”
    How cute is he peering over the wall.


    March 27, 2018 at 5:47 AM

  3. What a wise choice; a lovely protected spot.


    March 27, 2018 at 5:58 AM

    • The staff of the Wildflower Center protects it too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 27, 2018 at 7:26 AM

      • My sister’s property is a nesting haven for a pair of curlews who come season after season to lay eggs and bring up their young. They know she does everything she can to protect them. There have been a few mishaps but not enough to deter them from coming back.


        March 27, 2018 at 5:06 PM

        • Have you or she posted anything about those curlews?

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 27, 2018 at 5:18 PM

          • Sadly no. And we haven’t really got any decent photos of them despite the many years they have been coming. Actually we think it is the same female but the original male partner vanished (died probably) and was replaced by a rather silly young male. He has since matured and is a better father than he used to be.


            March 27, 2018 at 5:28 PM

            • Then it’s not too late. Perhaps you can encourage your sister or someone else there to begin documenting the curlews.

              Steve Schwartzman

              March 27, 2018 at 5:50 PM

  4. I think it is notable that she chose a spiky plant to tuck her nest next to; it makes a nice statement! I had to laugh at her peek. Was the planter low or higher up?

    Dianne Lethcoe

    March 27, 2018 at 7:55 AM

    • The planter is up high, which is why you see only the upper half of the owl’s head. As a photographer I wanted a higher vantage point, but the Wildflower Center staff wasn’t about to let me haul in a ladder or get up on a nearby roof.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 27, 2018 at 8:07 AM

  5. Ha! Here’s looking at you! I also thought immediately of Kilroy.


    March 27, 2018 at 9:02 AM

  6. Wise old owl!


    March 27, 2018 at 10:03 PM

  7. Appears you were getting a bit of the “stink-eye” look!


    March 28, 2018 at 3:34 AM

    • Hmm. I’m not sure how you characterize the “stink-eye look.” I have the impression this was more of a sleepy-eye look.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 28, 2018 at 6:24 AM

      • It was the owl’s left eye that struck me as the “I’m keeping my EYE on you” type look. I guess we’ll never know!


        March 28, 2018 at 6:51 AM

  8. I didn’t know until the past year that owls will nest in boxes provided by humans. This one has found the equivalent of an up-scale box in a very desirable neighborhood; she certainly is well-protected, and your vantage point provided a charming photo.

    Your title tickled me. It’s a reminder of the basic dynamic of my time in nature. I go out blind, and come home having seen.


    March 28, 2018 at 8:08 AM

    • Your conclusion makes me think you find the post’s title not only ticklish but amazingly graceful.

      Yes, it’s quite an upscale box for an owl, perhaps the equivalent of a gated community for people.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 28, 2018 at 8:59 AM

  9. This is adorable, and you have also illuminated me. Up to now, I though that only the Burrowing Owl nested on the ground. Now I see that the Great Horned also does.


    March 28, 2018 at 9:50 AM

    • Happy enlightenment to us all. I know so little about birds that almost any information comes as news to me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 28, 2018 at 11:27 AM

  10. omg OWL!


    March 28, 2018 at 11:11 AM

  11. Crazy, and wonderful.


    April 10, 2018 at 1:24 PM

    • This owl family has become quite an attraction at the Wildflower Center. I just wish I could get a higher vantage point.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 10, 2018 at 8:33 PM

  12. […] Bubo virginianus. That’s the same species you caught a glimpse, and only a glimpse, of in a recent post. Here’s a closer look at one part of the […]

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