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Not passing the buck

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White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianuslive in my northwestern part of Austin—or I in theirs, depending on your point of view. It’s common to see does, but bucks put in rarer appearances. While driving home on February 6th I decided to detour along Q Ranch Rd., where I’d seen deer in the woods on other occasions. Sure enough, I quickly spotted a group, and to my surprise all had antlers. After pulling over in the first available place I walked back and managed to get about a dozen pictures before the last of the deer had moved out of range.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 20, 2019 at 4:48 PM

Posted in nature photography

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What I’d actually stopped to photograph

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First one and then another recent post showed things I photographed along the northern end of Spicewood Springs Rd. on February 6th. What I’d actually stopped to take pictures of there is the possumhaw (Ilex decidua) that you see below. My intention on that overcast and drizzly morning was to make a rich but subdued portrait using a telephoto lens, and that’s what I did.

On the way home I checked out a creek in the northern part of my neighborhood. There I found a few more fruit-laden possumhaws and also noticed that some of the trees’ red drupes had fallen on the limestone creekbed. Here’s a downward view of one that ended up isolated on some subtly colored rocks.

Bright green mosses cushioned other fallen possumhaw drupes nearby.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 19, 2019 at 4:28 AM

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Fungi on a dead branch

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Adjacent to the blossoming Mexican plum tree you recently saw in a picture from February 6th were these fungi growing on a dead branch. Mycologist David Lewis says they’re probably in the genus Trametes.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 17, 2019 at 5:35 PM

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Time again to say that spring has sprung

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Yesterday morning’s weather forecast predicted that by afternoon the temperature would go above 80°F, so before it got too hot we went over to the Southwest Greenway at the Mueller development in east-central Austin, where we confirmed that spring had indeed arrived. One token of that was some agarita bushes (Mahonia trifoliolata) flowering away, as you see in a broad horizontal view above and in a closer upward view in the following photograph.

The Mueller development occupies the site of the old Austin airport that closed in 1999. It’s likely that at least some of the wispy clouds we saw yesterday coincidentally came from diffused airplane contrails, so I’ve decided to follow that theme and add a non-botanical photograph from the Southwest Greenway: it shows Chris Levack’s “Wigwam.” Six years ago I semi-broke botanical ranks and showed his adjacent “Pollen Grain” sculpture.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 16, 2019 at 4:44 AM

Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day in 2017 found us taking a long round trip from Paihia to two places even farther north in New Zealand. The first was the Te Paki dunes, where among the many pictures I took was one of cloud shadows moving across the sand.

Then we continued to the northernmost easily accessible point in the country, Cape Reinga. Below is a coastal view looking back south from there. The long leaves of the flax plants, Phormium tenax, point out (literally) which way the wind was blowing.

New Zealanders will have finished Valentine’s Day by now, so retroactive good wishes to you.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 14, 2019 at 11:31 AM

Falls and gulls

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Neither shortly after returning from our 2017 New Zealand trip nor during the one-year retrospective did I show you a picture of Haruru Falls in the Bay of Islands just minutes away from where we were staying in Paihia. Here, then, are a couple of photographs I took at the falls two years ago today. In the first picture, notice at least a dozen gulls in the background. I got much closer to one to make the second photograph.

But the most dynamic (because of wings being raised) portrait of a gull that day came from the Puheke Reserve on the Karikari Peninsula. The bird had been eating some of the little orange fruits you see close by it, and one second after I took this picture (thanks, metadata) it had spun 180° around to eat more.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 13, 2019 at 12:00 PM

Mexican plum blossoms

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On February 6th along the northern stretch of Spicewood Springs Rd. I photographed a few early blossoms on a Mexican plum tree (Prunus mexicana), which is also native in central Texas. This was the first flowering tree I saw in 2019; in fact it’s still the only one because overcast skies, cold, and drizzle have combined to keep me from going out much in nature this past week.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 12, 2019 at 4:30 AM

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