Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘creek

Signs of autumn

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On October 22nd I went to a favorite area along the upper stretch of Bull Creek to see what changes several weeks of rain and our recent record cool weather had worked on the land. In the first picture below, notice how the young bald cypress tree (Taxodium distichum) at the creek’s edge was turning brown, as that species regularly does toward the end of the year. Also notice—as if you could miss it—the way the upper part of the dead tree trunk had almost completely changed direction but still hadn’t fallen.

When I walked around and got close to the bald cypress tree, I found a native vine growing on it that I don’t remember ever having seen before: Smilax tamnoides (formerly S. hispida) known as bristly greenbrier and, imaginatively, hellfetter. Close to it I also noticed a “regular” greenbrier vine, Smilax bona-nox, which is very common in central Texas, so common that I almost never go walking in the woods without seeing one (and even having its thorns grab onto my clothing). Happy new species for me, and probably now also for thee.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 26, 2018 at 4:48 AM

No flowers, buds, plants, grasses, trees, seeds, or bugs

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Bubbles at Base of Small Waterfall in Creek 7986

Doesn’t this flowing water at the base of a small waterfall in Great Hills Park on July 18, 2014, look like ice?

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 18, 2018 at 4:43 AM

Red Rock Canyon

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On August 28th we entered Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park and checked out Red Rock Canyon.

Red Rock’s red rocks rock! Graceful grades of gray greatly enhance the red.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 6, 2017 at 7:45 PM

Blue Hole

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Yesterday we spent a pleasant seven hours visiting with our friends the Smiths in Wimberley, a town in the Texas Hill Country about 45 miles southwest of our home in Austin. The picture shows a part of Cypress Creek called Blue Hole. The large trees are bald cypresses, Taxodium distichum.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 22, 2017 at 8:30 AM

Johnston Canyon

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Here from September 9th are three views of Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.

Notice that not only lakes in the Canadian Rockies but also creeks there can look turquoise or aquamarine, thanks to minerals dissolved in the water. The color is even more noticeable in the pool at the Lower Falls.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 21, 2017 at 4:49 AM

Like a green snake in the water

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The sinuous algae you see here looked to me on July 25th, and still today, like a green snake in the water of Bull Creek. Notice the tiny aquatic insects. The leaf may be from a cedar elm tree (Ulmus crassifolia).

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 15, 2017 at 4:37 AM

Strange white stuff

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Finding sycamore trees (Platanus occidentalis) along creeks in Austin is commonplace. When I looked at this sycamore leaf along Bull Creek on July 25th I saw something I’d noticed once before, years earlier, but had never tracked down. Val Bugh came to the rescue this time: “the white stuff is a secretion that a female dobsonfly uses to cover her egg masses. Makes them look like bird droppings. The leaf should be over water so the hatchling hellgrammites will drop in.”

Me, I can’t help thinking the Hellgrammites were once a religious sect of the fire-and-brimstone type. In fact the American Heritage Dictionary says that the first part of the word probably is indeed hell, based on the insect’s painful bite. And we remember the old adage that hell hath no fury like a female dobsonfly scorned.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 3, 2017 at 4:40 AM

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