Saturday, November 22, 2014

Autumn Gold

Autumn carries more gold in its pocket 
than all the other seasons. 
~Jim Bishop~

Autumn is the perfect pause between the opposing extremes of summer and winter. And speaking of times and seasons, did you know the Divine Designer formed the human brain into two hemispheres, right and left, and it is only in the function of the left brain that we experience time?  The peaceful right brain lives only in the moment, while the busy left side chronologically connects each moment giving us a perception of past, present and future--the passage of time during which we participate in seasonal changes. What an abundance of beauty and variety presented to us by the Divine Designer when the same landscape is transformed from the vivid hues of spring and summer to the more subtle, jewel-tones of fall.

Autumn sometimes evokes a still melancholy, a golden spell that penetrates the soul as nature prepares for winter.  I hope you (and your right brain) enjoy living in the beauty of the moment as you scroll through these photos of Autumn Gold.  

As the foliage loses its freshness, there is still beauty to be found as Lotus Leaf water lily pads take on a supple posture and softer colors.  Notice the unique dark brown Lotus Leaf seed pod in the above photo and the sparkling bright blue of the water in the photo below.

Few sights in nature are more beautiful than the
 shimmering jewel-toned reflections of color on water

 And who can ignore the crimson blaze of color of leaves turning?

When there are few flowers left for the butterflies, they flock to the trees for nourishment from the sap. This Hackberry Emperor 
looks remarkably different with closed wings, 
blending into his environment

Pied-bill Grebes fitting in nicely with the multicolored light dancing on the water as they swim around the 
huge Lotus Leaf water lily pads

Super tiny Pearl Crescent is still able to find minuscule nectar flowers on the ground in the fall.

One of our walking trails.

A favorite lake of ours, showing it own autumn gold.  
The lake is featured in all the lake photos in this blog post. 

The other end of the lake reflecting the shoreline color
 as three Ruddy Ducks glide by.

Love the way the gold on the tree bark matches the butterfly.

More autumn reflections....

 Bluet Damselfly and Eastern Amberwing Dragonfly

This is obviously a great spot for sap....

Reflections of late afternoon sun.

Eastern Phoebe, a common sight in our neighborhood in the fall.
Both he and the spider's web are catching insects.

In north Texas, we aren't always guaranteed eye-catching, vivid colors of leaves turning, so it is memorable when it happens.

What Divine Design!  It's difficult to tell where the butterfly
 ends and the tree trunk begins.

Contrasting reflections..

The ducks love it here in this peaceful and safe environment.

Prairie Flame-leaf Sumac

Autumn Gold in all its glory!

More to reflect upon....

Saturday, November 8, 2014

On the Boardwalks


Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.
~Rachel Carson~

On the boardwalks and through the marshes, wetlands and bogs...some of the most fascinating Divine Designer habitats of wildlife and one of my favorite types of excursions. Preservation of these wetland wonderlands is a big deal, vital to the world's ecosystem.

A Green Heron, here in his multi-colored breeding plumage. They build stick nests in trees and can be found in marshes as well as other habitats.

Pickeral Weed is a common decoration in wetlands.

This dragonfly, the Roseate Skimmer, finds plenty of nourishment skimming over the water.  I have to say I was thrilled no less to discover a PINK dragonfly...really made my day! 

Here's a Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly and Familiar Bluet Damselfly sharing the same perch.  The blue damselfly is a few inches below the pink dragonfly.

This particular wetland usually appears arid in the summer.  
However, in the spring, it looks like this.

A Little Blue Heron foraging for nourishment.  It's a wonder he can see what's in the water under the carpet of green stuff.  Each piece of that green carpet is actually a tiny plant called Duckweed. It is one of the tiniest flowering plants in the world. 

An immature Little Blue Heron has white plumage. 
I love the reed's and the heron's reflection on the water.

Even when the water is murky with decomposition, 
beauty peeks through.  

This striking ProthonotaryWarbler was nesting in a stump sticking out of the water near the boardwalk of this wetland.  

A close up of the Prothonotary Warbler, in a different light.

Yellow-crowned Night-heron in gorgeous blue-grey high-breeding plumage. Loving his pink and blue leg...the other is hidden; they rest on one leg.  I know, it's hard to see the yellow crown.  It often appears white.

For many years wetlands across the nation were drained and the land used for houses, roads and businesses.  The relatively few remaining are now protected. Some have been restored.

Gliding through the woods surrounding this marsh was a spectacular Red-spotted Purple Butterfly.  We don't see them too often, so this was a real treat!

Ok, I know, the Common Snapping Turtle in the photo below isn't a beauty, but this one looks like he has been around for a very long time.  He appeared huge to me, but apparently they can weigh up to 75 lbs or more.  I think he deserves a nod.  He is one of God's creatures, after all.

Beautiful duo of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.  
They nest in tree cavities

Great Blue Heron, almost doesn't look real, does he?

Arrowhead Water Plant bringing variety to the wetlands.

     Notice the water lilys in the center of 
this magical setting:  close-ups to follow.

I'm fascinated by reflections of vegetation on the water.

Eastern Pondhawk male dragonfly

And at the end of the day....