When the World Goes to the Birds

Lafitte’s Cove ~ Galveston Island

With tourists being encouraged to leave the Island, weekenders staying in town, and full-time residents of Galveston’s west end more-or-less sequestered in their homes, much of the Island’s bird population continues to wander at will. 

Here, a pair of white ibis (Eudocimus albus) forage in a traffic median at the entrance to the Lafitte’s Cove subdivision. My hunch is that the new mulch around the plantings is filled with good things to eat, and this pair decided to visit the buffet. Notice that while the bird on the left is wide-eyed, the one on the right has closed it’s ‘third eyelid,’ a nictitating membrane (from Latin nictare, to blink), that helps to protect the eyes of birds, as well as various reptiles, mammals, and fishes. Wise bird, with all those thorns around.

 

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Marking the First Day of Spring

Monthalia, Texas ~ Spring, 2019

Nothing says ‘spring’ in Texas like our bluebonnets, and they’ve been celebrating the turn toward this new season for some time. While everyone loves to see them overspreading the fields, it’s fun to find them hanging out with their friends as well. At the Rockport cemetery on March 7, several delightful pairings presented themselves.

Tucked among the Indian blankets (Gaillardia pulchella)
Backed by pink phlox (Phlox spp.)
Paired with woolly globe mallow (Sphaeralcea lindeimeri)
Complementing my favorite white prickly poppy (Argemone albiflora)

 

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The Hand of a Hidden Gardener

Narcissus, backed by bluebonnets and coreopsis – Rockport City Cemetery

Wildflowers are the primary spring attraction at the Rockport City Cemetery, but there can be surprises.

Any non-wild flowers there usually are non-living as well: made of plastic or silk. This year, a few non-native but entirely alive flowers suggested the work of a human hand. They added a different kind of beauty to the scene, and may have been planted in memory of a family member or friend who was especially fond of them.

Bud of Leucojum aestivum, or summer snowflake

I was delighted to find examples of Leucojum aestivum, the so-called summer snowflake. I’ve often seen photos of the flower from England or our northeastern states, but until this trip, I’d seen only one actual flower: an apparent escapee from a garden at a nearby historic plantation.

The small, graceful flowers are delightful. I was especially taken with the shape of the stamens, which looked to me like bits of tubular pasta. The flowers are pollinated by bees, and a closer look at the pollen scattered about on the inside of this flower suggests that it’s been visited by at least one very busy bee.

A little online exploration revealed that these plants will naturalize very well in parts of our state. If we can’t have snow, at least we can have snowflakes.

 

Comments always are welcome..
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For a great look at snowdrops, see this post from Pete Hillman.