Dawn’s Curtain

Folds of a fading saltmarsh mallow draped across the morning sky

 

Now in the blessed days of more and less
when the news about time is that each day
there is less of it I know none of that
as I walk out through the early garden
only the day and I are here with no
before or after and the dew looks up
without a number or a present age
                                                   “Dew Light” ~ W.S.Merwin

 

Comments always are welcome. Click here for more information about the saltmarsh mallow (Kosteletzkya virginica).

 

Snowy Flurries

For some, changing colors on trees or shrubs provide a first hint of the coming fall. Here on the upper Texas coast, autumn arrives differently, flying in on the wings of migrating birds.

Teal arrive first, followed closely by peripatetic mallards. Last week, the calls of returning osprey began echoing across Galveston Bay. Yesterday I realized the swallows had flown away, but their space soon will be filled by an assortment of geese, raptors, and cranes.

A snowy egret (Egretta thula) shows off its ‘golden slippers’ as it prepares to land

While snowy egrets stay with us throughout the year, their numbers increase in the fall as birds return to their favored coastal marshes, inland mudflats, agricultural land, and drainage ditches.

Like the proverbial birds of a feather, they roost and nest together; last weekend I found a large flock hidden away along a canal in the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge.

Touching down

Sometimes referred to as ‘Golden Slippers’ because of their yellow feet, egrets also have yellow lores (the area between their bill and their eyes), which change to a deeper salmon or pinkish-orange during the breeding season.

Showing off, perhaps?

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, their plumes sold for nearly twice the cost of gold, and were used to decorate women’s hats. Inevitably, they were hunted nearly to extinction, but after the passage of laws meant to protect them, their numbers increased. Today, they’re a common sight: their golden slippers worth as much as any gold, and their developing plumes a hint of courtships to come.

 

Comments always are welcome. Click any image for a larger, more detailed view.

 

An Insufficiently Sneaky Snake

Surely snakes don’t eat water lilies. Do they?

Perhaps they do. The crisp, curled edge of the leaf the snake is sidling up to might be evidence of previous nibbling.

But, no. The sudden thrust of that serpentine tongue clearly is seeking a different kind of treat.
Whatever the prey, it escapes: a wingèd blur of disappointment to the hungry snake.

There’s no time to sulk. Somewhere, another morsel awaits.

As the snake submerges and ripples smooth, no record remains of the little pond drama — apart from these photos, of course.

 

Comments always are welcome.