Waiting for Nicholas

That wonderful tropical sky

Newly arrived in hurricane country, it took time for me to recognize one of the quirkier realities of life on the Texas coast. Prior to a tropical system’s arrival, the weather often is glorious. Good weather provides time to slap plywood on windows or make a final trip for supplies; while it may tempt the unwary into a false sense of security, it gives the already-prepared a bit of breathing room ahead of the storm.

Yesterday was a day to breathe: not only to breathe in the color-rich sunrise and sunset, but also to delight in a blue-sky day arching above the treasures of the beach.

Beach morning glory (Ipomoea imperati)
A Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) enjoying the surf
A Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus) sipping from Beach Tea (Croton punctatus)
Washed up ~ perhaps soon to be washed out

Now, the rain bands have arrived, while offshore winds and wave heights are increasing.  It’s time to pause, to go inside, and wait to see what will be left in Nicholas’s wake.

Comments always are welcome.

No Brook, but a Brookweed

The distribution of this tiny flower  — Limewater Brookweed, known scientifically as Samolus ebracteatus — is interesting. It can be found in every Texas coastal county save one, but after skipping a good bit of territory, it also appears in central Texas and the hill country before making its way west into a bit of New Mexico, where it’s sometimes known as Mojave Water Pimpernel.

The plant’s willingness to grow near springs and intermittent rivers in desert areas, as well as in the wetlands and salt marshes of coastal Texas, makes clear that Brookweed doesn’t require a brook in order to thrive.

Its flowers, measuring no more than a quarter-inch to a half-inch wide, appear on short stalks arrayed along a long wand. They mature from the base upward; as the season progresses, the plant continues to produce new blooms while fruits mature from the older flowers and release seeds.

The flowers of this in the Primulaceae (the Primrose family) attract the Southern Carpenter Bee, hoverflies, and butterflies. When I found this example at the Kelly Hamby Nature Trail in Brazoria County, other Brookweeds were being visited by an assortment of Sulphurs.

 

Comments always are welcome.