Thursday, October 07, 2010

Blue Skies

Although I spent a three-day weekend at Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, not once did I get to walk on a trail, or enjoy nature's fall gifts. Tavia called while I drove to Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve for my regular Tuesday shift. "We need some new photos of the trails. Would you be able to get some this morning while the light is good?" she asked. She may have thought she was giving me a work assignment, but it was really soul food!
Doctors tell you to get exercise, but if all you want is to burn calories, you can get on the elliptical at the YMCA and watch TV while you sweat. Only one spring fed creek has any water, so it is very important to all the wildlife in the area.
Walking under the cobalt blue, cornflower blue, cyan, electric blue, indigo, lapis lazuli, Prussian blue, royal blue, sapphire, saxe blue, sky blue sky lifts your spirit as well as your heart rate.
All the plants that I watched bloom last spring now have fruit and berries. This crab apple was planted by people. It would take an awful lot of these tiny apples to make jelly, but the birds love them.
Invasive plants such as this multiflora rose bear attractive rose hips, and again the birds like to eat them and spread them around. It's no wonder we have trouble trying to control invasives.
Porcelain vine completely covers and smothers any plant it uses for support. At the county park headquarters you couldn't even tell what kind of tree or bush should have been visible for all the porcelain vine. The berries are attractive ranging from white to blue to purple, but you don't want them growing in your garden. Poison ivy is a native plant at least. Tavia told a story about some folks who moved to Kentucky from a location that has no poison ivy, and they made door wreaths from the autumn leaves and berries. Well, they'll never try that again!
Poke berries never give up. You will find flowers at the tip of the stem which also has the dark purple berries.
The birds are chowing down on any berries they find. This Lincoln's Sparrow is one of the best finds for me this autumn!
He perched on a branch in the sun watching me while I stooped over to take his picture.
Cardinals not only cheep to tell you where they are, they grin while you take their pictures. So many of the migrating birds are busy chasing little insects, and there's no time to focus before they fly off.
A Black and White Warbler slowed down just enough to pose before darting off for a bug on the bark.
I didn't see the Red Shouldered Hawk that lives at the Preserve, but the Black Vultures circled serenely. I think they do it because flying is just fun!
Not all trees turn bright colors in the fall. This fall, very few of them will do so since it's been so dry. But see how this beech tree is losing green between the veins of the leaves. When the green is gone they will be yellow before falling to the ground to crunch under the feet of other people out for some Soul Food.

1 comment:

Wilma said...

Looking at your photos is almost as good as being on the trails in person!