Monday, May 27, 2013

Jay and Dad's Epic Afternoon in Pictures

On a picture perfect Sunday afternoon in May, with Hunter and Mom well on their way to Washington for the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Jay and Dad decide to give the new camera a whirl with a leisurely drive through the countryside. Here's a bit of the journey through Jay's eyes...

The city limits are still ahead when this young white tailed buck strolls across our path.

Just outside of town, exposed strata of ancient sediments remind us that our little corner of the world has been here for a good bit longer than we... just like the azure skies above.

The quiet byway beckons, and the roadside is alive with wildflowers. Redring or variegated  milkweed (asclepias variegata) blossoms just unfurling...

A swarm of Marshallia sp., Barbara's buttons, rise like a barrage of miniature snowballs launched by mischievous sprites hidden in the lush greenery of the ditchbank.

Sulphur cinquefoil, with its delicate yellow blossoms; a noxious weed to some, an afternoon delight for the foraging goldfinches...

Ox-eye daises catch our eyes, by far the dominant bloomer on this stretch of the trip.

Lavendar trumpets ring the spires of these nectar-laden lovelies, one of the 250 or so species of beardtongue or penstemon native to the U.S., as the bees attend.

Fantastic ferns.

Not exactly birds of a feather, this black vulture and turkey vulture seem content to share their perch while soaking up the sun's late May rays.

Startled, they take to the safety of the skies...

A bit less graceful than its already soaring kin, black vulture lurches into the dark side of the frame.

Elsewhere, the sun's golden rays, absorbed, intense, abundant...

Reflected, observed, recorded...No shortage of gold on today's journey.
Packera sp., one of the many small golden asters commonly referred to as ragwort or groundsel.

Goat's rue, Tephrosia virginiana, a ubiquitous Carolina legume with showy bi-colored sweetpea-like blossoms. Traditionally used as a dietary supplement to increase goats' milk production.

New leaves unfolding under those omnipresent rays of the sun...

Two dozen dainty dancing orbs, gaily gilt by the sun, rays extending, mesmerizing...

At a crossroads, the travelers turn to the west, following the sun...

 and encounter a Glendonia bottlebush, unique to this location.

Bottlebush closeup; bluebottle blossom, not to be confused with the bluebottle fly, a much less rare denizen of these parts.

Even the water's abloom on this glorious afternoon.

More animals afoot as well, as these Canada geese forage among the roadside weeds with the little ones.

Beyond these weeds looms a sun-dappled herd of weedeaters...

It's becoming a rue-full afternoon; first goat's rue, now meadow rue.

Wild swamp roses, blushing 'neath our gaze.

Mud turtle makes a mad and dusty dash from ditch to ditch.

False indigo bush, Amorpha fruticosa, also know as indigo bush; go figure.

False or not, this native member of the pea family has a spectacular presence, and has been banned from some northeastern states because of its invasive nature.

Eastern cottontail absorbed in its clover, oblivious to our approach.

Eastern fox squirrel, North America's largest native tree squirrel, notes our passing.

Like Jay and Dad, fox squirrel is a diurnal creature. As the sun draws close to the horizon, he heads for home. 

Jay and Dad do the same.

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