Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dry as a bone but beautiful

I needed to get out of the house. James wanted to go artifact hunting. We agreed to make a day of it and hike the Blanco River east of town. With the ongoing drought, the river has gone dry in most places, which is great if you're into treasure hunting. Like James. Not so great if you're part of the natural habitat there. Like white-tailed deer and birds.

Along the way, I shot some photos of plants in the riverbed going to seed....

A few pockets of water still survive. Lower temperatures in winter months
slow evaporation, I guess.

I found this plant, blooming with yellow flowers. Gotta figure out what it is. A few butterflies flitted by and landed on the blooms. So did a ladybug I photographed and posted here. Speaking of butterflies, I saw several different species, including sulphurs, Gulf fritillary, and maybe a red admiral. In the middle of January!

Sad, eh? No water to be seen.

Still, rock formations left exposed are absolutely stunning.

At one large pond left within the river, I spotted these tracks. Probably raccoon.

Further "downstream," I found a clump of fur on the rocks, attached to a large burr (see it?). A white streak means it likely once belonged to a local skunk. I didn't do the sniff test.

James found this backbone. Maybe a former catfish?

Tenacious grasses find homes in holes etched within limestone rocks. Amazing.

Throughout our trek, James kept his head down mostly, eyes peeled for arrowheads and blanks. While he searched, I looked around and listened, too. We saw a hawk, maybe a red-tailed? Heard it, too,when it landed in a far-off tree. Several dove flew out of brambles along the river bank as I approached. I heard cardinals and a woodpecker. Later I heard, then spotted, some wrens. Above us, black vultures soared high against the blue sky.

It was so very sad to see the Blanco River not a river. Yet I know the rains will return.
The white limestone rocks will disappear and once again be covered with water. Flowing water. That's the cycle of nature. Of life. Wildlife will survive and return. Even
the minnows and catfish will come back. Somehow. Someday.

They always do.


David said...

Wow. Does the riverlook like thisin the state park right now?

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

No. In the state park, three dams keep plenty of water for canoeing, fishing, etc. There's also a fourth dam further upstream.

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