Wild Summer: Creeks and Creatures

The creek ripples and reflects in May

The creek ripples and reflects in May

Even the easiest path to the stream is over rugged, uneven ground. The forest floor is covered with heaps of fallen leaves and detritus, making it difficult to know where the best footing is.

A Blue Dasher Dragonfly takes a break in the big leaves

A Blue Dasher Dragonfly takes a break in the big leaves

The Blue Dasher cuts a dashing figure up there

The Blue Dasher cuts a dashing figure up there

The Blue Dasher is also called the Blue Pirate. They hang out here all summer in twos and threes at times. They glide around, perching often. I flushed one out of the undergrowth today, just by walking beside its hiding place. There was a sudden buzz and clatter and a sensation of dragonfly-sized movement zooming right by me. When in motion, dragonflies zip around fast, like peripheral visions. When they light on a branch, they will sit still while I slowly approach with a camera, rather than fly away instantly. Maybe we are becoming pals, of sorts.

Some choppy currents flowing by the opposite bank

Some choppy currents flowing by the opposite bank

Sky, trees, and water are seen dazzling together, thanks to the sun

Sky, trees, and water are seen dazzling together, thanks to the sun

We walk along reddish banks to the places where the currents mix up the light into the kind of scenes that the Impressionists captured in paint. For photos from April 2013 and a creek-inspired water essay, click here: http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/tributary-becoming-green-warriors-of-the-red-earth-country/

The Black-Winged Damselfly aka Ebony Jewelwing

The Black-Winged Damselfly aka Ebony Jewelwing

The Damselfly flexes her wings

The Damselfly flexes her wings

This bug stayed around most of July; I only saw one at a time. I just love the metallic teal green color. The body always looked all bright green to me., but the camera sees things differently. There are quite a few photos that show the purple sheen at the end of the abdomen. It may be the way the camera’s color sensitivity balance is set, or it may just be part of nature’s hue complexity. I only ever saw the white-spotted ones, which according to the nature guides, are female, and more subdued in color, but they always look neon-bright to me. For more discussion about natural world color, see this link: http://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/black-cats-in-sun-and-shade-a-painters-eye-view/

Opening and closing the wings is a communication between males and females, signaling location.

Orange Bluet Dragonfly

Orange Bluet Damselfly

Familiar Bluet Dragonfly on plastic

Familiar Bluet Damselfly on plastic

These damselflies are called bluets and as you’d imagine, they are mostly blue in color. We see them often. The blue one went and lit on some plastic, the contrary little bug! Not a natural setting, but those were the only sightings I had this year, so here it is. The yellow-orange one did a bit better, choosing the wood-grained board. The color surprised me. For awhile I couldn’t identify it, but its patterning looked so much like the blue damsels I see so often, that I finally typed in “Orange Bluet” and Voila! I’m much more familiar with the commonplace Familiar Bluet.

Late afternoon light

Late afternoon light

A tributary, creek beauty in miniature

A tributary, creek beauty in miniature

The sun's brilliance translated into blues, greens, golds, and shadows . . .

The sun’s brilliance translated into blues, greens, golds, and shadows . . .

I haven’t actually been down to the creek much for awhile. I miss that! There’s a carpet of poison ivy on all paths, ticks are bouncing in all directions, and snake appearances are a good bet.

It's a Rat Snake, it really, really is . . .

It’s a Rat Snake, it really, really is . . .

Does that snake see me?

Does that snake see me?

In fact, this one was in the road; it stopped me in my tracks. I know! Crazy, huh, going to grab the camera and heading back out there, but in my defense, LOL, I used the zoom lens to get the pictures. Rat snakes are beneficial and they are usually willing to pose for a few snapshots; after that, they are always allowed to continue about their business of rodent control.

Snakes just love places like this!

Snakes just love places like this!

Toad!

Toad!

I do like the toads much better! This place used to be hopping with them, but now we rarely see one.

American Beauty Berries in bloom

American Beauty Berries in bloom

The American Beauty Berry flowers have now fallen away, and the berries are starting out small, and yellow-green.

Surrounded by chlorophyll

Surrounded by chlorophyll

Coming, not so soon, autumn. Leaves fall as late as November, down my way. Nevertheless, in August the light changes here. The bright areas become more golden, and details are more defined; the dark areas become deeper. It brings on something we call “that awful autumn feeling” – a profound and unspecified longing. We shouldn’t complain – we might could have two, even three more months of warm weather. But that doesn’t change the calendar, or the fact that all that golden light is going to one day smack us in the face, gathered, intensified, and thrown back at us by the harvest moon. Neither can we change the tilt and whirl of the planet, which changes the light and brings winter, eventually. It’s a good thing actually, that we can’t! But I’m not so fond of winter. The summer has been oddly cool, though. The week that Siberia was hitting 90F, we were only in the high 80’s! We’ll have good dense foliage for awhile yet, we’ll stay leafy, green, buggy, and warm. ¬†We seem to live in Viridian, Alabama, most of the year.

About these ads

About Catwoods

I'm a writer fascinated by the natural world and animals, especially cats.
This entry was posted in Nature and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Wild Summer: Creeks and Creatures

  1. Pingback: Summer Sun on the Creek; Bugs, a Lizard, Cats, More | Catwoods Porch Party

  2. Pingback: Autumn, Creekside | Catwoods Porch Party

  3. ginnietom says:

    like tiny helicopter…not from mr. Wladimir Putin…wishing some peaceful days…hope it stays that way…
    werner

  4. ginnietom says:

    strange dragons…beautiful

  5. thank you for visiting my blog. we in the deep south have an amazing place to try and understand and describe. your posts are so full of many thoughts simultaneously!

  6. Pingback: Purple October, Green Halloween (?) | Catwoods Porch Party

  7. greenpete58 says:

    Thanks for liking my blog post. I think your photos are beautiful.

  8. Catwoods says:

    Thank you so much! Although the camera does most of the work for me. I’ll be sure to look for your dragonfly pictures.

  9. A.D. Everard says:

    What wonderful photos! I got some nice ones of golden dragonflies in the NT (Australia), but they are not in the crisp focus you have. I wasn’t sure if I should put them up for show or not, although I suspect I will.

    Great close-up of the snake, too. You are brilliant with your camera! Cheers! :)

  10. Fizzy says:

    Beautiful images and beautiful words, catwoods. I get such a sense of serenity when I’m here with you.

  11. Chris Nichols says:

    I really enjoy your photos and descriptions!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s