Friday, April 28, 2006

Nature Snooping

As you can see, the weather has been optimum for nature snooping:

sunray fence SC

I took that photo from behind a hotel in State College. It's sad how the natural world has been forced to recede into pockets of green, ever surrounded by the towns and cities we build on to. This scene was especially beautiful, because there was a lush meadow behind the buildings, and a stream full of Mallard ducks to add to the scenery.

mallards SC

From a distance, the scene was spectacular, with a dramatic late afternoon sun blazing in the crisp air. However, upon examining the water, I saw no fish, nor did I notice a single mayfly. My assumption is that there are invisible chemicals, and human drainage that have caused the waters to be devoid of most life.

I didn't let that stop me though, I gathered quite a few photos around the hotel, including more of the April flora that I'm so fond of.

yellow tulips 2

After awhile of poking around on the hotel property, my friends mom and I retired to the hotel to catch Nancy Grace and American Idol.

Today, I opted to go to the park, do some sketches, and take some photos (yet again). I'm addicted to taking pictures. It all ties together, because these photos can be used for reference in my art, or hell, even made into prints from Flickr if I so desire.

Here we have a familiar eastern spring flower called "Colt's Foot".



Colt's Foot is a splendid little flower who adds sparks of yellow to the leafy litter of the central Pennsylvanian forest floors at this time of year. As the sun warms the leaf litter in April, they burst from under the leaves like a sun-fed serpent, with curving necks, and brilliant yellow hair-like pedals.

After leaving the woodlot, I came to the stone wall that borders the clear stream that feeds reservoir pond. I noticed plants growing out of the face of the wall, having sprouted from dirt in the cracks and crevaces of it. As always, I had to take some pictures.


Can anyone identify this flower? Whatever it is, I wanted a shot of it as it precariously hangs over the babbling stream.

Also in the wall:


It's easy to see why I love April so much.

In other news, I noticed more ducks at the pond today. There was a group of drake (male) mallards, on the distant side of the pond, aside from the usual domestics. I also took note that 3 females were missing, probably due to the nesting season. (Lord knows the ducks have done plenty of mating since March!)

Then, tucked behind a small building where the trout rodeo is held, I noticed something:


Will they survive? The odds are not good.

These particular eggs are tucked between the back wall and chimney extension on the back of a small building overlooking the pond. I'm sure marauding racoons, opposums, and children will make rearing them into ducklings a huge burden on the mother, especially given the upcoming trout rodeo.

Whatever the scenario, I threw some extra leaf litter on the eggs to hide them from the eyes of nest crashers, and headed off to encourage the missing hen (female) to return to the nest.

I'll return another day.