Thursday, June 22, 2006

Nature Snooping

The air outside was breezeless. It was muggy, hot, and the air felt thick with humidity as I grabbed my camera, slipped on my flip flops, and went for a little nature jaunt.

One of the primary reasons I opted to get out and go nature snooping today was because I've been suffering from anxiety and depression moreso lately than I have in awhile, and nature-snooping seems to be the only remedy. I come from the frame of mind that says taking meds with the sole purpose to alter one's mood is for the chickens. I'm no chicken. I think some people are just SUPPOSED to be more anxious and depressed, and while in some cases it must be supressed, I will only use medicine as a last resort. Afterall, some of my most inspired and creative moments are influenced by a spell of depression.

When it comes to ADD (which I was diagnosed with in 3rd grade), I feel much the same way. Medicating your child is ridiculous (unless it's an extreme case). I've heard of some kids taking medicine for ADD and ADHD just lathargically laying around, depressed by the chemical programming of whatever it is their school teachers requested they be put on. Unfortunately, some parents are all too willing to follow the order, thinking something is TRULY wrong with their child, when in fact, being hyper and or day dreaming is just part of their personality.

In both cases discussed above however, there are always exceptions. Some people need medicated, and when their disorders cause health and life changing issues, then it's time to look at medicating.

To hell with pills...give me a camera, a pencil, and a sketchpad!

The second reason I opted to go for a walk today was because of this pretty little yellow flower I found down the avenue that runs alongside my home.

yellow flowers

I first noticed these rather interesting flowers on my way to work. Having sprouted in a small group along the edge of the road, I wondered how they got there. I'd never seen them before in the summer, but then again...maybe I just didn't notice?

Later in my walk, about 300 yards from this point I found a circular garden FILLED with these beauties. I'd almost wondered if some bird had picked a few of the seeds off the ground, flew over by my house and deficated the seeds on the ground in location 2. It's a double wammy really. Not only are the seeds passed, but fertilized!!

I suppose in the world of nature, anything's possible. I'm still puzzled as to what kind of flower it is, and whether it's wild or ornamental.

After seeing the yellow flowers, I started walking along the small stream that runs through the neighborhood. Some sections of the stream are altered by stone wall, so as not to erode the street.

Dry Run

Many of my childhood days were spent in this particular stream with the neighborhood kids. We'd catch crawfish, and go fishing at the small waterfall upstream.

As I walked along the length of one of the stone walls, clusters of daisy flebane had grown into arrogantly tall plants, unscathed by mower or weedwacker!

Daisy Flebane

Daisy Flebane

I've covered the alleged "flea repelling" history of this wildflower in past entries, but I've found out myself that they are a haven for small insects and crab spiders.

Also growing along the stream in large bushels, was this plant:


I've yet to identify it, but it added some spark to the stream edge.

I continued walking, and after a few paces I noticed a male American Robin peckering around in the tree canopy. Though he didn't pose for a photo, I did manage to get a photo of what he was eating.




The robin was brave for awhile, allowing me to get really close to him. Unfortunately, he was screened by maple leaves, making good photo impossible, so I kept on moving up the alley, where I found this beauty:

purple flower

Well, yet again I'm without an ID on the plant, but it sure is pretty to look at! These tiny little beauts were only a hop skip and a jump away from a major roadway.

In fact, the same goes for all the plants in todays entry. I don't live in "town" but I live in a neighborhood, not too far from a High School. There are major roads all around me, but I'm lucky enough to have a nice woodlot behind me, and beautiful flora scattered around the neighborhood.

Along the alley, I also discovered the growing fruits of the Black Walnut. (The tree depicted in my Blue Jay drawing.)

Black Walnut

These little things smell so good, and will triple in size by summers end. The black meat inside will stain your skin, so be cautioned if you want to make black walnut cookies this year.

On a dirtmound back the alley, some Ox-eye Daisy caught me eye.

Ox-eye Daisy

Standing tall and proud, I was tempted to see if he loves me, or if he loves me not...but that said, my crush "Wahlberg 2.0" is now on heroin, so I don't want him to love me!! Ick!

Notice the purple variety of Daisy Flebane creeping from behind in the above picture, and the phlox in the one below.

Ox-eye Daisy

I walked a good ways (flip flops are NOT good nature snooping shoes, but my feet could use a tan) up some alleys, and stumbled upon another small woodlot, where beams of sunlight seemed to kiss the lush vegitation in the understory.

woodlot 2


I seem to have myself sort of confused on the flower you see above. I keep calling it phlox, and undoubtedly, it looks like phlox, but is it? The leafing is different, like jagged hearts (look near the base of the stem on this picture), and there are strips of white in the petals.

What gives? It seems I've been calling a couple different flowers phlox, and I'm only right half of the time!


To make matters worse, I'm now seeing "phlox" that isn't purple, but rather, WHITE!!!




Evidently the color varieties hybridize. I'm not sure. I really need to get one field guide for wildflowers!!

Disgruntled by my confusion, I trekked on, taking notice of a cottontail rabbit who darted through the vegitation like an arrow as soon as he heard the snap of my flip flops.

After a few minutes of walking, I finally came upon Reservoir Park, a park I often visit, and write about. The last time I visited was around late April, when I found a nest of eggs. Unfortunately, those eggs are gone, and there are no babies to be found. Death has most likely fallen upon the nest by marauding children, or hungry opossoms and racoons. It's hard to say what really happened.


As I walked along the pond edge, litter was everywhere. The pond water smelled unfresh, and the bottom was covered in a furry glaze of settled silt. There wasn't even a hint of a trout, other than an upturned white belly laying in one of the trenches of the pond.



I noticed a male blue-gill aggressively guarding his redd (nest), and right beside him was half a piece of metal pliers.


He didn't seem to mind, but I did. Why wouldn't someone pick that up?

Just when I thought I'd reached a level of ultimate disgust with the pond, I noticed a teenager and his buddy poking around the corner of the pond where the stream runs into it.

Reservoir Park

Take a close look and you will see small bright green shrubs on one side of the wall. In that shrub, Miss Mocha a brown mixed breed and flightless duck has made a nest.

I watched with absolute disbelief as I watched one of the kids CHASE her off her nest, and prod around the bush (which is on someone's property), likely destroying, collecting, or dishoveling the eggs!

Why else would he be thrashing around in the shrub with the nest?

I noticed that as I watched, glaring, his friend made a quick departure up through the park, leaving his pesky friend to finnish off the dirty work.

I buttoned my mouth. I sat on the bench, biting my tounge in the name of uncertainty, for I wasn't POSITIVE that's what he did. I couldn't check the nest, because it lays on someone's property, and least of all did I want to be caught snooping around a nest of crushed duck eggs! With my luck, someone would have caught me and laid the blame on me!

Poor Miss Mocha ran from the kid (obviously in his mid teens), quacking in distress as he TRIED to catch her.

All she could do was watch him meander and thrash about the nest from a safe distance.

Ms. Mocha

That's Miss Mocha by the way. Poor girl.

I don't understand why some people have to be so destructive! WHY!?!?