Saturday, June 08, 2024

Pic(k) of the Week: Creek chiaroscuro

Creek chiaroscuro
Creek chiaroscuro.
Suburban wilding.
Look and listen.

Rapids on Burnt Fork Creek in Mason Mill Park: DeKalb County, Georgia, USA. 21 May 2024.



Saturday, June 01, 2024

Pic(k) of the Week: Stay in your lane, buddy!

Stay in your lane, buddy! An eastern box turtle on the trail (literally).

Three Creeks Trail in Ira B. Melton Park: DeKalb County, Georgia, USA. 21 May 2024.

Terrapene carolina carolina — commonly known as the the eastern box turtle— is native to the eastern United States. It is a subspecies within a group of hinge-shelled turtles normally called box turtles. While in the pond turtle family, Emydidae, and not a tortoise, the box turtle is largely terrestrial.

Eastern box turtles have a high, domelike carapace [upper body shell] which is normally brownish or black and accompanied by a yellowish or orangish radiating pattern of lines, spots, or blotches. Skin coloration, like that of the shell, is variable but is usually brown or black with some yellow, orange, red, or white spots or streaks. This coloration closely mimics that of the winter leaf of the tulip poplar tree.

Box turtles are slow crawlers, extremely long-lived, slow to mature, and have relatively few offspring per year. These characteristics, along with a propensity to get hit by cars and agricultural machinery, make all box turtle species particularly susceptible to anthropogenic, or human-induced, mortality. In 2011, citing 'a widespread persistent and ongoing gradual decline of Terrapene carolina that probably exceeds 32% over three generations,' the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) downgraded its conservation status from near threatened to vulnerable.



Saturday, May 25, 2024

Pic(k) of the Week: Lanceleaf coreopsis (sepals & petals)

Lanceleaf coreopsis (sepals & petals)

A native lanceleaf coreopsis wildflower blooms in May in the Trailhead Community Park of the East Decatur Greenway.

City of Decatur, Georgia, USA. 5 May 2024.
Coreopsis lanceolata —commonly known as lanceleaf coreopsis and lanceleaf tickseed— is a species of tickseed in the aster family (Asteraceae). It is native to the eastern and central parts of the United States, growing in open woodlands, prairies, plains, glades, meadows, and savannas.

Coreopsis lanceolata is a perennial plant sometimes attaining a height of over 2 feet (60 cm). April through June, it produces yellow flower heads singly at the top of a naked flowering stalk, each head containing both ray florets and disc florets. Each flower measures 2 to 3 inches across (5–8 cm).

The genus name 'Coreopsis' means 'bug-like'; it —as well as the common name, 'tickseed'— comes from the fact that the seeds are small and resemble ticks. The specific epithet 'lanceolata' refers to the shape of the leaves: narrow and lance-shaped.


Saturday, May 18, 2024

Pic(k) of the Week: "Early Azalea" blossom

"Early Azalea" blossom

A native early azalea shrub blooms in the Trailhead Community Park, of the East Decatur Greenway: City of Decatur, Georgia, USA. 5 April 2024.
Rhododendron prinophyllum —commonly known as the early azalea, roseshell azalea, woolly azalea — is a rhododendron species in the heather family (Ericaceae), native to the eastern and southern United States, found in damp thickets, open woods, and along streams.

Rhododendron prinophyllum is a woody, spreading, deciduous shrub that grows 2 to 8 feet in height. The flowers, light pink to purplish in color, appear in early spring before the emergence of the foliage. The flowers have a pleasant, clove-like fragrance, and are up to 1½-inches long (4 cm), with protruding stamens and 4-5 petals occurring in large clusters. The foliage is smooth and blue-green, and turns purplish in fall.
North Carolina Cooperative Extension.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

And, as a bonus image, a bud of an early azalea, pre-bloom...

"Early Azalea" bud


About the accompanying music

The tune is Up Jumped Spring, a jazz waltz composed by trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, performed on his album Backlash from 1966/67. Belying the the piece's 3/4 time, Hubbard's playing is crisp and driving, leavened with a joyful sense of dance and melody. Mix that with James Spaulding's sprightly flute, the left-hand comping and right-hand runs of pianist Albert Daily, and the powerful backbeat of bassist Bob Cunningham and drummer Otis Ray Appleton: it's a crystalline masterpiece (and, yes, appropriate to this week's image!). The tune has since become a standard in the jazz repertoire.


Saturday, May 11, 2024

Pic(k) of the Week: Small Venus' looking-glass

Small Venus' looking-glass

Look down! It's a tiny, native 'weed' with a sublime name:
"Small Venus' Looking-Glass."

Seen blooming alongside a sidewalk in the City of Avondale Estates, Georgia, USA. 6 May 2024.
Triodanis perfoliata — commonly known as Clasping bellflower, Clasping bellwort, or Small Venus' looking-glass — is a small, annual flowering plant belonging to the bellflower family (Campanulaceae), native to North and South America (from Canada to Argentina). It grows in prairies, along the edges of woods and rocky outcrops, and in disturbed soil, such as roadsides [and sidewalks!].

Triodanis perfoliata grows to a height of 4-18 inches (10–46 cm). On the upper part of the stem, the plant produces bell-shaped five-petaled flowers, approximately ½ inch or less across (1.3 cm), that range in color from blue-violet to pink-purple to lavender, with a white center. There are also flowers on the lower part of the stem but they do not open. These are cleistogamous — automatic self-pollinators that produce seeds.
North Carolina Cooperative Extension