Friday, November 5, 2010

Morning walk

My 9-year old daughter didn’t have school today so she and I went for a walk this morning. We live on the edge of town, right near a greenbelt beyond which are open fields. The greenbelt is much used by people walking their dogs, riding their bikes, jogging, etc. There are a mature valley oaks—the most majestic trees native to the Central Valley—as well as English walnuts which typically produce a copious crop.

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Valley oak along the greenbelt

This morning my daughter and I came across a large flock of wild turkeys. It looked like they weren’t scared of us at all but eventually they did take off. Some ran into the underbrush, others flew off and landed on the oak trees. One must have landed on a rotten branch because we heard the branch snap and the bird whoosh to the ground.

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Wild turkey who didn’t seem too scared of us

It’s still a bit early for fall color in our part of the state and we don’t get a lot anyway. However, I was happy to see some of the walnut trees starting to turn yellow.

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Young walnut trees turning yellow

A more prominent sign of fall are the berries ripening on the shrubs and bushes in people’s yards. Some are bright red, like the berries on this toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia).

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Toyon berries

Others are blue, like on this European privet (Ligustrum vulgare).

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Blue berries on European privet

Some plants exhibit an almost ethereal beauty after their flowers are gone. These are flower stalks of an agapanthus (Lily of the Nile), dried up but very sculptural.

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Dried flower stalks of agapanthus

Another harbinger of the season were the many dead bugs we saw along the path. I have no idea what this particular critter was, but it looked very intriguing in its present state. Anybody know what it is? It was about 2 1/2 inches long.

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Dead insect

One of my personal highlights of fall are the pomegranates ripening on the trees (or shrubs, depending on the variety). Our climates is well suited for pomegranates, and they grow all over town. We have friends who provide us with fruit and—even better!!—juice.

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Pomegranates, in my eyes one of the most beautiful fruits
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Even more beautiful when split open
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Reminds me of a living Christmas tree ornament

In Davis, we have curb-side pickup for yard waste so this week there were lots of pumpkins from Halloween. Many had already begun to rot—not surprising considering temperatures were in the high 70s all week—but this one was still in excellent shape AND it was white. Quiet an uncommon sight. The carving is neat as well.

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We don’t see too many white pumpkins

When we finished our walk, I felt a deep sense of contentment. Not only had I had special time with my daughter, I’d also enjoyed the warm mid-morning sunshine, and I’d seen some very special things that most people—myself included—so often overlook. Having a camera along helped me focus my eyes on the displays of beauty and the little dramas of nature that are all around us.

2 comments:

  1. It looks like some sort of cricket... have you checked whatsthatbug.com or bugguide.net?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Alan, thanks for the suggestion. It could totally be a cricket based on similar images I found.

    ReplyDelete