Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Today's walk on Onion Creek

On the McKinney Falls Onion Creek trails, at 3 in the afternoon, it's getting hot, but there are little microclimate shifts, sudden cool spots where the earlier morning air has pooled and hidden itself, holding out. Now and again this spring's unusually thick and heavy grass has been flattened in miniature crop circles, maybe 4 or 5 feet in diameter--my theory is coyote bedding. Grassy parts of the trail smell like a hayloft. I stop by the ruined gristmill below the lower falls and take a photo.

The painted buntings are back for the summer. They look like little dark sparrows till the sun hits them, when they turn tri-color iridescent green, red, and blue. Tropical. I saw two of them plus an indigo bunting, metallic cobalt blue all over. A colorful bird day.
Near the lower falls I saw one Lincoln's sparrow still sneaking in the brush. Most of them have gone north. Down on the creek, right at the lower falls, a half dozen least sandpipers blittered in the quarter-inch deep sheets of flat water extending over a hundred feet of flat white limestone rock. Upstream, a yellowlegs, I couldn't tell which kind, was methodically probing the deeper water. A black-throated green warbler flitted in a sycamore.
We still have a lot of flowers out, mostly yellow now, except for the spiderworts and a few wild petunias, and the indian paintbrushes. Big pricklypear cactus flowers, bright yellow, perch on ruined-looking cactus pads here and there in meadows of Engelmann daisies and thelespermas.

Unexpectedly, in the middle of the trail, when I was thinking only that I wanted to get back to my car, still a half mile away, and get a drink of water, I find a pile of shockingly bright purple coyote turds. Freshly deposited. I realize I had been lost in thought, as my internal dialog suddenly disappears. The re-enchantment of the world. A steaming pile of purple coyote shit.

It must have been a feast of dewberries. But I didn't examine it that closely.
The Lower Falls on Onion Creek
McKinney Falls--lower falls

Mexican persimmons and gristmill rockwork
old mill and persimmons

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