Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Pink granite and birds

Today I went for a drive, going west, and ended up about a hundred miles from Austin at Enchanted Rock, which despite the Disney name is worth a visit. The place is now a state park encompassing several exposures of precambrian granite, the largest being an impressive pink granite dome. The rock is a coarse-grained porphyritic exposure of Town Mountain granite, which was formed about 1.1 billion years ago, i.e., a billion years ago plus the distance from here to the middle of the cretaceous. Old, but not the oldest rock in the neighborhood. It intrudes in some older metamorphic rock. The Texas capitol building is made of Town Mountain granite. (It looks pretty much like the national capitol in Washington, except I like ours better because the rosy color of the granite makes it a little less severe looking. Let's ignore the fact that it has been the place of business of some of the worst people in North America ever since it was built. Not the fault of the building.)

Enchanted Rock is a pretty place, especially popular with rock climbers. Here's one now, a jumper...

This seems to be a signal for a black vulture to scramble, just in case the guy doesn't make it.

I have climbed the dome many times, and it's where all the people go, so I walked along the creek, and then past turkey peak, another granite outcrop. On the way I heard geese overhead. I had a hard time finding them in the sun, but here they are, going north.

Closer view

I didn't get many other bird photos, except for a ladder backed woodpecker.

And, back at the campground when I was eating a late lunch of peanut butter and crackers, a bewick's wren came to investigate. Here it is.

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