Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Goldilocks Day in the County Grounds

After a couple of weeks that were first unseasonably hot and then cold, the past two days were Goldilocks days: just right. Perfect for a walk in the County Grounds. Here is a little photo essay from my ramble, mostly in the marsh on the bottom of the flood detention basin.

I thought I might find a red wing blackbird nest. I'd seen several the last time I ventured into the marsh, about a month ago, perched amongst the dead brown cattails stalks. None had eggs yet. Maybe there would be babies now. But the marsh was completely transformed in the intervening time by new growth.

I had to watch every step at every level of view so as not to inadvertently crush the very thing I sought.

Looking down I found deer prints and duckweed in the mud.

Looking straight ahead I found numerous furballs atop brittle stalks in amongst the new growth.

And light catching splashes of saplings amongst the cattails.

It took me a long time to find a single nest, overhead in the crook of a tree. I had to hold my camera high at arm's length and aim towards it carefully. The view screen revealed its emptiness, along with the marvel of its construction.

Young poplar leaves glow redly in the afternoon light. In places the poplars are so thick, their shiny leaves fluttering so rapidly, it was mesmerizing. The woody growth is not part of the vegetation plan for the basins, which are supposed to be free of trees. There is some talk of burning the marsh to rid it of the invasive or unwanted species. That's a sight I hope to see!

The new cattails were ripe with pollen and every time I brushed against one a fine dust cascaded all around. Before long I was coated in green dust. I had to protect my camera constantly from it.

I usually startle a deer or two when I'm out there and I wasn't disappointed. This young guy sure didn't expect to see me sauntering through his private enclave, so near Swan Boulevard, yet so remote from view - normally, that is. It quickly dashed back into the thick stand of poplars beyond.

The oaks on the ridge, framed by cattails below and a band of dramatic clouds above.

Daisies trying to hold their own against a prodigious stand of yellow mustard in bloom along the sides of the basin.

Sadly these lovely flowers, suggestively named "butter and eggs," are invasive species. The exotics are harder to dislike when they are so beautiful. 

I hope you've enjoyed these Goldilocks days as much as I have. The prediction is for hotter weather soon - and I've heard many people express their expectation of a particularly hot summer, after our remarkable, un-Wisconsin-like spring. Let's enjoy it while we can! And let's keep the County Grounds as enjoyable as we can, too.

1 comment:

  1. Nice pictures Eddee.

    I, too, look forward to the day a prescribed burn can be performed.