The mockingbirds rule these days. They are everywhere flitting about–on the ground, in the air, in the middle of the path, low in the brush, and high atop bare trees. They are the most populous bird. The doves have increased significantly, as well, and they blend so perfectly with the ground that you are nearly on top of them when they suddenly flush up, giving a fright.
The lantana is gone, victim of the drought; the leatherbell, too. Perhaps they will bloom again when the rain comes back. What is blooming like crazy is a pretty purple wildflower known as marsh fleabane or sweetscent, a member of the aster family. It thrives in marshes or other areas that are always moist, according to Ladybird Johnson’s Wildflower Center website. These wildflowers are found on the northeast side of the peninsula. There are several thick stands of them in stretches along the path. Very nice.
The mosquitoes are crazy again along that same stretch that the sweetscent grows. It makes sense since both the wildflowers and the mosquitoes prefer moisture. The city recently mowed the edges of the path, which seems to have stirred up and released the hungry insects. I read the Karankawan Indians would smear themselves with alligator fat, shark oil, and mud to protect themselves from the mosquitoes. This evening I wished I had some of the mixture as I tried to outrun the little devils. They finally gave up the race once I rounded the corner and moved more toward the “dry” center of the peninsula. There are several small ecosystems at work–from its outer banks to its middle the environment changes.
Green Thought: “We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills and the winding streams with tangled growth, as ‘wild’. Only to the white man was nature a ‘wilderness’ and only to him was the land ‘infested’ with ‘wild’ animals and ‘savage’ people. To us it was home. Earth was beautiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery.” – Chief Standing River of the Lakota” ― Paul Goble, Dream Wolf