Stephen Kirkpatrick

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Search And You Will Find

I was out roaming the woods Thursday afternoon, searching for something that might be interesting for On A Roll. No luck there, but I did find a new feather for another, yet-to-be-named project I’ll  refer to for now as “Wild Feathers.” This is a project I’ve been working on for years and probably will be working on for many more to come. Found feathers that can be identified as belonging to a particular species are not something you come across very often. The feather I found Thursday appears to be that of a great horned owl.

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) Feather

The pride and joy of my  collection so far is a golden eagle feather I found years ago while working in Denali National Park in Alaska. I actually saw it drift to the ground as the eagle took off. 
Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
August, 1998
On Friday morning, I saw a beautiful sunrise, a waning moon, colorful fallen leaves and a couple of other contenders for On A Roll, but it wasn’t until I was about to head home that something roll-worthy caught my eye. As I was walking through the woods near a swampy area, something bright red jumped out at me. At first I thought it might be something man-made, but on closer inspection it was a strawberry bush seed pod that had fallen beside an acorn. 

I don’t see strawberry bush that often. The plants themselves are inconspicuous, but they have some of the showiest seeds you’ll ever see. Strawberry bush is also called “bursting heart” or by the nickname I prefer, “hearts-a-bursting-love.” It’s a native plant to the eastern U.S. that grows in deciduous woods, sandy thickets, swamps, shady edges, ravines, and along streams. Its yellowish green or greenish purple flowers bloom in Mississippi around May, and its bright red seeds – the flags that caught my eye – appear in September.  

Strawberry Bush (Euonymus americanus) Seed Pods

I took the shot. That was #31 - only five more to go.

31)    Strawberry Bush Seeds & Acorn- (V)
Madison County
September 16, 2011,  7:54 am
Clear,  56 degrees
60mm, 8 sec@f22, Tripod
(all photos, except golden eagle, shot with Nikon P7000)

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