Weekly Walk 43

It’s five weeks after the summer solstice, and while I’m not about to complain about the heat since so far we can still get by without running the air conditioner if we don’t mind sweating a bit (which we don’t…usually), I will admit that the lack of rain is starting to get to me.

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It’s still green, but the ground is hard and kind of crunchy. Every couple of nights big green and yellow blobs float across the weather maps, the wind kicks up, and we open our windows and listen for thunder, certain that this time we’re finally going to get some precipitation. And then the wind dies down and the sky clears and the sun shines again on the still-dry ground.

Rain hasn’t fallen, but sometimes other things fall:

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This used to be the picnic table with a view down to the river, but thanks to this weekend’s high winds that didn’t turn into a rainstorm, it’s now kindling under a large, formerly vertical oak tree. We were amazed at how far the tree had dug into the dirt with the force of its fall (you can kind of see that to the bottom left of the photo).

That was one of two of the most exciting things on our hike this week. This was the second:

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This red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) was right next to the trail, and as we approached, it flew up onto this branch and posed for some photos. I hope it’s not too disappointed that the paparazza who showed up had a sub-awesome zoom on her camera.

We’ve been seeing families of red-tailed hawks on our neighborhood walks lately, too. The other morning, I saw a mother and father hawk with their youngster following them around, begging for food. I could relate to those avian parents. I didn’t take a photo of them, though, so it doesn’t count.

This hike also marked the first time my daughter got to use her new hiking boots. She loves them, and now all three of us have official hiking footwear. Hopefully we’ll have a few months before the kids outgrow theirs.

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I also managed to catch a photo of a dragonfly, which I think is a male slaty skimmer (Libellula incesta).

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There are actually two dragonflies in this photo. The second is out of focus in the background, just southwest of the one in the foreground.

And that’s it for this week’s hike. The radio says that we should get a break from the heat after Thursday, with a chance of showers as the new front moves in. I will believe it when I see it.

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Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota) from underneath

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