Autumn subtleties

The Ouachitas’ big autumn show is winding down and the forest is wearing a decidedly more subtle palette these days.

A nice kind of blue

Dayflowers have an incredible ultramarine blue color, so rich, so deep, it’s hard to capture in pixels. This year’s moist and relatively mild Arkansas summer seemed to be just what these wildflowers needed and hundreds of them were singing the blues yesterday morning.

Blue flower surrounded by green.
Dayflower on the south slope of the mountain.
Dayflower group.
Hundreds of blue dayflowers in the shade of a sprawling sumac.

Target fixation, goldfinch style

This goldfinch must’ve been ravenous! He proved quite determined to pluck every single seed out of a faded wild sunflower, pecking at the little globe from every angle.

My had husband pointed out the flash of yellow among the quivering stems and we watched for about 10-15 minutes as he performed his acrobatics during breakfast yesterday.  A few minutes later, the Mrs. showed up to finish off what he’d left.

Goldfinch on seed head.
He didn’t fall on his head, but was working his way around the globe of a sunflower seed head.
Goldfinch eating seeds.
There’s got to be more seed at this angle.
Goldfinch eating seed.
Keep going. A clue to how he got into the position of the top photo.

Graceful grapes

I love the shape of grape leaves — deeply lobed, with lovely curves and points and essential to the beautiful fruit they will eventually help create. They are especially beautiful in their youth — blushing, satiny and untouched by disfiguring phylloxera or other pests.

Grapevine tendril
CURVACEOUS — Young tendril curves on itself.
Young grape leaves.
LEAFING OUT — Young grape leaves along the ground.

The beauty of oaks

Wildflowers and wildlife aren’t the only beauties in these Ouachitan woods. While grown up oaks add to the lovely fall color here, these youngins show their spring colors nicely.

Five little oak leaves.
RADIANT — Young oak leaves edged in red.
Young oak leaves
Young oak leaves
Oak flowers
DUST IN THE WIND — Black Jack Oak flowers spread their pollen to the aggravation of allergy sufferers. There is a somewhat graceful beauty to the “stringers” as they wave in the wind. 

In the pink

One of the beauties of Spring is its palette. Here’s a survey of pinks in the Ouachita woodlands. And it’s also the color of the day for Laetare Sunday!