This is the Spring Equinox issue of the Kimball Park Project--2013. Click here to view the introductory post from January.
The Pond. I took this shot because of the diferent horizontal bands of colors. The blackberry bushes which line the shore here are just starting to put forth new foliage. The band of yellowish vegetation is andropogon virginicus, commonly called broomsedge. It occurs over most of the eastern U.S., as well as southern Canada and northern Mexico. Broomsedge tends to grow in pastures and fields, in open areas of forests, and in right of ways. It provides good habitat for cotton rats, rabbits, and bobwhite quail. Growing up on the farm in Alabama, I recall watching marsh hawks, now called northern harriers, soaring just over the tops of the broomsedge looking for prey. I once saw one doing the same here at Kimball Park.
The Tree. The big red oak is finally putting out catkins (commonly known as the "wormlike things"), as the flowers are called. The catkins are actually the male flowers, which fall from the tree once their pollen has been released. The much smaller and hard to see female flowers become acorns.
The Field. The wheat (I think) in the field next to the park seems to be making a comeback since last month. Wheat is grown in all Tennessee counties and is used as an erosion reducing cover crop, as hay and straw, for wildlife, for forage, and for grain production. According to the UT Extension Service, most wheat grown in Tennessee is used for making flour, rather than livestock feed.
The soybean field within the park still lies dormant.
The Mountain. In this telephoto view looking toward Jasper, peeks of sunlight are hitting the bluffs of Jasper Mountain. The mountain forests remain primarily in winter mode. The Jasper Blue Hole, source of most of Jasper's municipal water supply, lies at the foot of the mountain near the right side of this scene. See the above post for news of recent underwater explorations of the Jasper Blue Hole cave.
The River. The view of Burns Island and Sand Mountain remain little changed. Some river cane growing on the banks of Burns Island provides about the only greenery in this scene. As I approached the riverbank, several turtles lay on a log in the edge of the water, but they dove into the river the instant they spotted me peering down at them.
Random Shot--Deer Tracks. These tracks made by a white-tailed deer were visible in the trail to the river. The white-tailed deer is the primary big game mammal in the southeastern U.S. While tracks are not unusual, I've yet to actually see a deer in Kimball Park. I suspect they tend to come around at night. Click here to learn more about white tailed-deer at the TN Watchable Wildlife website, or here to see a comprehensive page about them at a site called Nature Works.
Be sure to check back next month for the April installment of the Kimball Park Project--2013.
Bob Butters All photos: Bob Butters