Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Scenes from a Short Hike along the Neighborhood Trail

The other day, I took a short walk down the neighborhood trail, pointing the camera down more than up. It was a gray and humid day that suggested rain but none ever really fell in our neighborhood. Even if it had, the drought would still be way ahead.

The pond trail bridge

I really like this little bridge that connects two neighborhoods with the main trail. I’ve gotten a few nice shots looking downstream from it and sometimes I even see a few snakes hanging out nearby.


I probably should learn to ID some of the wildflowers around here. Until I do, though, they’re just going to have to be pretty white flowers. Whatever they are, they jumped out of the surrounding dry green like sparks.

Log on the Trails

There used to be a really nice log like this farther down the trail, but it’s gone now. Probably in someone’s house or on their porch. I hope this one goes unnoticed a little longer.

Prickly Pear

As dry as it’s been, you’d think the cacti would be loving it, but the prickly pears are suffering as much as everyone else. I saw more dried up and dead ones than usual.

Purple Wildflowers

A further reminder to learn the names of some flowers.

Prickly Pear Fruit

Tagged Tree

Somewhere in the archives of the City of Austin, there is probably a notation that could point some bureaucrat straight to this tree. I think the trees with numbers are the good ones.


I keep seeing this single bone in a clearing and finally took a picture of it. A mile farther down, I found a deer skeleton last spring. I wonder if this is part of the same.

Turkey Vulture

There weren’t many birds out other than the Turkey Vultures, which I enjoy watching as they sail overhead.


  1. The lilac-purple one looks like a native verbena if that helps!

    Someone sent me a link to international vulture awareness day, Sept 5, 2009 – so your post seems very timely!

    No rain here either, but some East side friends had 2 inches.


  2. Lovely photos, it looks like a nice place to walk. Our trees are numbered too, the council keeps very close records of them,

  3. your photos are great reminders for me to go hiking with my camera. i just have to wait for it to be less rainy. your photos are great, btw. i enjoy watching the vultures fly over the neighbors field when it’s been freshly cut for hay. when they come low enough for me to snap a picture, even better. have a great day.

    • Thanks Michelle. I always have to remind myself to take the camera too. I don’t know how many times I’ve missed a great shot because I had thought, “Oh it’s just the same old same old out there.” Someday I’ll learn.

  4. I can feel the crackling, brittle dryness. Poor old prickly pears!

  5. Sorry to hear about the drought conditions, James. We had a pretty wet spring and summer, but we’ve suddenly dried up, too. Just the time of year, I guess. Enjoyed your walkabout. I especially like that log photo – it’s very beautiful. Only a few more months until LOST starts back up! (I see that you added the “notify me of follow-up comments” functionality – awesome!)

    • Yes, I added that at your suggestion. It just took me a few months to find the right plugin 🙂

      I’m looking forward to LOST as well. I guess I need to get around to reading that O’Connor book Jacob was reading in the finale so I can get my post up about it.

  6. My dad emailed me with possible IDs for the flowers, “I think the white one is Frostweed (verbesina virginica) and the other one is Prairie verbena (verbena bipinnatifida).”

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