|Dallas Fire Rescue Engine 34 fighting wildfire in Devon Anderson Meadow|
|Scissortailed Flycatcher on Yucca Piedmont Ridge|
Hard to find fault though with sticking to White Rock Lake. The east shore of the lake features a prominent limestone uplift known to many as Lake Highlands. From the Harry Moss Native Area near the corner of Arborside and Royal Lane; Flag Pole Hill on Northwest Highway, the Lower White Rock Creek Trails off Jim Miller; clear to McCommas Bluff in Pleasant Grove, a loose patchwork of blackland prairie can be found.
North Texas does not have snow capped peaks, crystal clear streams or ocean front vistas found elsewhere. For a few short weeks though, the blackland prairie of Dallas shines as one of the best places to see wildflowers, anywhere. Through the hard work of private citizens, many of these places that were once mowed quarterly have been allowed to return to a more natural state.
For those less enthusiastic about a trip to Pleasant Grove to wander remote trails, Norbuck Park at the corner of Buckner Blvd and Northwest Highway is a great alternative. Park in the softball parking lot on the east side of Buckner. Head up the hill towards the tennis courts. Veer left through the trails that wind in and out of the woods.
Friend of the blog Bill Holston, has a great off beat trail guide featured in the May 2012 issue of D Magazine. The link to his story can be found here: 10 Top Trails For Hiking And Biking In Dallas.He has a great list of trails there that span a great deal of the 214 and 972 area codes. He even mentioned the Scyene/Piedmont Ridge Trail discussed in this post.
Other than the purple coneflower photo overlooking White Rock Lake from Mockingbird(above), the rest of the photos were taken on the Lower White Rock Creek Trails between Scyene and Lake June. I have mentioned them previously in a post from last spring here: Lower White Rock Creek Trails.
The Fire at Devon Anderson Park
|Frederic Remington's The Grass Fire|
|Foxglove along Piedmont Ridge Trail|
|Footbridge over ravine on Devon Anderson Trail|
Riding down from White Rock Lake through Scyene and Piedmont Ridge, smelling wood smoke around dinner time is routine. People grill outdoors all through the neighborhoods around there. It was not until I moved south of Bruton Road that I figured out something was off. I still did not think much of it, focusing instead on the trail that had become overgrown in some areas. Much of the trail south of Bruton is difficult to negotiate on a bike and much of it must be walked, called hike-a-biking. Steep ravines, switchbacks and some deadfall across the trail make it a bit of a slow go. The bridge(inset right) spans over one of the deeper ravines in Devon Anderson Park. A few years ago it was not quite this deep. I think that the DART Green Line construction coupled with a new housing development above has led to some flash flooding along the trail during heavy rains.
Moving further south the smell of smoke grew stronger. As I rode into the meadow clearing at Devon Anderson, much of it was consumed by fire or was currently burning.
|Firefighters from Station 34 knocking down hot spots|
Fire Station 34 responded to the fire and carried in water to put it out. This group of firefighters is also the Swift Water Rescue Team for Dallas Fire Rescue. They do some great work and really know the Trinity River. Got to talk to one of the firefighters for a few minutes and was really impressed with the professional knowledge he had about the Trinity and some of the lesser known parts of town in the riverbottoms.
|Sign in the wrong spot|
Also will be interesting to see what happens with this burned area. If it comes back as a thriving meadow or just stays a burned spot. The ground had quite a bit of moisture in it and the fire looked only burn the tops of some plants. Other places where logs burned, it scorched everything.
Bugs and Butterflies
Below are some of the wildflowers and insects that are out at the moment along Lower White Rock Creek from Scyene to the mouth of White Rock Creek where it joins the Trinity River.
|Hobo spider (Tegenaria agrestis) on Purple Coneflower stem (Echinacea purpurea)|
|Hoverfly(Syrphidae) over Queen Anne's Lace|
|American Lady Butterfly Vanessa virginiensis on Purple Coneflower Echinacea purpurea|
|Black Swallowtail Papilio polyxenes on Purple Thistle|
|Buckeye Butterfly (Precis coenia)|
|Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta)|
|Engelmann's Daisy (Engelmannia peristeni)|
Below are a couple photos and a short video of the area in and around the Historic White Rock Spring. This is the site of Indian camps, Sam Houston's campsite,founder of Dallas John Neely Bryan's home and now a unique spot in Dallas. Always see something different every time I visit. In a week or two I suspect this whole area will be filled with black eyed susans. Wine cups will do for now
|Wine Cup Callirhoe involucrata on Bryan's Slough Great Trinity Forest|