Mid-May Playa 2017

So, things are settling down around the playa. There have not been any heavy, localized storms to drop concentrated rain on the lake, so the water is limited to the middle, and it’s more mud than water. But the warm-season plants are thriving.

A forb. With pretty flowers that peaked a few days before I was able to take the photo, of course.

The gradations in color mark the different rings of plants leading into the marshy area.

It has been moist but not drenching wet thus far, so the soil is absorbing all the water. The plants look good. The brown you see is from last year, dead (senescent) growth that really needs to be eaten or burned to allow the most growth for this year.

 

A nice patch of natives. Bunch-grasses don’t form a carpet, thus their name. You can see the brown stuff from last year.

A little of this grass, a little of that, plus some introduced stuff that has crept in over the years. Photo taken around 1300 CDT, so the light is pretty flat.

A few weeks ago, the Monday after the “blizzard,” I saw a fascinating mirage as I came down the road and crested the rim of the playa’s basin. About 10 miles west-southwest is a large feedlot. Normally you can’t see it because the western rim of the basin is higher than the eastern rim. This time I could, and it took me by surprise until I realized that no, a genie had not plunked a feedlot down overnight. The very cold surface air and warmer layer above had conspired to bend the light. In the 6 years I’ve been working at the school in various guises, I’d not seen that before. On the gripping hand, before this I’d not seen the place the morning after a May snow, either.

The mockingbirds have staked out their turf. The hawks are back. The jackrabbits have little jackrabbits. Mallards have been hanging out in the bar-ditch behind my classroom when there’s enough water. In short, it’s spring at the playa.

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3 thoughts on “Mid-May Playa 2017

    • No prairie dogs here, interestingly enough. There were some north of the interstate (two miles north), and a few in a vacant lot a few miles south and east, but none nearby. The water table may have been too high for them to get started. And the farm fields nearby (the uniform green on the distant rim of the playa) probably chased others away.

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