October Explodes With Color in the Wichitas

October 3, 2016 at 6:25 pm (Autumn, Birds - Oklahoma, Butterflies, National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildflowers)

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I didn’t realize the fall wildflowers in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge rivaled those of spring. There are patches of brilliant yellow Maximilian sunflowers that grow along a single stem like hollyhocks. And the purple liatris is everywhere amid the prairie grass and prairie broomweed. I’m not sure what species it is exactly (gayfeather something I think) but even the wildflower lady at the refuge has a bit of a time narrowing it down, so I’m not gonna worry about it.

Maximilian Sunflowers

Maximilian Sunflowers

I haven’t been able to do much blogging as my computer was in the hospital for a month. It’s got a new 1TB hard drive, and some other upgrades. So now I can get back to my photo editing!

Maximilian sunflower patch

Maximilian sunflower patch

Osage Lake with lacy tansyaster

Osage Lake with lacy tansyaster

The hike to Osage Lake was about a half mile through lovely prairie grass and yellow broomweed, before it reached a rock garden with the lacy tansyaster (don’t trust all my plant IDs, I do the best I can) and little bluestem grass. I do love the open skies and feel claustrophobic when I’m surrounded by trees and can’t see much of the sky. Anybody else feel that way?

Liatris on Osage Lake trail

Liatris on Osage Lake trail

I arrived just as the sun peeked over the eastern mountains, and heard a few distant bull elk. Not as many as two weeks ago from the same spot at Crater Lake, but I was hearing much more birdsong, particularly the numerous meadowlarks. The landscape has been silent for two months as the babies fledged and migrants began their journey south. It was so nice to hear those meadowlarks!

Liatris and broomweed

Liatris and broomweed

Backlit liatris

Backlit liatris

Lacy tansyaster and little bluestem with lichen rocks

Lacy tansyaster and little bluestem with lichen rocks

Great Blue Heron at Lost Lake

Great Blue Heron at Lost Lake

Antelope horns out of season

Antelope horns out of season

The antelope horns milkweed blooms in May and June, so this loner is way out of season!

Variegated fritillary

Variegated fritillary

The Variegated Fritillary loved the nectar on the rayless gumweed. This is the only area of the refuge that I’ve seen the rayless variety.

Variegated Fritillary

Variegated Fritillary

Rayless means it doesn’t have the petals we generally see on flowers.

Green Skipper

Green Skipper

The Green Skipper is a tiny little thing, and if it hadn’t moved I wouldn’t have noticed it.

Common Sulphur

Common Sulphur

Juvenile red-headed woodpecker

Juvenile red-headed woodpecker

The red-headed woodpecker is my favorite, but I haven’t gotten more than a fleeting glimpse of the adults.

Dam at Quanah Parker Lake

Dam at Quanah Parker Lake

An early fisherman out on the lake.

Broomweed looks best when it's backlit

Broomweed looks best when it’s backlit

Canada Geese at Lost Lake

Canada Geese at Lost Lake

Female monarch on liatris

Female monarch on liatris

All photographs and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

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6 Comments

  1. Patti Henshaw said,

    glad your computer is healed – been missing your photos of nature. So peaceful…

    • Cindy McIntyre said,

      Thanks Patti! How’s the earthquake situation down there? I heard there are rumblings under the Salton Sea. I miss California.

  2. mbkircus said,

    So glad to get to read a new blog from you. Magnificant pics, as usual.

  3. hikingyogagirl said,

    I have been so surprised that there are still so many wildflowers in the Refuge, especially since we are back in drought conditions. It’s beautiful out there!

  4. Cindy McIntyre said,

    The Oklahoma Native Plant Society is meeting at the refuge this weekend and there will be a couple of walks/hikes. I hope to get some of my unidentified flower photos ID’d by the experts!

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