May 8, 2022
Last Saturday my whole fam damily* visited a nearby park on the Vermilion River. It was lovely to share the day and the river with all of them. I am blessed with relatives who not only tolerate but encourage my photographing tendency. Here’s what we saw.
*If this phrase has the ring of a dad joke, there’s a reason for that. My father almost never swore, but he delighted in saying “fam damily.”
1 We hadn’t gone far down the trail before we were inundated with bluebells. These don’t look like bluebells to the Texans among you because they are Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) rather than Texas bluebells (Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum).
2 The ground was also covered in invasive fig buttercups (Lesser celandine, Ficaria verna). The botanist with us was afraid it had replaced bluebells in the area.
3 This oxbow is a former channel of the river.
4 The Vermilion River proper was just ahead. My daughter beat me to the shore and yelled something right away. “What?,” I yelled back.
5 “Leptothrix discophora!,” she repeated. Indeed, as the next few photographs show.
6 Here’s a close crop of #5.
8 And a close crop of #7.
11 Some iron oxide, produced by the iron bacteria, rings this patch of a Leptothrix discophora film.
13 This patch is mostly dried out.
14 A close crop of #13
15 With so little evidence of Leptothrix discophora nearby, this patch of iron oxide in the water may signify the presence of other iron-oxidising bacteria.
16 We also saw pollen deposits in the river.
17 David says something else mixed in with the pollen is causing the bubbles shown here.