Rain drops, dewdrops and frost – Mother Nature’s adornments

rain drops IMG_8843© Maria de Bruyn resDewdrops in the early morning, raindrops during the day, and frost covering everything outdoors can be seen merely as various manifestations of heavenly water on earth, but another way of looking at them can be as nature’s jewels. When light and sunshine illuminate the drops and crystals, they lend an air of elegance and beauty to whatever they have covered.

When it rains, leaves and blooms may look uniformly slick with moisture but we often see them covered in rain drops. Have you ever wondered why the rain drops are of different sizes?

dewdrops IMG_7571© Maria de Bruyn res day lily with rain drops IMG_5259© Maria de Bruyn res

The US Geological Survey’s Water Science School reports that water vapor wraps around particles in the air (salt, smoke, dust) which are of different sizes; then when the drops begin falling to earth, they bump into other drops and merge. The drops that merge with more “neighbors” become larger. Rain drops suspended from branches and leaves are quite lovely.

rain drops DK7A8019© Maria de Bruyn res rain drops DK7A8052© Maria de Bruyn 2 res

rain drops DK7A8020© Maria de Bruyn resruby-throated hummingbird DK7A8190© Maria de Bruyn resThey often roll right off birds’ feathers but occasionally adhere, as was the case for this ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) at a feeder sheltered by a roof overhang.

Dew – water droplets on surfaces of objects and vegetation – forms when an exposed surface cools down by radiating its heat and the moisture in the atmosphere then condenses faster than it evaporates. It looks beautiful on flowers and other plants, such as these grasses, the Virginia meadow beauty (Rhexia virginica) and the Orange mahogany esperanza (Tecoma stans “Orange Mahogany”).

dewdrops DK7A2989© Maria de Bruyngrass dewdrops DK7A3012© Maria de Bruyn res

Virginia meadow beauty DK7A3083© Maria de Bruyn res

Orange mahagony esperanza IMG_6425© Maria de Bruyn res Orange mahagony esperanza IMG_6414© Maria de Bruyn res

Some plants actually mimic dewdrops, like Tracey’s sundew.

Tracy's sundew DK7A5228© Maria de Bruyn res Tracy's sundew IMG_4952© Maria de Bruyn

On spider webs, water and ice droplets outline the architecture created by the arachnids, showing off the symmetry and beauty of the lines.

spider web DK7A6479© Maria de Bruyn res spider web with dewdrops IMG_2683©Maria de Bruyn res

spider web with dewdrops IMG_6438© Maria de Bruyn res spider web with dewdrops IMG_6396© Maria de Bruyn res

sheetweb dwarf spider IMG_0959©Maria de Bruynsigned

 

The webs of sheetweb dwarf spiders (Florinda coccinea), often not so visible in the grass, become quite noticeable when covered in dewdrops and then you can often spot the little red spider hanging underneath waiting for its prey.

sheetweb spider DK7A4086© Maria de Bruyn sheetweb dwarf spider DK7A4076© Maria de Bruyn res

spider web splendor IMG_2727©Maria de Bruyn res

 

In this case, the plant looked like a natural jewelry stand for strings of glass or diamond beads.

It was interesting for me to learn that the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) and the International Organisation for Dew Utilization (OPUR) created a dew harvesting system for a semi-arid area in India. Their condensers can collect more than 200 liters of dew each night from October through May and could provide an additional water source for people in arid coastal regions.

Leaves and flowers, like this coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) can seem bedecked with glistening jewels when the ice crystals of frozen dewdrops adhere to their surfaces and edges.

Coral honeysuckle DK7A6792© Maria de Bruyn resCoral honeysuckle DK7A6805© Maria de Bruyn res

frosty morning leaves IMG_7351©Maria de Bruyn Nat GeoFrost may appear to be translucent or crystal clear; when a mass of crystals are together, they look white in color because they scatter light in all directions. The ice crystals of wind frost (also known as advection frost) arise when a very cold wind blows over tree branches, leaves and flowers; they can form gorgeous borders on these surfaces.

Early morning can be a great time for nature walks – beautiful sunrises, brisk (or cooler) temperatures and awakening wildlife make for interesting viewing. And raindrops, dew and frost can add extra scenes of beauty for us to appreciate!

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