Journal archives for May 2020

May 12, 2020

Belated Mother's Day at Challenger 7

This is the first outing my mother and I have had together in nearly two months. We social-distanced -- even from each other -- wearing our masks and refraining from getting into each other's bubbles. It was weird riding in a car fully 'faced up' with someone in the car with me. (So far, I've only driven with members of my household.)

At any rate, Challenger 7 was quite the dragonfly place to be! I had hoped to see more birds (we heard several, but saw nary a one), but what the placed lacked in feathered wings it sure made up with the double-doubles. Several new species made my life list today, and the subjects were cooperative for shooting!

Posted on May 12, 2020 12:20 AM by dirtnkids dirtnkids | 22 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 14, 2020

ID'ing and Pressing Flowers with Della at L-DPP

It's easy to social distance where there are only two of you! I held the video recorder and Della engaged the digital audience while we waded together through a blooming Deer Park - Lawther Prairie. We were specifically on the hunt for wildflower, especially those we can cut and PRESS. The rain held off until we were done shooting, and I felt pretty privileged when a firefly flew right into my hand. Weather and bugs are not usually so cooperative.

Highlight of the day were the two new insect species at the Black Jack daisy patch (where we caught honey bees for the previous video) and the ladies' tresses orchids that were in bloom. It made up for the fact that liatris and guara weren't quite showy ... yet. Next month.

Posted on May 14, 2020 09:09 PM by dirtnkids dirtnkids | 24 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 15, 2020

Brazos Bend SP - First Time Since COVID

When I asked Scott where he wanted to go on his Friday off, it was a resounding 'Brazos Bend.' The weather was threatening to be wet later in the day, so we got our day passes trekked out early to walk the prairie trail. We were not disappointed!

Swallowtails were everywhere, as were other Lepidoptera species. And though we heard several Prothonotary warblers, we were only able to get a glimpse of two. Same for the Northern Parula who was heard but never seen. It was great to be out hiking the park -- not volunteering in any capacity -- with my best friend and husband in tow.

Highlight of the day was hearing the prettiest song from the top of the oaks; it was a single Painted Bunting. Sadly, as we approached, he quit singing (before I could record), and I got one lousy, blurry picture of him before he was off and away. Dang birdies. :D

Posted on May 15, 2020 09:02 PM by dirtnkids dirtnkids | 40 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 22, 2020

Brazos Bend SP - Getting OUT!

Last Friday went so well that Scott and I went for another prairie and live oak loop walk, particularly looking for Texas invasive species. Found some!

Dragonflies were the show-stoppers today, as was the robber fly (Promachus hinei), that I first dismissed as a dragonfly, but because I am inclined to shoot everything, it was a Life species for me. As was the wasp (Pseudodynerus quadrisectus) and the Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta).

On the Pilant Slough trail, I heard the call of an Acadian Flycatcher! My husband didn't believe me, so I played the call on iBird, then recorded our observation doing the same, then found the bird. It pays to do Empidonax 'homework.' (I knew it would pay off one day.)

It was a great day. Every walk at BBSP is like walking a different park. You never know what you'll find there.


Posted on May 22, 2020 10:50 PM by dirtnkids dirtnkids | 76 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 29, 2020

Brazos Bend SP - 7 Day Itch

Life is just barely slowing for the summer. Spring Interns are 'graduated' which means I have time to myself for an entire Friday. No Saturday classes to plan for or communicate about! Two of the CPC interns joined Scott and me on today's hike, all social-distancing, of course.

We took the prairie walk so they could see all three species of Vervain and distinguish between the three: V. brazilian, V. halei, and V. xutha. The dragonflies were all out, as were the mating butterflies. The surprise of the day was the Reakirt's Blue in the prairie, as well as the GIANT wolf spider off the path. Scott mistook it for a tarantula, it was so big.

After our friends parted ways, we marched on a bit further. Sadly, photos of juvenile Barred Owls did not turn out well enough for ID, but while Scott was bench-napping, I was able to record some parent calling back and forth with cicadas singing in the background.

The rookery was also in full swing. I found it funny that iNaturalist had 'monkey' right up top to name the juvenile ibises. I guess AI was confused by the striped bills and the ugly little faces (only a Mama could love).

All-in-all, another great hike at BBSP, third week straight. We'll see if next Friday pans out for another day trip. crossing fingers

Nice to see you again, #MyBrazos. (PS - I included the handful of observations from yesterday's volunteer stint.)

Posted on May 29, 2020 10:48 PM by dirtnkids dirtnkids | 31 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment