Journal archives for October 2013

October 05, 2013

Travis Audubon Trees & Shrubs Class Field trip

I tagged along on Diane Sherrill's trees and shrubs class field trip to Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run this morning. Attached are the observations made.

Posted on October 05, 2013 19:47 by mikaelb mikaelb | 25 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 12, 2013

The Mammals of Texas Online Edition

I thought I'd share my favorite online resource for information about Texas mammals. It's this adaptation of a guide originally published in 1947 and updated until 1994 by Texas Parks and Wildlife:

The Mammals of Texas Online Edition

Did you know that probably until the mid-1950s, there used to be a seal native to the Gulf of Mexico?

And how about this awesome quote about another possible denizen of Texas?

"Although only one specimen of the hairy-legged vampire is known from Texas, it is possible that a thorough search of the caves in the Hill Country and along the Rio Grande will reveal additional records of this species or the common vampire (Desmodus rotundus) which have been taken in northern Mexico no more than 200 km from the Texas border."

Love it!

Posted on October 12, 2013 23:48 by mikaelb mikaelb | 2 comments | Leave a comment

October 16, 2013

Animated Animal Gaits online

I'm taking Dave Scott's 9 month wildlife tracking class, based in Austin. Understanding animal gaits is an important part, and I found this great online resource to help understand and visualize them. It's interactive, so you can look at the animations one step at a time. I think it's meant for veterinary students:

http://vanat.cvm.umn.edu/gaits/index.html

Posted on October 16, 2013 16:39 by mikaelb mikaelb | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 26, 2013

Group Walk Report for October 26, 2013

Nine folks participated in the monthly group bird and nature walk on the Bunny Run this morning. We had beautiful overcast weather and here are a few highlights from the walk. Fall migration is underway and we were very fortunate to see an impressive example of it. Near the spring we watched a group of 60-70 Turkey Vultures kettling (riding a column of warm air up to gain altitude) and then streaming off to the south. I took this photo showing a few of them, but it doesn't compare to our experience of actually seeing this group of birds:

Migrating Turkey Vultures

Birds are not the only animals the migrate, and throughout the morning we also saw a few Monarch Butterflies high in the sky flying south. We saw this one feeding on Frostweed flowers:

Monarch Butterfly on Frostweed

On the sandy prairie area we had a surprising close encounter with another migrating bird. A single American Pipit flew towards us from the west. I thought it would fly right over us, but it descended and landed right beside us, about 10 feet away! We watched it for a few moments before it flew away, continuing east. I guess we were all standing still enough that it didn't immediately recognize us as a group of people.

Near the end of our walk we were watching one of several Eastern Phoebes seen during the morning in a distant tree. It flew towards us, grabbed something about 10 feet away from us, and flew to another tree much closer to us. It had caught a dragonfly and we watched as it whacked the dragonfly against the branch it perched on, then swallowed it whole. I got this poor photo:

Eastern Phoebe with Dragonfly

All in all we found 21 species of birds. Here's our complete list:

Complete bird list on eBird

Here are the iNaturalist observations we made:

iNaturalist Observations

And here are the same photos on Flickr:

Nalle Bunny Run Group Walk 2013-10-26

Posted on October 26, 2013 22:30 by mikaelb mikaelb | 0 comments | Leave a comment