Thursday, November 1, 2012

One Nest Box, Three Species Reared in One Season

I cleaned out the yard nest box today.  I finally was able to the see the layer cake of nests that were built within it that as far as I know successfully produced three families of birds, each of a different species between February and early July

Here is a side view of the nests.  On the bottom, constructed of mostly tree mosses, is that of Carolina Chickadee, just above that is a thin band of grasses etc. which represent the nest of hybrid Tufted Titmouse (this will appear better in the last photo) and finally the trashy nest of Carolina Wrens which filled the box.

Here a view of the Carolina Wren nest with an egg that never hatched...note the snake skin portions

  All three nests shown as layers...This nest box always produced a lot of birds...But only this one...Two others I have rarely have nests.  It has to be a matter of location.
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Asters of Utley: Mecca for Insects of November

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Agrius cingulata in Port O'connor Aug. 26, 2012

This moth is on a painted 1x4" for size comaprison but out of reach.
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Texas Persimmon Harvest Time

Enjoyed by Texans and Texas critters for thousands of years, the endemic Texas Persimmon is now at its peak for your favorite recipes or just eaten as is.  That is if you can beat a whole lot of other species to the dark sweet fruit does which not stay on the tree long once it ripens.   I enjoyed half a dozen this evening but left plenty for the fox and raccoon people.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Zebra Heliconian, Utley Texas

These animals are just going ballistic in the past few days...Between these and Gulf Fritillary my wild passiflora vines are now just about gone
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bastrop State Park Survey Photos for Aug. 2012


Can you Identify this toad :-)

The circular area is where a pine once stood, but the fire burned it down even through the root system....However check out the well baked mud wasp nest that surved the inferno..Must be  it was a hollow tree.

This Cottonwood and Flame Sumac are well over six feet tall, this area was barren in March.  There are zillions of cottonwood trees here, there were zero as far as I know before the fire.  There is  even a Black Willow to the left and no water nearby.

The forest of Pokeweed has set fruit everywhere. If only they were grapes.

Depiste the dry conditions, there are lots of wildflowers.   Blue waterleaf is found in damp soils and it is thriving in the ash enriched soils near the toad ponds

Houston Toad Pond

Long-tailed Skipper and American Lady nectaring on Gayfeather.

Long-tailed Skipper

Firey Skipper on Gayfeather

Aquatic color

I do not remember the name of this pastel flower....Copper Mallow?

A family of Black-bellied Whistling ducks

This is a cucurbid I do not know, not sure if it is native.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Big Birdhouse Fly

     Tiger Bee Fly, Xenox tigrinus  Preys on Bumble and Carpenter Bee larvae...I guess I best be careful when I open the box.Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 13, 2012

Utley Patch Birding photos Aug. 13, 2012

 Great morning of birding with at least 106 Upland Sandpipers, 11 Long-billed Curlews, 58 Buff-breasted Sandpipers, thousands of Swallows, ~38 empids, mostly Least Flycatchers in giant ragweed, Yellow Warblers and Mississippi. Kites an Olive-sided Flycatcher and much more..I love birding my patch.

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Just Call Me Gourd Guy

I posted in the spring about my gourds...Well in a couple of spots where I planted them  they have done remarkably well.  I just planted them in native soil with no preparation whatsoever except removing a few stones....Gourds will not not produce well if overly fertilized...These have never been... This vine alone has 14 gourds and the other three combined have 13 with more coming on.  Most of the gourds are big enough for bird houses but so far none are really quite large enough for Purple Martin houses.  Still it is a great joy to grow them.  My dad never had such luck.
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Sunday, July 29, 2012

A garden from the compost heap

  All kinds of veggies are growing from my compost heap this year.    Here is one of 3 papaya plants, sweet potato, tomato and cantaloupe, and bird house gourds (which I planted.  Not shown are green (pinto) beans, orange seedlings, and earlier in the year Dill.
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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bathing Pileated Woodpecker

 Pileated Woodpeckers are becoming ever more common here on the western edge of their range in Bastrop County Tx. and they regularly come in for water during the warm months...I have never seen one bath in the water features however and by gum, I did not see this one either....The critter cams caught it...I wish I had actually had a photo of it dunking, but have the cams set at 30 sec. intervals so it must have been a quick swim.
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Friday, July 6, 2012

Crow Pellet

 I saw one of the crows regurgitate this pellet this morning so I promptly went out to photograph it in situ on the platform feeder. The crow was still in the oak just over head.  I went into the house for something like a coin to show scale and within the minute or so I was away the crow had flown back down and had completely scattered and shatter it's fresh pellet

  Note the "diamonds" in all that rough.  Actually they are small pieces of quartz gravel along with some other gravel.
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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Carolina Sphinx Larvae feeding on potent Jimson Weed, Datura stramonium

  It must be higher than a kite as this plant is highly hallucinogenic and made famous by the late Carlos Castaneda.  This insect species is often called "Tomato Worm", "Tomato Hornworm" etc.
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