Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bastrop State Park forest 9 months after the fire

These photos were taken this morning in one of the worst hit areas of the Bastrop State Park fire almost 9 months later.  The incredible amount of new growth is just a wonder to see, especially since my first visit when there was nothing green at all to be found anywhere.   It boogles the mind.  What is truely amazing are the forests of Pokeweed, huge forests of it, much of it taller than I.  Oh if I only had my bacon and a bucket  eariler in the season!  Some very interesting plants are sprouting, and some of them are complete strangers to me.  I gave up on trying to ID the numerous grasses  I just had no clue about.   Here are a few photos of really odd plants we found.  I was with Byron Stone this morning whom you shall see in a photo below.  The photo above is ofRattlesnake master and is about 3' high

Here is a close up of the un-opened flowers of that plant.

This small patch of what appeared to be a small agave was far back in the burn. Manfreda maculosa, it the the sole host plant for the near extinct butterfly the

Manfreda Giant-Skipper
Stallingsia maculosus

This Skullcap (?) is one I do not recognize

Dr. Birdie at an old pickup in the forest...Note  the Poke Berry forest that has surged into being....None of this was here in March

And finally this 2' tall clump of a composite that was just brillant!...I thought at first it was Ironweed but the very narrow leaves and larger blooms left me wondering.


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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oklahoma Ranch after the drought

View across the South Pasture

These pecans were planted as 2 ft. saplings in 1978 then grafted with improved varieties a few years later...I remember digging the post holes for them.  These are 40-50' tall now,  Note the splendid clover crop this season.

This persimmon has been producing fruit for at least 55 years.  It is the largest one I know of locally.

Orange Milweed, is disappearing in the area due to intensive mowing practices

A view of the old house across a meadow filled with legume pasture
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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cassin's Kingbird in Kinney County


This kingbird was found in far northern Kinney Co this morning where there are many text book Westerns.  This not only behaved differently but was calling differently.  The tails was very dark to almost black but appeared very short due to the undertail covers.  The short undertail coverts as shown are not an artifact of the angle the photo was taken...They were long.
If there were white margins to the outer rec.s I could not see them in flight....These are the best photos I could get before an Ash-throated of equal size chased it off. Comments from many, some that know the species far better than I, concur this is indeed a Cassin's Kingbird.  A bird that is likely not only a county but regional  first record.
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Friday, May 11, 2012

Mourning Dove nest on ground with chicks

Recently there was a discussion partly online about Mourning Doves nesting on the ground, especially after numerous finds on BARE ground in Hidalgo Co.  Several profess having ever seen the species do this.  So this evening Paul Sunby and I were out in Edwards Co. and flushed a bird off the side of a road cut.  Here is a photo of the nest with 2 chicks on limestone.  The exception here being instead of bare ground in the case of the Hidalgo Co. birds, the parent of these chicks actually constructed a nest of sorts.
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Friday, May 4, 2012

Land "Lubbers"

  Ten's of thousands these big attractive
grasshoppers are to be found on the back roads of Edwards County.  It is impossible to drive without smashing thousands of them over 10 miles.  Nothing is interested in eating except their comrades.  The dead ones on the road attract the still living on to the killing grounds as well.  Despite the size these are quite soft, don't bite and are not even adults it seems.  Nearly all are of equal size.
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Bemused Fox

  Out on the back roads of Edwards Co. , where the traffic is light and the home sites few, I am sure this handsome fellow was a bit astonished to see me walking the roadside out in the middle of nowhere.  Trying to figure my game, he just stood there staring as I got closer and closer.  Eventually he casually finished his crossing and sauntered off into the brush with no alarm.
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Weslaco Black-throated Blue, May 1, 2012

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A Clay-colored Thrush with Cactus Wren genes

  Now this truely my second lifer of the day.  I don't provide nest locations except to say this is in Weslaco, Texas.  A Clay-colored Thrush nesting in a huge cactus.  Smart critter.
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