Wednesday, July 15, 2015

American Lotus' showy yellow flowers overshadow fish

American Lotus is taking over the catch-and-release fishing ponds at Sheldon Lake State Park.

Beautiful flowers ...

,,, fill the pond.

Ranger C. pulls big water lilies to relocate and clear an area near the fishing pier.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The snail and the spider: a parable in the making

Don't look now, but there's a spider behind you.

When the tide comes in, the Marsh Periwinkle snails move up the Smooth Cordgrass so they won't drown. They also want to get out of the reach of crabs and other predators.

That's when you can get a good look at the one-inch snails.

Sometimes if you look closely, you may see a so-quick little spider messing with a so-slow snail.

The snail and the spider. What's the endgame here?

 When the water recedes, the snails will return to the ground to eat

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Birds are served fish soup

 These birds were waiting for me to pass so they could go back to their fish buffet.

After two days of rain and minor flooding, it was a gray morning on the trails at Baytown Nature Center.  These noisy birds were not happy to see me.

As I got closer to their perch, I found the tire rut along my path was filled with water teeming with trapped little fish. The fish had been washed into the puddle and couldn't escape.

Sad for the fish, but happy time for the birds.

I didn't see any other fish-filled puddles. Either this was the only place it happened, or birds had cleaned out the other puddles.

The puddle on the left had about 30 little fish trapped.
They were less than an inch long.
This tiny toad (black spot in the center) was hopping nearby. I hope he wasn't dessert.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Cleanup crew arrives to take care of dead armadillo

We spotted the black vulture beyond our backyard fence before we saw what it was pulling apart. A dead armadillo.

Go back to work, Mr. Vulture. In this 90-degree heat the faster you dispose of the carcass, the better.

I don't know what killed the armadillo, but vultures found it pretty quick.
This one tried to drag the carcass. I guess it didn't want an audience while it was dining.
Another vulture was waiting nearby to swoop in.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Humid morning at Baytown Nature Center

This May morning before the rain started, it was a cloudy, muggy day at Baytown Nature Center.

Juvenile heron.



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Alligators on the move

This medium-sized gator headed the other way when I rolled down the window to snap a pic with my phone. I guess it doesn't like orange cars.
Driving into Sheldon Lake State Park this morning, I met an alligator crossing the road after several inches of rain had been dumped in the park during the night.

It's mating season for the alligators, which are looking for mates and nesting sites

Gators aren't unusual at Sheldon Lake. There are signs warming visitors to keep their distance and never feed the animals.
A few hours later this alligator was spotted on the ramp at Pond 1. Of course I walked over to see it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Stopping along the River Road of Big Bend Ranch State Park

Marker along the trail to Closed Canyon.
Our car couldn't handle the rough road to the interior of Big Bend Ranch State Park. However there are trailheads along the River Road/FM 170 from Lajitas to Presidio.

The trail to Closed Canyon is a nice walk and the temperature drops about 10 degrees when you get inside the canyon.

The view from just inside Closed Canyon, which may look familiar if you saw the last scene of Boyhood.
A few feet along the Cerro de las Burras Loop, you can see a rock formation that looks like a skeleton head. It is easily accessible.
Yep, there are lots of rocks. This one was along the Hoodoos trail.

The wildflowers were blooming in mid April.
And the cactus flowers were an extra treat.