Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tree frog rides along for change of address

 A feisty tree frog came in from a nearby ditch with the clumps of grasses to be sprigged and relocated in ponds at Sheldon Lake.

 This one was released in a pond near the environmental learning center at Sheldon Lake. Maybe you will see it during your next visit.

Sometimes you are surprised by what you find in the smelly, muddy buckets of grasses. Usually it is a pleasant surprise.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mod squad: American Lady vs. Gulf Fritillary

They both have orange topsides, although they are not as studied as Texas' state insect, Monarch.

But American Lady and Gulf Fritillary butterflies have distinctive undersides that really pop.

They look so mod.

These two were cruising the Basket Flowers along a mowed field close to the butterfly garden at Baytown Nature Center.

American Lady

Gulf Fritillary

Monday, July 7, 2014

Duskywing finds red flowers

An expert could tell which Duskywing butterfly I noticed on the Turk's Cap.

A common Duskywing in Texas in the Horace's Duskywing.

Check out this video. It's about the Northeast, but most of these skippers skip through Texas.



Friday, July 4, 2014

Cicada reveals fresh wings

Oh no, I thought, this one didn't make it.

I found the cicada emerging from its old skin on the ground. I thought it was dead so I picked it up to snap a pic with my iPhone.

But it wasn't dead. It started moving and completed the molting in my hand.

 When it started crawling up my arm, I put it back on the ground.

It continued crawling. But it seemed so vulnerable. I decided to place it on a tree.

I guess that's where the cicada wanted to be. Clinging to the bark, the cicada became very still while it unfurled its wings and stretched out its abdomen.

Such pretty wings.

Good luck, cicada. Sorry I so rudely interrupted your emergence.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sulphur butterflies are quick, quick, quick

Note the long front legs, which make walking easier.

Here, there and over there.

It would be smarter to shoot video of the Sulphur butterfly than try to get a good still with a camera.

These little yellow fliers are so quick.

The rapid flights are mostly males looking for mates, according to Butterflies and Moths of North America.

The Sulphur family is a big group of yellow butterflies. There are Clouded Sulphurs and Cloudless Sulphurs.

A common one in Texas is the Cloudless Sulphur. And don't forget the Orange Sulphur.

They are about the size of a quarter.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Smallest butterfly of North America is easily overlooked

The smallest butterfly of North America loves the glasswort that lines the road leading to the Brownwood Pavilion at Baytown Nature Center.

The Western Pygmy Blue butterflies are looking for places to lay eggs and checking out the wildflowers.

Walk along the road and the little butterflies about the size of your smallest fingernail will flutter along.

Western Pygmy Blues are weak fliers that stay close to the ground. Once they land, their coppery wings are hard to spot.

The little Western Pygmy Blues are abundant. Most people just don't notice them.

Peek-a-boo with a flighty subject.

The flower pose by a notched-wing tiny Texas butterfly.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Visiting box turtle has shell and leg scars

A box turtle showed up in our yard. A dent in its shell looked like a wound caused by a mower.
Freddie the dog inspects the visitor.

When it finally came out of its shell, you could see that its front leg was missing toes.

Scars didn't slow this turtle with a seriously cute face.

Before I took the box turtle to a woody area behind our house safe from mowers, I looked online to check the turtle's ID and discovered that TPWD is conducting a Box Turtle Survey Project.

It looks like an Eastern (Three-Toed) Box Turtle. Growing up in West Texas, we called them terrapins.

I logged our visitor into the the survey. Maybe this Slap Out Gully turtle will contribute something to the citizen science project. Or I would like to think maybe it will be found 50 years from now, perhaps 500 miles away, continuing its journey.