Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Shopping carts and pelicans

White pelican and a shopping cart
While walking Baytown's nicely paved Goose Creek Trail near Goose Creek Park behind the library, I wasn't expecting to see shopping carts in the water.

Along the water's edge at the trail's end near Busch Terrace Park, there is a lot of litter. In addition to the usual water bottles, fast-food containers and tires, there are eight to 10 shopping carts. 

But the pelicans didn't seem to mind. They were using them as perches.

Shopping carts in Goose Creek. The building in the background in an old hospital. A developer said he is going to convert the building into an assisted living complex with a public restaurant on the top floor. But no work has been done on the property for years.

An unlittered view: The Goose Creek Trail gives you a different look at Baytown.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Grandmother's love of animals and photos

My maternal grandmother, Hattie, and I may have had some things in common.

The West Texas girl reportedly liked animals of all kinds.

Here she is holding an owl.
Grandmother Hattie (1901-1985) with a fawn.
She liked to take pictures also. The family albums are filled with snapshots thanks to Grandmother carrying her little box camera everywhere.

Her Conley Kewpie No. 2A camera now sits on one of my shelves.

The handle has been replaced a few times on my grandmother's favorite camera. This model was produced 1917-1922.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Monarchs enjoy the BNC butterfly garden

Buddies Jan and David H. released some tagged Monarchs and at least one of them found a friend.
After a tussle on the ground these two flew away together.
This beat-up faded Monarch found a bit of milkweed. I wonder where it began its journey.
Another milkweed stopover

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The close of October 2014

Scenes from the last week of October.

The Sea Purslane is blooming along the wetlands trails.  The tiny flowers are extra cute if you bend down to get a closer look.

Sesuvium portulacastrum

Also, the Gulf Fritillaries continue adding their impressive colors to the scenery.

The Gulf fritillary likes lantana.
Gulf fritillary
I love snapping pics of these orange ones.

The natural beauties pause so you can get a nice shot. And the patterns on both sides of their wings are completely different so it makes the butterflies really pop in the landscape.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Clouded Skippers like our St. Augustine

The three white dots are identifiers.

If you see a little brown butterfly flying low to the ground in your yard, it is most likely a Clouded Skipper.

The one-inch butterfly is the most abundant blackish-brown skipper in the Houston area, according to the Tvetens' Butterflies of Houston & Southeast Texas.

The little skipper likes to lay its eggs on St. Augustine grass, which makes is a year-round resident in our area.  It is most active February through November.

Monday, October 27, 2014

When a trail is littered with cash

Cash on the trail.     

 When I spotted the $5 and $1 bills on the trail, it seemed like a test.

You are not supposed to pick up anything at a nature center and put it in your pocket. Yet it is a good practice to pick up litter.

I glanced around. Nobody was around. And, thankfully, no body either.

However some pelicans were watching me. Was this a pelican prank, I wondered.

Was a string attached to the cash so the money could be yanked out of my reach if I tried to pick up the money?

I took a chance the pelicans were not punking me and picked up the money. The bills were dirty and extra crisp from drying in the sun, but they were real.

I glanced at the pelicans, but they didn't react when I stuffed in cash in my pocket to be recycled properly.

Pelican police watch me.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Sunday drive through Palo Duro Canyon

It was about 65F degrees on this October morning — a perfect day to visit Palo Duro Canyon State Park. 

Along the road we saw campers, cyclists and cars parked at trailheads. However it didn't seem very crowded for a Sunday morning.

There are six water crossings that can limit access to some areas of the park.
Rocks along the roadside beckon you to get out of the car and climb.
Some have the urge to climb higher than others.
Next time I will bring my camera and wear proper shoes. I shot this pics with my iPhone.

I spotted a big rock near the Chinaberry stop that looked like a good hike.

Or maybe I'll try the 5.75-mile roundtrip hike to the Lighthouse, the rock formation on the canyon's brochures. It's a popular trail that bikers and horses also use.