Wednesday, July 30, 2014

San Jacinto Monument in a landscape

Here is a view of the San Jacinto Monument from a fishing pier at Baytown Nature Center.

On the other side of the island obscuring the monument base, ship channel traffic passes regularly

Monday, July 28, 2014

Yellow blob in the yard

Some think it looks like dog barf.

But when I noticed the yellow blob, I thought it looked like a couple of sad Peeps, possibly trying to escape, had melted in my yard.

Actually it is yellow slime mold, a bright spot in the yard that sometimes causes alarm, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service. However this blob won't hurt anyone and will disappear with weather changes.

According to Fun Facts About Fungi:
Physarum polycephalum is a plasmodial slime mold. The yellow blob we notice is a huge single cell. Unlike most cells, which have only one nucleus, this cell contains millions of nuclei. Physarum plasmodia are usually 3 or 4 cm ( ½ - 1 " ) in diameter, but can get to be 30 cm (about 1 foot) or more in diameter, and 3 to 5 cm thick. This giant cell moves, but only pictures taken over several days can show its progress. Its top speed is 1 mm per hour.

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.