Friday, April 29, 2016

I covet rocks

Layers of geological history at Caprock Canyons.
Along the Canyon Loop Trail of Caprock Canyons State Park, you can get an up-close look at the layers of red rocks and gypsum.

It was amazing to walk beside the layers jutting out along the creek bed that had some standing water from overnight rain.

I saw several chunks of gypsum that I wanted to take home. That glistening rock would look great in my yard, I thought.

But I know the rules.

According to the Texas State Parks and Wildlife Commission:
It is an offense for any person to take, remove, destroy, deface, tamper with, or disturb any rock, earth, soil, gem, mineral, fossil, or other geological deposit except by permit issued by the director. 
I didn't take any home, but I did pick up a couple of rocks to admire. Don't tell the "rock disturbance rangers."

More layers and loose rocks.
Look at that great rock. But I can't take it home.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Bison and babies at Caprock Canyons

A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher keeps an eye on a bison and young one.
Oooh. There are babies among the Texas State Bison Herd at Caprock Canyons State Park near Quitaque.

The rangers warned us that the herd can get protective of the calves and to stay 50 yards from bison. These pics were shot from the car just inside the entrance to the park on an overcast day.

And don't make the mistake of calling them buffalo.

According to the brochure:
In America "bison" and "buffalo" are used to refer to the same animal. However scientifically speaking, there are no buffalo in North America. The only true buffalo are the African Cape Buffalo and Asian Water Buffalo.  

I guess someone should have told West Texas State University, home of the buffaloes. I am part of the herd that graduated before the school became part of the A&M system. Go, Buffs!

Nice profile.
Bison like to keep their heads down.
Munching along.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I want to be the mayor of Prairie Dog Town

This mother prairie dog at Caprock Canyons State Park looks like she's about to explode.
Although generally considered a nuisance by farmers, ranchers and cities because they are diggers, Black-tailed Prairie Dogs are tourist attractions in some state parks.

Bison get more attention at Caprock Canyons State Park, but the prairie dogs can be more fun to watch. It was a about 50 degrees and the wind was blowing about 20 miles an hour on the April morning we spent at the park during a stopover on our drive home from Amarillo.

The prairie dogs were popping in and out of their burrows. Their tails were twitching. They kept watching us, but didn't seem too concerned if we stayed in the car. 

Then along Highway 287, we saw the turnoff to Lake Arrowhead State Park. Although it was almost 5 p.m. and the rain was chasing us, we decided to stop. We found Prairie Dog Town by the loop near the fishing pier.

The critters at the Wichita Falls park were more vocal. They ran to their burrows and screeched at us while they were posed to duck underground when we got too close.

I could have watched them all day.

Prairie dog gives me the evil eye.

Sharing their concern about strangers on a rainy evening.


Friday, April 8, 2016

Snake in the grass leaves skin behind

Those eye spots are kind of freaky.
A snake 3-feet long is somewhere in my yard. It left behind its skin in the grass for me to find.

When I picked up the skin, I found it was longer than I expected.
I would prefer that the former owner of this skin stay hidden from me.
The skin is remarkably intact from tip to top.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

More butterflies common in the Valley

Carolina Satyr at Palmetto State Park.
What nice green eyes you have, Clytie Ministreak.
White-Striped Longtail at Resaca de la Palma State Park.
White-Striped Longtail at Estero Llano Grande State Park.

Sulphurs lead fast-paced lives

Sulphurs are in big hurry to find mates. They have no time for intrusive humans.
Two butterflies find each other.

A quick flower stop.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Butterflies and lantana

Zebra Heliconian in Resaca de la Palma State Park.

While spending a couple of misty, windy days in the Rio Grande Valley, we quickly discovered that if we found a sheltered patch of lantana in the sun, the chances of seeing butterflies increased.

Red Admiral, below, and Painted Lady at Choke Canyon State Park.

This Monarch also was along the birding trail at Choke Canyon State Park.