Sunday, March 29, 2015

Damselfly blends into in Rio Grande Valley's wildscape

Damselfly. Look closely.
On a trail a few miles from the Rio Grande along the tip of Texas, this damselfly was hoping we would pass by without noticing it sitting on a log. We almost did.

There it is.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Four orangish brush-footed butterflies at national center


Empress Leila
On a cloudy March day the bright butterflies looked even brighter at the National Butterfly Center. 

All of these orangey fliers are brush-footed butterflies or nymphalidae.

Sorry I didn't get pics of their little front legs that are covered in hairlike scales. Maybe next time I can get  them to show some leg.

American Lady
Pearl Crescent
Red Admiral. I really like the Red Admirals, but I'm never able to get a good pic.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Playing spot the moth

One of the National Butterfly Center trails.

We were walking along the upper trail at the National Butterfly Center in South Texas looking for butterflies. Yet we kept noticing the flutter of little moths that blended with the leaf litter.

The Thin-lined Owlet Moth seemed right at home along the shady woodsy path. Watch your step.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sharing the walkway with a little snake



Little brown snake why are you on the sidewalk?

The concrete maybe warmer than the flowerbeds all around, but you are in danger of being stepped on or scooped up by a predator.

So quit flicking your tongue at us and get moving. Be safe!


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Colorful birds in the Valley

After the feeders are filled at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, the birds come.

It's a treat to see these bright beauties: the Great Kiskadee and the Green Jay.

Great Kiskadee
Green Jay
The Plain Chachalaca isn't as colorful, but it is another bird you need to travel south to see. It's about the size of a chicken and loud.

Plain Chachalaca

Four-legged fan of Rio Grande Valley birding center


What is that?

We had been greeted by rabbits, a cacophony of birds and maybe a roadrunner at the entrance to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park.

We were ready to be amazed by more wildlife when we approached the first bridge. Looking down a side road we spotted the creature.

A chupacabra?

Actually it looked like a cat.

We saw a ranger down the trail and asked him about the cat. He said he didn't know of any domestic cats in the park and maybe it was a jaguarundi. How exciting!

But would an elusive jaguarundi sit in the open to watch us?

When I enlarged the photo later, it became clear.

This wasn't a jaguarundi. Just a fat house cat that had found a paradise at the birding center.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Butterflies and signs of spring

Muddy trail.
Brazos Bend State Park volunteer Chuck D. took us to his favorite Falcate Orangetip spot hoping to see the butterflies sitting on lichen before the sun's warmth made them active.  They must have heard we were coming because they weren't there.

They starting flying after lunch and after we had left.

The little white butterflies are here in March so there is still time to see one.
Gemmed Satyr
Another sign of spring is the Gemmed Satyr. The butterfly prefers grassy woodlands and is active March through October.