Thursday, June 9, 2016

So MUCH blooming!

 Blue-eyed grass
  Bi-color sage
Not sure
Giant coneflower
 Dwarf water lily 'Indiana'
 Mexican hat
  Dalberg daisy
  Common yarrow
 Cut-leaf penstemon
 Shasta daisy
Society garlic
Coneflower (TALL!)
 Windowbox wood sorrel
  Rubeckia 'Autumn Colors' (surprise from seed)
  Pink skullcap
  Larkspur and grey santolina
  Purple skullcap
  'Longwood Blue'
  Mexican oregano
  Texas bush-clover
  Native globe mallow
 Heartleaf skullcap
  Wedelia (zexmenia)
  Texas lantana
  Trumpet creeper
  Trumpet creeper
Fall aster
   Simpson's rosinweed
   Fragrant gaillardia (pincushion daisy)
   Lindheimer's beebalm
   Wright's skullcap (a volunteer)
Turk's cap 'Pam's Pink'

Scarlet bouvardia

Cool calling behavior of a greater roadrunner

We visited Palo Duro Canyon State Park June 5-6, 2016, and were fortunate to observe this greater roadrunner perform a call. Better yet, James got a video. Other observers say that this is a mating call, but I don't know that for certain.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A new species we could do without

Yeah. We've got a raccoon in the back yard. Our first ever. He's about the size of a small bear cub. He (she?) showed up this morning. James saw him/her first. We ran out and got some photos. Then the rascal headed up into the oaks.

He came back down later, and I got pretty up close with my camera. Raccoons are beautiful animals. You can't argue against that. But I also know what a nuisance they can become, too. So I'm hoping and praying that this one moves on somewhere else. 

See the mockingbird in the top left hand side of this photo? It was protecting its territory. It's got three babies that will fledge soon.
Back up the oaks a second time.
 He's trying to snooze in a squirrel nest.
Now the raccoon is napping in another squirrel nest. Can't you just tell what he's thinking? I wish those blasted two-legged things on the ground would stop waking me up!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

New snake species and other stuff

We had a beautiful and relaxing Memorial Day at home. It followed an early morning storm that started out with vicious winds, but calmed after an hour or so. The weather has been so bizarre, but we're grateful for the rains. As long as we don't get TOO much! 

For most of the day, we sat on the back patio and watched the birds. We have a pair of mockingbird parents who are feeding three starving babies. They fight off the squirrels and bombard other mockingbirds who venture into their territory. At one point, I decided to get up and check some milkweed. On my way, I spotted a SNAKE in the velvetleaf mallow! James grabbed his camera and took photos. Meet a redstripe ribbon snake (Thamnophis proximus rubrilineatus)! According to what I've briefly read, this species lives around water so I'm not sure how it ended up in our back yard. 

Later, James spotted this juvenile yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) in some salvias. Yay!
Two young eastern fox squirrels gorged on a corn cob that James put out. 
And a Gulf Coast toad hopped by, too, during our afternoon of wildlife watching. 
On our neighbor's side of the fence, we spotted silken guidelines so naturally we had to go investigate. I suspect that a giant lichen orbweaver lives somewhere wayyyyyyyy up in a live oak. Her web must be HUGE, but it's only visible at night when she's out (and I'm not).