Monday, July 14, 2014

We venture north

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge
Wow. For the third time, we took a short morning trip and ventured into new-to-us territory. We've been really adventuresome lately. This time, we explored the Doeskin Ranch Trails at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge northeast of Marble Falls. I visited there in April 2012 as part of my Texas Master Naturalist training, but it was fun this time to hike some trails with James. Plus, we had the refuge to ourselves the whole time!

First, we walked the short Pond & Prairie Trail. Along the way, we spotted a beautiful little wildflower, one I'd never seen before. I took some photos and then later sleuthed the identification myself using Marshall Enquist's Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country. The flowerhead reminded me of the golden dalea. Hmmm, the legume family. GOT IT! Purple prairie clover! By George, I was right! How exciting! I love to learn new species!
Purple prairie clover flower
Seedhead of purple prairie clover
Next we hiked the longer Creek Trail, which later meandered along a small stream. I spotted a clematis along the way, probably scarlet clematis. The creek was beautiful with maidenhair fern and lots of native grasses.






Western ironweed



OH MY! Then came The Highlight of the outing for me––I found Texas milkweed in bloom along the creek! I recognized it right away because we planted one last spring in our Wildscape, and it's flowering right now. I just find it so cool to find my Texas native "friends" growing in their natural habitats.



I shot a short video on the creek so you could hear the cicadas and rushing water. So peaceful, so beautiful.

video

By noon, the temps had risen to the high 90s so we called it quits and headed back to the car. Great outing!

2 comments:

TexasDeb said...

That's exciting to see native milkweed blooming. I've tried to transplant those with no luck. I'm going to try seed if I can remember to order it in time for the cold stratification it needs.

I keep reading about the shortage of milkweed and how dire things are for the migrating monarchs. If conditions were good for stands of native milkweed this year perhaps they still stand a chance.

Ragna said...

What a lovely place! Thank you for all the photos.

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