Saturday, May 18, 2024

Odd caterpillar

Mother Nature has the most interesting and unusual cast of wild characters. When I found this little guy, I was really mystified. With help from iNaturalist friends, we identified this as a wedgling moth larva (Galgula partita). Here's what an adult looks like. Yes, I've observed the adults numerous times in our Wildscape. Cool!





My photo of an adult

Interesting ant....NOT

This little guy caught my eye last month (April 27). Looks like an ant, right? Wrong. It's a velvet ant, most likely Ephuta sp. (Velvet ants are wingless, solitary wasps.) I thought it was especially interesting to see how it held its abdomen up in the air as it crawled (see video).

 


 

New toad to me

Ever seen one of these before? I hadn't. James unearthed it from our mulch pile last month (April 30). Meet a western narrow-mouthed toad (Gastrophryne olivacea). I got some photos, then James released it in the ditch. That brings our frog and toad species list up to five now: Blanchard's cricket frog, Rio Grande leopard frog, Gulf Coast toad, and Cope's gray treefrog.

Blanco fifth graders and spiders

Last Wednesday, I spent most of my day with fifth graders at Blanco Elementary School. I lightened up my "Spiders of Central Texas" slide program and presented it to four science classes. Thank you for inviting me, Mrs. Blenden! I hope we make this an annual tradition. P.S. She told me later that day that her students were already saving and identifying spiders on campus! Time well invested, I'd say.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Day in the Park 2024

What a great day yesterday! James and I–along with Mary Jo H. (above with us) and many other Texas Master Naturalists from the Highland Lakes chapter–for the day hosted third graders from Blanco Elementary School at Blanco State Park. The kids rotated from station to station, which included my "Spiders" station along with monarchs, art, fish and a few others. A little drizzly but everything went fine.


 

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Texas feathershank

Last October, I spotted a new-to-me species at a sweet friend’s house several blocks north of us. It’s called Texas feathershank (Schoenocaulon texanum). Alison said I could dig a few up, but I never got around to it. So she bagged me up some seedheads. Yesterday I finally tossed them in some beds. One bed is in the Meadow (photo is so I can remember where). I think I’ve already forgotten where I tossed the rest! LOL!
 




Wednesday, April 17, 2024

New friend

In March 2021, I bought two goldfish for our stock tank pond. I thought the bad Uri storm the prior February had killed our gambusia. (Some did survive!) My two goldfish from Ace Hardware thrived and grew bigger. Then one day last year, I leaned down and peered into the water. Only one goldfish appeared. Where was the other one? Sadly, I found it on the ground by the tank, gray and lifeless. I'll never know what happened. 
 
Yesterday, I finally bought a new friend for Goldie (as call her/him now) at Red Crest Pet Shop in Boerne. However, I nearly killed the poor fish (a Shubunkin variety), trying to get it out of the bag. But I'm happy to report that I did see it swimming around last night. So it survived! And I'm pretty sure Goldie's happy to have a friend again. That is, if goldfish feel happy. LOL!