Friday, June 30, 2017

Western ironweed rescue attempt

Alas, the neighborhood herd of deer has increased this summer by two fawns. The other morning, James saw two does nibbling on a Texas lantana in the front yard. And we thought those were deer resistant. Ha!
 Anyway, they've been gnawing down our western ironweed as soon as it puts on new growth. This is a native that typically grows three feet high or more. Not this year! We originally purchased this plant in October 2014, and it'd been doing really well in the front yard. Until the deer found it. So James suggested that I transplant it. What I ended up doing was digging up a piece of it.
Western ironweed sends out rhizomes so what I did was cut off a piece at the mother base and dug out its long root. Then I potted it. Fingers crossed on this one, too. We have a woolly ironweed in the back yard that's really pretty. I searched my blog but couldn't find any photos of our western ironweed back when it grew tall and bloomed. (Bad me!) Stay tuned.

Dug-up transplants update

Scarlet pea (Indigofera miniata)
I'm happy to report that three of the four "neighborhood treasures" that I dug up in May survived and seem to be doing quite well in their new locations in our Wildscape.
Sensitive briar (Mimosa roemeriana)
Texas snoutbean (Rhynchosia senna var. texana)...this one "died," then came back up from the root.

My original velvet bundleflower (Desmanthus velutinus) prairie acacia (Acacia angustissima var. hirta) didn't make it so I dug up another. Fingers crossed.

Alamo vine seedlings update

If you'll recall (but only if you want to), I planted some Alamo vine seeds in a little pot several weeks ago. Not only did they come up, but some that I stuck in the ground did, too. I've been elated ever since1 Above is a photo of the original vine that I germinated from seed in a pot. Below are five more that came up from seed in the ground. I'll definitely be collecting seeds later this summer!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Five-spotted hawk moth

Five-spotted hawk moth (Manduca quinquemaculata). Last spotted here September 2011.

When you're looking for a flower....

...and find a cool spider instead...

I was looking along the street edge for the parralena that grows there when a movement caught my eye. A jumping spider! Isn't she cute? And so friendly, too. I released her in the rosemary.

Thank you to Marcus with Facebook's Jumping Spiders (Salticidae) group for identifying my spider girl as Phidippus pius.

Meadow mowed

 Time to mow, James announced, especially before July Fourth fireworks time. Okay, okay, I said. Before he got started, I pointed out a few places to mow around (like my velvet bundleflower prairie acacia and antelope horns). He was just grand about weed-eating around and saving the antelope horns (native milkweeds), which now poke up here and there around the Meadow. Looks nice!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Seek and find

So can you spot what I did a while ago in our stock tank? Here's a hint below....

 A Rio Grande leopard frog (Rana berlandieri)!!

JUNE 29, 2017...
Relaxing in the morning sun 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Spider mania

Jackpot! Two of my favorite spiders within close proximity of one another! A juvenile yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) to the left....

 And a pretty green lynx (Peucetia viridans) to the right...
 Here's a top view of them both.
A tiny red orbweaver, species unknown.

Heron gone fishin'

The other day, I heard a green heron squawking in the front yard. So I walked around to investigate. I laughed when I saw this heron "fishing" in a new rain puddle in our neighbor's driveway across the street. I took a video, too (link below). 

Nerve wracking then sad

Baby wrens grow really fast! If you'll recall, last week I posted photos of little Carolina wrens in a log bird house that hangs outside our bedroom window. They barely had their eyes open. Well, Sunday evening, I saw what I thought was one that had fallen out of the house. So I ran outside but couldn't catch the little fellow. If I had, I'd planned to return the bird child to the house. They were way too young to fledge. Or so I thought.
I went back inside our house and watched out the window again. Well, daggum it, a SECOND bird child tumbled out of the house! What? Then...yes, you guessed it....a third jumped out, followed by the fourth! For the rest of the evening, I was a nervous wreck, trying to make sure the little ones were discovered by predators (like, I have to confess, our elderly female cat).

Can you see the spread-out tail of a parent wren, perched on a branch to the left of the house? This baby was the last one to jump ship. They barely had feathers!

Here's the sad part. The next day, I saw a grackle on the other side of our chain-link fence, carrying something small in its beak. As I headed outside and around to the neighbor's side of the fence, the grackle dropped what it'd been holding. 

I had my sad suspicions about what I might find. 

I was right. A dead baby wren lay in the grass. That's nature, I told myself. The very sad side of nature. I'm hoping and praying the other three little ones somehow survived. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Common whitetail

 We don't see them often, but now and then damselflies and dragonflies visit our Wildscape. This morning, a friendly common whitetail (Plathemis lydia) allowed me to get some nice photographs. Thank you!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Remember to look closely

You never know what you might find.
(Crab spider lurking on Texas milkweed.)