This Leaf beetle (Chrysolina auripennis) was just moving along just fine. Its antenna has a beaded look.

Then a big ole predator (me) nudged him. Its antenna and legs pulled into a protection mode.

I flipped him and could see how small it had made itself. Pretty cool! I did flip it up right when I left.

This Spotted Cucumber beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata) had hitched a ride inside. I freed it to the outdoors. 

One type of oyster fossil in our area is known as the Devil's toenail (Gryphaea arcuata). Our property is on the edge of Ft. Worth prairie or some call it the Grand prairie. The Devil's toenail can also be found in many places. Look for gravely limestone places.

Keep looking!


Happy Thanksgiving!

 I hope everyone is having a safe and happy Thanksgiving. :-)

Pareidolia - The perception of apparently significant patterns or recognizable images in random or accidental arrangement of shapes and lines. For example, when you look at the clouds and you might see dragons, dogs, monsters, people and so on. I have a donkey on my window in the condensation. 

Seed transport by Gracie Transportation Limited.


How do they do it...hairs and an awn. (10X)
 Pretty efficient. And Gracie didn't even notice.

Stay safe! And keep looking!


 I had my FOS (First of season) Brown Creeper this afternoon. Always exciting to see one in our woods. One time years ago when I was out with Claire at Unit 55 (Rucker's), we saw a Brown Creeper. It was doing it usual business going up the tree hunting for its next meal. While we were sitting there, all of sudden the Brown Creeper froze and was trying to look very small. A moment later we knew why. A Sharp-shinned Hawk came racing down the ditch and went right passed us. Creeper was fine and we had a fun view of the whole event!

There was a lot of robins in the woods too. The Brown Creeper was too far away and too small to get a photo.

Pretty reddish grasshopper (Melanoplus species)

Eryngo (Eryngium leavenworthii) still has some color.

Nostoc does not look like much when it is dry.
Left side is dry; right side wet. When wet it is jelly-like. Nostoc is a cyanobacteria. 

Close up view at 400X.

I made a spore print of a mushroom I found a couple days ago. Still didn't help me ID it. Spore print can help ID sometimes or least assist in the clues. Interesting enough, spore prints don't always match the color of the mushroom. 
Spores were bumpy, greenish and about 8 microns.

I wonder what the squirrel found in the hole it dug. Paw print is to the left center.

Keep looking!

Damp morning

Foggy and drizzly this morning. It did clear up around 2pm here. Nothing in the rain gauge for November yet.  Update: Getting rain at 7:11pm. By 8pm we got .47 inch. Yeah!

Seed head, possibly a Sleepy Daisy (Xanthisma texanum var drummondii).

The damp weather brings out the green in these lichens.

 Red Paper Wasp's (Polistes carolina or P. rubiginosus) antenna was little bent.

Narrow-winged Tree Cricket (Oecanthus niveus) was a cool find today! And it was on the ground. Usually it is only found in trees or very tall plants. 

Keep looking!


Earth-boring beetles

Blackburn's Earth-boring Beetles (Geotrupes blackburnii) were out again on this cool morning.

Most of the beetles (Geotrupes blackburnii) were on their backs. Waiting for it to warm up.

Fungus on a downed Hackberry tree

Closer view. Sorta looks like scat.

The mushroom is a fruiting body of the larger fungus organism. This one had a hint of blue green on the cap.
Really were pretty gills.

 Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinal) is native to Eurasia. In the spring, I see many types of insects visiting them. From Crescent butterflies to honey bees.


Slick as snot


Slick as snot, figurative (meaning neato) and literally. Jim was pushing trees and this was left in the dirt. From a distance, I thought the white was going to be piece of pottery or glass because this was where an old house once stood. Imagine my surprise when I saw the rest of it covered with dirt. The purplish color was so cool!  Next I examined it even closer. I found that the interior layer was slick as snot. Ok the technical term would be gelatinous but you get the picture.

The gelatinous interior.

Brought it back to the house to clean it further.

I cut it open to get a sample for the spores.

And of course I had to look at the spores. This is at 400X. It is a Club-shaped Stinkhorn or also called Stink Poke  (Phallogaster saccatus). First I have ever seen!

Also came across this egg casing.
It was very crumbly; not hard at all as I had expected. I did not find any critters.

A piece under the microscope.

Keep looking!

The rain sky gods...

 I think the rain sky gods were toying with us today. Not a drop here.

I was surprised to see this guy in the path this afternoon. This is all I saw at first.

It was about 33cm (12 inches) long. When it got tire of me, it slithered under the KR grass clump and disappeared.

The scales are keeled. There are four subspecies of the Lined snake (Tropidoclonion lineatum). Since this is Texas SO maybe it is Texas Lined snake (Tropidoclonion lineatum texanum)???

It was an eye catching piece of a beetle. Nature can not be out done.

Keep looking!