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 Pleasant day eh!

Wispy cirrus clouds  form between 16,500 and 45,000 feet.





The ant and the Darkling Beetle (maybe Eleodes tricostata). Both went their separate ways.






This ground beetle was making a meal of the leftover pecan. Maybe in the Pterostichus genus.







Milkweed fluff.






Gayfeather (Liatris mucronata) standing tall!






Not sure what plant this is, but the head was so interesting.



Keep looking!





Patchy frost

 We had some patchy frost this morning. Our recorded low was 31.6 degrees.

First frost of the season!






When it warmed up, the bugs came out. This is a Little Yellow (Pyrisitia lisa).






White Checkered-skipper (Pyrqus genus)





 Zabulon Skipper (Poanes zabulon) on the Fall Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides).






I believe this little red spider might be in  the Dwarf Spiders (Erigoninae) subfamily. It was only about 4mm (3/16 inch). I thought it was a red mite at first, but you can see its web. It was in the Goldeye lichen (Teloschistes chrysophthalmus - the orangey lichen) before I nudged it.

The lichen where it was hiding before the nudge.




Keep looking!


Sunshine is back!

 Yeah, for the sunshine I say but of course grateful for the rain we got.

The wood of a dead Live Oak (Quercus fusiformis). Kinda of an oxymoron, eh.






A few scales left on the armadillo tail.





Snake skin in our garden pond.






The Loggerhead Shrike has a new item on its menu...the  field cricket (Gryllus genus).




A stinkhorn (Phallus hadriani) was knocked over. You can see it is hollow and spongey-like.





I don't know what is going with these Blackburn's Earth-boring Beetles (Geotrupes blackburnii). It is like they have been drinking the hard stuff. I thought this afternoon they would be gone and at the very least livelier, since it has warmed up (62 degrees at my house). There are over 20 these beetles in 6 foot area.



Keep looking!



No more drips today

 It was a bit nippy today and the rain has stopped.  We got almost 3/4 inch of much needed rain over the last several days at our house.



The rain really brings out the colors of the lichens on this Bois D'arc (Maclura pomifera).




Beautiful fungus at the base of a Post Oak (Quercus stellata).





Seeds have already dispersed on this Sleepy Daisy (Xanthisma texanum var drummondii)







Keep loooking!




Drips!

On  October 27, 2017 we had sleet (at least at my house). Glad it is not a repeat performance today. Thirty-three degrees is the lowest we have had today. That is cold enough for me. Sure makes Gracie frisky.

Drips on honeysuckle vine.






Drips on Frostweed (Verbesina virginica).






Drips on the grasshopper (might be Chortophaga viridifasciata) and he was not moving.






Drips on the Praying Mantis.
The Praying Mantis was not moving either.






Drips on the grass. Have you noticed how a water droplet magnifies?





Drips on the Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans).
 .





Drips on the barbs.






Drips on the Texas Paper Wasp (Polistes apachus). Several were out on the concrete.






Drips on the Lovegrass (Eragrostis species).





Blackburn's Earth-boring Beetle (Geotrupes blackburnii) was an interesting find. There were about six of these beetles laying on their backs. Of course, they were all barely moving because of the cold.

Closeup. And yes drips on the beetles!




Keep looking!






Eggs hatched... Eupelmidae Wasps

 The eggs I found on the Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) took about 16-21 days to hatch.


This is what they looked like when I collected them back in September.



Closeup of the eggs hatched.


I identified them to the superfamily Chalcidoidea because they do not have any venation in their wings.  I could not get it any further than that.  Brittany pointed out the eggs looked like they should be in the hemipteran order (such as true bugs, aphids, cicadas, or leafhoppers etc). As I was looking for something else later, I believe I have found what the eggs were.  The eggs fit the description of a stink bug (Pentatomidae) with the ring of spines around the edge of lid. So the little wasp had parasitized the eggs. BugGuide thought the wasps should be put in the Eupelmidae family.  They were about 2mm long. There are about 2,200 described North American species in the superfamily. They are an important group helping to keep other insects population in check. (Study of Insects by Charles A Triplehorn and Norman F Johnson, 2005). In the aforementioned book, they said "pest population". I take issue with that phase because it puts it in human terms on what is defined as a pest.
And by the way, Brittany is very very good artist. Many thanks to Claire, Brittany, Diane and Karl (all my scientists) for your input. Thanks to BugGuide's expertise for taking it to family!






Closeup of the wings. They have 4 wings, and no venation (veins like a bumble bee's wings for example)




Another note: Yesterday I posted a photo of a ranch sign with "We don't rent pigs" written on it. Thanks to a person that does not want be named but does our laundry; he googled it. And now we have the answer. It is from the movie and book, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. You can read some quotes from the movie here and another in the foodsafetynews.com article which in the last paragraph the article says, " the tongue-in-cheek line from Gus McCrae saying “We Don’t Rent Pigs” can be interpreted as saying we don’t tolerate dishonest people who want to “rent” pigs."  So there, the mystery is solved by the unnamed person. Thank you!




Keep on looking!






Birdy

 It was a birdy day. Saw some very nice birds! Some of my "first of season" birds were dark-eyed junco, white-crowned sparrows, and red-shafted northern flickers. Also saw chipping sparrows, vesper sparrows, cardinals, blue jays, red-tailed hawks, mourning doves, meadowlarks,black vultures and turkey vultures.


Got a great look at the Red-shouldered Hawk.





Meadowlark





Multiple Loggerhead Shrikes were seen. 






Another Loggerhead Shrike on this gray day.






An Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa) to brighten the day!





These asters were absolutely stunning along the road. 




Closeup





Prairie Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa var rigidiuscula), a favorite fall flower of mine.

Closeup of the Prairie Goldenrod





Another surprise today was this Four-point Primrose (Oenothera rhombipetala) that still had some blooms.





Soapberry trees and sumac are starting to show their fall colors.




Lotebush (Ziziphus obtusifolia) another cool find.



Interesting farm implements parts welded on the fence.




Not sure what they mean here...We don't rent pigs.




Triple Creek Ranch gate has lots of stuff going on with it.







Very clever gate and is one of my favorite gates.





Clever play on words for this ranch sign.






And finally for cuteness...

Mama slow down!

We are really hungry.

Yum!

A cloudy and gray day in Montague County!



Keep looking!