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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!























On the fence

 Are you on the fence? I'm not and I have voted BUT this is not about that. The following is about stuff on the fence, my barbwire fence!

The Loggerhead Shrike was quite busy storing its cache on the fence. This beetle was still twitching so it was very fresh.





Maybe the Loggerhead Shrike's poop? If it is not, then another bird's perhaps. Song and Chipping sparrows have arrived here.





Praying Mantis' egg casing or ootheca as it also called, attaches to the wire.





Praying Mantis' egg casing on the T-post





Orange egg sac nestled by the barbs





Lovegrass (Eragrostis species) caught on the fence.





The Loggerhead Shrike finds a grasshopper to cache. In fact, along this one stretch of fence, there 8-10 grasshoppers and as many of the beetles as well. 





Maybe a spider's egg sac.





Here is the another beetle of the Loggerhead Shrike's cache. A small spider is taking advantage.  With the beetle already stuck, it makes a easy catch for the spider.





Often times, the deer  leaves a bit of hair behind when jumping the fence. Ouch.





Greenbriar (Smilax bona-nox) latches on.





Crustose lichens grow on the anchor post.





Bold Jumper (Phidippus audax) makes a meal of a smaller spider.





A convenient place to hang my homemade nestbox.





Keep looking!



Did you guess...

 Armadillo? That is what it was. It had died about a month ago. Gracie did try to gnaw on it then. It was not stinky enough to roll in at that time. But she decided to bring the tail over to the path yesterday. Only thing left of it now is the tail and the part of the outer "shell" or carapace. I imagine the coyotes took the rest.


Puddle! So grateful for the rain last night! I think most of the rain soaked in here. It has been a month since the last rain I think.





These stinkhorns (Phallus hadriani) are not showing the slimy spore mass yet at the top. But the volva (veil which encloses the fruiting body, often persisting after rupture as a sheath at the base of the stalk) is pinkish so that is what makes it the Phallus hadriani.





Frostweed (Verbesina virginica) barely hanging on.





Sap on a Common Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana). 
I see a head with a beak. What do you see in it?






Stay warm and keep looking!



Make your guess

Can you guess what this came from? I will give another hint at the bottom of the post.






Someone had a meal last night.






Imagine someone having a cup of coffee and conversations around the table? We often find pottery and glass shards on our place where there was once an old homestead. 





The unmistakable Turkey Vulture looking for its next meal. 





 Can you see why the Leaf-footed Bug (Coreidae) got its name?





Next hint. Now do you know the answer? 
If you don't know, I will post tomorrow what it was.






And for Gracie fans, she had a good day too! 



Keep looking!





More

 Yesterday's finds were great. The orchids were the highlight of the day's adventure, but certainly not all. The following are some of the other highlights.



It just blows me away that the remains of these creatures lived some 145-100 millions years ago and that most all of our area was under the sea. Mussels and clams were abundant. The spiral shaped one may be Mesalia (Turritella) seroato-granulata.


Rocks are so cool. The tube shape could be a tunnel for some creature. I am certain there is a technical name for it, but my rock hunting days were awhile back. Yep, it is mind blowing!



Someone should tell the Ambush bug (Phymata genus) that he is not very camouflaged on the purple.

Crab spider

A stink bug (Pentatomidae) nymph. The Eryngo (Eryngium leavenworthii) is great place to look for a variety of insects.



The Prairie Gaillardia (Gaillardia aestivalis) continues to bloom.

Prairie Gaillardia's (Gaillardia aestivalis) seed head is just as pretty as the flower.


Rusty Blackhaw (Viburnum rufidulum) had lost all its leaves, but the drupes were so beautiful.

Closeup


The Prickly Pear's (Opuntia) fruit or tuna as it is called, was another stand out.
We cut open the tuna to give it a taste. I had actually never tried it before except in a jelly that I had gotten from a store. It sorta had a watermelon flavor to me.


Live Oak's (Quercus virginiana) acorns were this beautiful chestnut color.

The inside of the acorn's cap

The outside of the cap




White Honeysuckle berries (Lonicera albiflora) were arranged like petals on a flower.


Another

One more arrangement of the berries.



The American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) can be made into a jelly. One of my prairie friends said he had tasted the jelly  and it was good. In Carol Clark's talk yesterday on historical uses of Texas plants, she also mentioned it. Carol has very informative blog and her latest post is about the books she referenced in her talk.

The plants were loaded!


The bracts remains after the flower has fallen on this doveweed (Croton).

Texas Sleepy Daisy (Xanthisma texanum var dummondii) seed head with anthers still clinging on.







Harvestman (Leiobunum vittatum) was hidden pretty well on the Live Oak (Quercus virginiana).






Orange polypore shelf fungus




Crustose lichen found on limestone.

The above lichen was UV positive. Hopefully I can do the chemical tests and look at the spores tomorrow.



Keep looking!