North breeze

 Cold front definitely blew in last night! Was 27 degrees this morning at my house and made it to 49. Glad it was sunny.

Someone had a meal...Mourning Dove feathers.

This blackish lichen is called a jelly lichen. When it is dry, it is blackish. When wet, it is rubbery and slightly greenish. Part of this one still is a bit damp and is greenish on the left side. Lichens are made of a fungus and a photobiont partner of either algae or cyanobacteria. The photobiont partner uses sunlight to synthesize nutrients from carbon dioxide and water.  This Collema species photobiont partner is a cyanobacteria also called blue-green algae. 

Coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus) berries hang on all winter. Coralberry is the host plant for the Snowberry Clearwing moth.

Western Horse Nettle (Solanum dimidiatum) is on the left (the big ones about 25mm or 1 inch) and Silver-leaf Nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium) is on the right. Easy to tell them apart by the size of the fruit when the leaves are gone.

Keep looking!

Plum interesting

Eggs of the Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth (Malacosoma americanaover) overwinter on wild plum trees (Prunus).

Same kind of eggs as above. The eggs are so pretty and glossy.

Backside of an old Praying Mantis egg casing with a foliose lichen growing on it on the wild plum tree.

The Loggerhead Shrike uses the wild plum tree to cache its dinner. I probably see shrike cache the grasshoppers more often as prey than any other critter. 

So imagine my surprise to see this scorpion!

Then I spot another one! Plum interesting!

Sap oozing out of the wild plum tree.

Another Praying Mantis egg casing on the wild plum tree.

This mushroom is the same one I had featured with the spore print. Interesting to see the color change as it ages.


Crow-poison (Nothoscordum bivalve) will be in for a cold surprise in the morning.

Leaves are still hanging on the willow trees. I bet not after this week.

Keep looking!


A little wet

 We got a little wet this afternoon. So far .1 inch. I ain't complaining; brings out the color in so much.

I believe this is probably a Firedot lichen (Caloplaca species) and a Xanthoria species  (the yellowish one) on a old fence post.

Bristle grass (Setaria species) with Little Bluestem grass (Schizachyrium scoparium).

Closeup. I am not sure if this a native species or not but it is pretty.

With the damp day, the moss stands to attention. This is Seductive Entodon Moss (Entodon seductrix) and is a common moss in our area. Correction: This is Leucodon julaceus probably. Also another common moss in our area. Thanks Jeanne!

Another pareidolia...I see a critter with two ears.

Keep looking!


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. Update: It is called carbon balls, cramp balls, or King Alfred's cakes (Daldinia concentrica) fungus home

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.