Wet day

It was a wet drippy day and only in the mid 30's today.

I tried to catch a water droplet fall. This is the first of many shots.

A little further along and you can see the reflection of tree branches in the droplet.


Dropped :-)

I tried again on another droplet on a Bois D'arc tree.


Gone! My fingers were too cold to keep trying. Maybe I will try again on a warmer rainy day?

The moss is sucking up the water and standing to attention. Mosses do not have roots like plants. They do absorb water through their leaves. Mosses do have little root-looking parts called rhizoids that hold them to the substrate. Using a capillary action, rhizoids draw up water between threads also.

A lot of foliose lichens get greener with water. This is because of the green algae layer just under the upper cortex (which is sorta like an outer skin). Lichens absorb their water by soaking it through the cortex. Some lichens like this one pictured here have rhizines (which look similar to a root) to hold it to the substrate.

One of the tests to help identify lichens is to see if they fluoresces under  UV (black light). There are several different lichens in this photo. Three different lichen species are fluorescing different shades. The leafier ones are just purple from the UV light and not fluorescing.  

Keep looking!


Closed for business

The Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) was closed for business today. I don't blame it with temp being near 41 degrees around noon. Temperature kept falling in the afternoon so by 5pm it was 38 and 'twas windy all day...brrrrr! 

The stinkhorn (Phallus) was out however.

I cut it open to take a gander at its inners. Hollow and gelatinous.

Colorful Hackberry berries!

Gall on a Hackberry. 

Shelf fungus.

Every time I look under the microscope, I'm awestruck. Watch this video of a moss opening up when I added a drop of water. Amazing since it had been in a dark envelope for a year!

Keep looking!

Close up

 If you remember a few posts ago I showed you the Cedar Waxwings feathers that were found on the grasslands. I decided to do a closer look at them under the microscope. Of course it was cool :-)

These are the subjects for today.

The yellow is on the tips of tail.




So this is the close up the red tips on the secondary wing feathers. It is a waxy secretion which is an astaxanthin, a carotenoid pigment. It is unclear to ornithologists what the purpose of them is for sure, but course they have theories. One theory is that it has to do with the age and fitness. It is interesting to note that the older the bird gets, the more tips they have. 

100X where it on the feather.

This is the tip at 400X.

This was the vein of the grasshopper wing at 100X.

Here it is at 400X.

Keep looking!

Red sky in morning

The old saying "Red sky in morning, sailors take warning" might be applicable with rain and snow forecasted this week. "A red sunrise can mean that a high pressure system (good weather) has already passed, thus indicating that a storm system (low pressure) may be moving to the east." Looks like Denton is on fire from our house... LOL.

Just enough sun to make the Spring Beauty pretty! It was mostly cloudy here today.

Post Oak bud that has a gall which makes the stem swell. Looks like an organic vase. :-)

Fluffy down feather.

Praying mantis egg case (ootheca) looks like a caterpillar.

I like how the Praying Mantis followed the twig in making its case.

This is just in case you have not met COVID-19. Claire gave it to us. LOL. We have hung it on the wall so that we are socially distance from it. I'm not sure if COVID wears a mask to protect us or to protect itself from humans.

Keep healthy! And keep looking!

Just a shell of its former self


I found this beetle shell at the base of Post Oak.

I guess the head and the inners are yum parts.

Goldeye lichen (Teloschistes exilis) with the outer layers of some seed. I actually found several of the same outer layer of this seed in several places as I was hunting for stuff with my loupe today.

Maybe an old roadrunner nest.

Silver Nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium) berries are always a bright spot in the winter landscape.

I thought I would share these two articles with y'all below. The second article original findings was published in Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.

Winter Beauty!


Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) is blooming so I will nominate that the common name be changed to Winter Beauty. It is not uncommon for me to see this flower blooming now. Perhaps for the last five years, it has started blooming in early January. This is definitely the earliest date I have seen it however.  

Beetle tracks go straight!

This one's tracks not so much.

Thorns on midrib of a blackberry leaf.

Keep looking!

Red and green!

 Red and green for Christmas day!

Coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus).

Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana).

Wild Plum.

Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida).

Blackberry leaf.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium).

Prickly Pear cactus and tuna.

Post Oak (Quercus stellata).

Unknown plant rosette.

Moss with its sporophytes.

Unknown leaf on a rosette.

Live Oak (Quercus fusiformis)

Plants still hanging on to old growth. And new growth for the coming year!

Hope y'all had a wonderful day!

Keep looking!