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Shooting stars

On the tour, we had a nice view of a female Harrier that sailed across in front of us. That was the bird highlight. We had several Loggerhead Shrikes, meadowlarks, and of course the vultures that day as well.
 
After the Garnett Preserve, we stopped in to check on another special Shirley plant on the way to the next prairie.
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It was not in bloom, but at least the plant is still there! It is the Large Beardtongue (Penstemon grandiflorus). It right at the road edge where the road crews might grade over it. I collected seeds from it a few years back...you're welcome Bill F.




A few hundred yards before we reached the Payne Prairie, there is a old road that probably led to an old homestead. Besides these periwinkles on the roadside, there are tulips and daffodils. 





We had to look hard to find a few Shooting Stars blooming. They are just starting at the Payne Prairie!






At the Becker Prairie, these Astragalus lotiflorus are the main flowers blooming that day.






But there were a dozen or so Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon meadia) that have started to bloom!





That day was a tough day for getting photos as you can see that the wind was a blowin!






A lot of hand holding! It will be a couple of weeks before it is the peak of the Shooting Stars. This flower was Shirley's most favorite! It is a beauty!





Indian Paintbrush (Castejilla purpurea) is starting as well.






The yellow Paintbrush (Castilleja var citrina) was there too.




A few daisies (Tetraneuris species) also with their sunshine faces showing at the Becker Prairie!





Just down the road from the Becker Prairie, the Clove Currant (Ribes aureum) was blooming. We were lucky that a few had been spared by the brush cutters because they were next to a big tree. And some were closer to the private fence line.




Close up the long funnels on the Clove Currant. This plant can cause contact dermatitis. Shirley had a story about it; her and Lisa B. both made contact. I have not touched it to see if I'm allergic. I took the word of the expert!




When almost home, on the rocky ranch road, we found the Texas Bluestars (Amsonia ciliata avar texana) blooming!




Keep looking!


 

Redbuds!

 We took a hiking and driving tour yesterday in Montague and Cooke counties. Today's post will be the hiking part on the Garnett Preserve. This is now owned and managed by the Thomsen Foundation. Always a delight to visit this wonderful preserve with 469 species of plants. 


The Redbuds are just spectacular! This is a view looking down from the mesa to the neighbor's property next to the Garnett Preserve. They seem to be fuller and a deeper red this year. I wonder if our cold weather helped with this. Both Jeanne and I agreed that this year is the best we have seen. So if you haven't gone for a drive to look at the Redbuds, don't delay!



Remember how I told you about the Cymopterus (Vesper macrorhizus) having such pretty seed heads?
 
This photo is a plant from March 2nd post.



Here is the seed head! This the part that Shirley enjoyed most about the plant!


They have four or five fins on them. 


This was cool, a purple colored seed head!


I don't know if it comes from the lavender flowered one.


Its stem at the base was pretty too!






Wild Onions (Allium drummondii) blooming!





FOS of the Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida) for me.





Prickly Pear cactus!





Ground-plum (Astragalus crassicarpus).






Indian Paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa). Only a few were blooming on the preserve. But on our drive to Decatur this morning along Hwy 51, the paintbrushes are starting to pop as are several flower species! What a difference a day can make.





Small deer antler.





Bladderpod (Physaria engelmannii). The flowers are not quite open yet.





The grape leaf and bud was so pretty!






Many years ago when Hugh brought this property, he planted a Texas Buckeye (Aesculus glabra var arguta).

The color is vibrant on the new growth!


The buds are stunning!





This piece of land has a lot of limestone. Right in the middle of the rock is a small fossil.






Some how a peach tree has volunteered along the side of road in front of the preserve.



These were the highlights of the Garnett Preserve. Tomorrow I will post the Cooke County photos.

Keep looking!


Nesting!


Tis the season for nesting. This is a Bewick's wren nest that has been started. I can tell because it is made of small twigs in a nest box.





First Bluebird egg in the nest box in the backyard. Notice the material the bluebird uses.






This is a chickadee's eggs and nest. She uses moss, grasses, animal hair. This is actually the nest that had the dead bluebird in. She just pushed it to the side and built the nest.






Geometer moth. Sure interesting brown pattern!




 
The Ground-plums are popping up all over now. Love the spring!




Did y'all see the Worm Moon last night or this morning? It is pretty!




These photos were from yesterday. I got the itch and had to go out for a hike/driving tour today. I will post that adventure tomorrow.


Keep looking!






 

Pussy toes

More good stuff :-)



Pussy toes (Antennaria parlinnii)!  Did you think it was going to be a kitty cat? ;-) This was a favorite plant that Shirley liked to show me in Cooke County. It was certainly easier to see there since it was on the roadside.




Pussy Toes (Antennaria parlinnii) are in the Asteraceae family but are missing the familiar ray flowers (the part that looks like petals). So do you think it looks like pussy's toes?





This tree was weird and missing part of the bark at the base. It also has a light brown crust fungus on which has black insect holes (About two thirds up the trunk). I call it the ostrich skin fungus.





This tree might have made a nice place for a swing?






I thought the inner bark looked like teeth.






Looks like a weird dinosaur to me.





Hard to catch a close up the Goatweed Leafwing.





A prickly pear's pads in a series.





Huge grapevine!






Lots of violets. This was bit more pale that some of the earlier ones we saw.





Cool lichens and moss in the root of tree!





The leaves on a horsetail are at the joints/nodes and are tiny!




This creek was a bit different than most of the creeks I have walked on the grasslands. It had a lot of the fine limestone gravel and fossils.




Here you can see the fossil in the water.





View of the creek and Gracie!


I forgot to mention, we heard a Black and White Warbler along the creek. Yesterday, the Black-chinned hummer showed up at home. Today at the house, I had a Scissortail Flycatcher and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. And the Carpenter Bees were buzzy about at my wood pile. And I saw two Monarchs! Guess those down at Kathy's house finally made it up here. ;-)






Keep looking!