New species and more…

Posted: October 24th, 2009 under Activities, photography.
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We have a new species for the list, another bug (literally bug–a stinkbug found on a bush honeysuckle yesterday morning.)  There were lots of them, in fact: all adults, this time.  (You can tell by the wings folded onto the back.)


Parabrochymena arborea is, for a bug, quite attractive and interesting.  You can’t really see the red “kneecaps” on those front legs, or the delicate band of light red on the ruffled/pleated margin, or the little spikes decorating the pronotum.

I walked a lot of the land yesterday, wet as it was,  in my 30 year old rubber boots that don’t fit that well anymore.  My feet and the boots have not aged to the same shape.   But I saw a lot of really neat things, including a slightly beaten-up looking male twelve-spotted skimmer.


There were dozens (and dozens) of little bluets mating and laying eggs in every puddle; common green darners laying eggs in the larger still water;  variegated meadowhawks zipping about…oddly, none of the black saddlebags that I’d seen earlier in the week.

Besides enjoying the gorgeous weather, I was looking at the condition of the land and watercourses after the storms–we try to check this after every storm–and also see what if any damage had been done to the rain barns, etc.   With the downpour we had Wednesday night, we had some additional erosion along the main creek and also damage to the rock crossing at Westbrook–some that can’t be repaired until it’s dry enough to get equipment over there to move more rock.    However, it’s less than it could have been (would have been,  years back.)    We definitely need some way to keep soil from the lowest part of the west grass from being washed directly into the creek (and scouring the gravel bank there, which has the only populations of some of our rarer plants.)

At the creek itself, big banks of newly deposited mud were covered with tracks–in some places the mud was too wet still to take a good imprint, but here a great blue heron investigated the creek, and a rabbit came and went (presumably, not becoming the heron’s lunch!)


The commonest tracks were deer,  followed by coyote, fox, raccoon, and rabbit.

Once across the creek, I made it along the west gully system to Owl Pavilion by way of the Westbrook rock crossing…standing in the rock crossing, I saw the west woods enlivened by water chuckling away merrily downstream:


Upstream, the rock barrier created a more placid, wider, pond in the woods, but the water was flowing into it fast enough to run over, as well as through, the rocks.

The mowed maintenance paths are overgrown with newly sprouted grass, but here’s a look at another native, this time invading (too slowly for my taste!) KRB,  an introduced pasture grass.   Silver bluestem is a lovely grass, very palatable to livestock (and around here nicknamed “sugar bluestem” for its sweet taste.)


Much as I don’t like KRB, it is beautiful when it flowers and seeds in the fall, its rosy-purply color contrasting with the silver heads of this and the darker colors of little blue and big bluestem.   If it weren’t such an invasive and persistent pest…!

Today is another gorgeous day–the rain-washed sky deep blue, the colors coming on in the sumac, green grass where two months ago all was dead.  But my feet and those boots are not compatible until the feet recover, so I’m doing chores around the house and barn that don’t require the big boots.

1 Comment »

  • Comment by elizabeth — October 27, 2009 @ 8:16 am


    Friday *could* have been a red-letter new species day with a new bird for the place if I hadn’t been so tired and miserable by the time I got back south of the dry woods. I flushed a bird I’d never seen or heard before. Due to fatigue, I didn’t grab either the binocs or the camera fast enough. Discussion on the Texbirds list has made it clear it was almost certainly a Wilson’s Snipe, a Lifer for me and an addition to the 80acres bird list.

    I hope it has returned and I can get another shot (camera, that is, or even a view through binocs) of it.

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