Outdoors

  • Outdoors

    Eagle Watching

    We get bald eagles on our pond every year around this time. In fact, when my parents arrived to visit after Christmas, one had landed at the shoreline behind our house and stunned and thrilled them to see. My dad managed to get an iPhone photo but I missed the chance to get a photo with my camera as it had flown away by the time I went in to get it. The birds have been around here a lot lately and so yesterday morning I spent some time sitting on the dock trying to get some photos. I got some decent photos but nothing to send to a bird…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Engulfed in Fungus – Attack of the Akanthomyces sp.

    Forget COVID-19, it’s fungi we should be worried about! We stumbled across this moth covered in a fungus in Angelina National Forest last October and I knew it was one of the cordyceps family fungi as soon as I saw it, though I couldn’t quite place the name at the time. I had seen several people post their own photos of insects parasitized by this fungus or a related species in the few months prior and just never thought I’d stumble across my own sighting. So, the fun thing about these fungi is that once they parasitize their host, they cover the body with this weird growth so that it…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors

    Insects Lurking About

    One of my favorite things to do when I have the time while hiking is to move slowly and see what insects and arachnids may be lurking about on a plant. There’s a good chance one is hiding in plain sight, like this American nursery web spider, Pisuarina mira. Common boneset, Eupatorium perfoliatum, the perfect haunt for that spider as it waits for insects to come nectar! This unassuming goldenrod looks devoid of faunal life but… you would be wrong. I’m unsure which bee this is and I may not ever get an answer because I only have the one photo, but it may be one of the leaf cutter…

  • Florida,  Hiking,  Native Plants,  Outdoors,  Travel & Places

    Christian Point Trail at Everglades National Park (2007)

    Looking back through some of these photos I wondered why I didn’t bother editing some of them. I had completed a small handful but had left a decent amount untouched for over a decade it seems. And it made me wonder why we didn’t make the effort to go into Everglades NP more often, though I know the reason why—you had to pay to go in! Big Cypress and so many other areas were free, and though we did pay for a state park pass, the pass let us in to a lot of parks and the ENP pass didn’t. That said, it isn’t like I wasn’t spending 5 days…

  • Memes,  Outdoors,  Wildflower Wednesday,  Wildflowers

    Woolly Ironweed, Vernonia lindheimeri | Wildflower Wednesday

    We came across this gorgeous ironweed species back in July 2021 at Pedernales Falls State Park. Like many other Texas species, it was named after Ferdinand Lindheimer, the botanist who was the first permanent-resident collector in Texas. I have a book about his journals that I’ve been meaning to read for a year and this might be the year I actually tackle it! This particular species is very much a central Texas plant, and on iNaturalist you can easily see all of the observations starting in DFW and trailing down along I-35 to San Antonio and then west towards Kerrville. There are a smattering of sightings west of this area…

  • Family,  Outdoors,  Thoughts

    Thanksgiving on SPI

    Having lived in Texas most of my life, minus the 8 years I lived in Florida, I’ve seen a good chunk of the state. There were corners I still hadn’t been to, and even places within regions I have been to that I haven’t seen. Forest asked a few weekends ago if it was possible to see every place on Earth, and he meant as if you could walk across every inch of Earth. We had to break it to him that it just wasn’t feasible to accomplish but I do admire his question and thought process! I knocked the panhandle out early when I was 3, flying for the…

  • Outdoors,  Thoughts,  Wildflower Wednesday,  Wildflowers

    Hibernation Mode

    Pasture Heliotrope, Euploca tenella I have entered hibernation mode as we switch from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time. One thing I do relish about this switch, at least for the first two months or so, is that after dinner there is time to do nothing and everything. I don’t feel the need to have to go outside because it’s still sunny out. I can become a cozy hobbit and mindlessly move from one thing to the next and then ponder that it is really too late while looking at the clock and being dismayed it is only 6:30pm. *sigh* (Patrice, in Alaska, is laughing at me now!) I haven’t…

  • Memes,  Outdoors,  Wildflower Wednesday,  Wildflowers

    Birdwing Passionflower, Passiflora tenuiloba | Wildflower Wednesday

    Last summer during our stay near Dripping Springs I spent some time wandering the area just outside of our AirBnB to see what I could glean for iNaturalist. I noticed a gulf fritillary wandering along a vine and it made me pause for a moment. Gulf fritillary should mean a passiflora somewhere but nothing was standing out to me directly as a passionvine. Of course a closer look meant that I found small fruits and flower beds and once I focused in on the interesting leaf shapes I knew it was for sure a passiflora species. My first thought was Passiflora affinis, which I had seen in areas nearby in…

  • 30 Days of Writing,  Creative,  Memes,  Outdoors,  Wildlife Wednesday

    Magnolia-cone Mushroom, Strobilurus conigenoides | Wildlife Wednesday

    While fungi aren’t quite wildlife or plants and I probably should have called this Fungi Friday instead, we’re going to shuffle our mushroom friends to a Wildlife Wednesday today. And while we’re enjoying Second Summer, I’m dreaming about a day that will come soon enough, one that requires a light fleece in the morning, warming to the high 60s or low 70s mid-day, but under foot, while traipsing about the woods, are tiny mushrooms growing on decaying magnolia cones. I first saw magnolia-cone mushrooms, Strobilurus conigenoides, a few years ago when out in Sam Houston National Forest, not realizing that they were a specialized fungus that grew only on magnolia…

  • Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Jones Spring at Pedernales Falls State Park

    Tucked in far back along the southeastern boundary of Pedernales Falls State Park is a little spring called Jones Spring. Chris and I had been there many years ago and I wanted to visit again during our trip in July 2021. When we hiked in originally we came from the Wolf Mountain Trail near the main park road, a hefty hike in from that area. You can also park off of County Road 201 on the south side of the park, parking in the parking lot there, or we pulled over at the eastern junction of the Madrone Trail and that road where it was obvious other cars had parked…