Outdoors

  • 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…

  • Memes,  Outdoors,  Wildlife Wednesday

    Bumelia Borer, Plinthocoelium suaveolens | Wildlife Wednesday

    Today’s Wednesday post is Wildlife Wednesday and a very gorgeous Bumelia Borer, Plinthocoelium suaveolens. Unfortunately our friend here was not alive, which made it a lot easier to photograph outside of our Dripping Springs AirBnB last summer. As the common name suggests, the larvae feed on the trunks and roots of bumelia species, Sideroxylon sp., the most common species in Texas being Sideroxylon lanuginosum, gum bumelia. Gum bumelia always tricks me a bit and I will initially think it is an Ilex decidua until I look closer and note my location and realize it’s a bumelia. The larvae also utilize Nyssa and Morus species, too. I’ll keep my commentary short…

  • Memes,  Outdoors,  Wildflower Wednesday,  Wildflowers

    Edwards Plateau Five-Eyes, Chamaesaracha edwardsiana | Wildflower Wednesday

    In an effort to re-invigorate some of my weekly standards here, I’ll be getting back into Wildflower and Wildlife Wednesdays. Maybe a Wordless Wednesday or two throw in for good measure. I’m going to kick it off with a Wildflower Wednesday! Today’s species is Edwards Plateau Five-Eyes, Chamaesaracha edwardsiana, a new-to-me species that I found last summer at our AirBnB rental in Dripping Springs. As both the common and scientific names suggest, this is an Edwards Plateau specialty. iNaturalist shows most entries for sightings for plants around the Austin to San Antonio areas, with scattered sightings west of there. Bonap has a bit of a broader distribution, with even county…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Bartonia texana in the Big Thicket

    If you’ve been reading this blog for a few years, you may remember my post from 2020 about finding Texas screwsteam, Bartonia texana. Last year we didn’t go back to the same location and instead went searching in the Big Thicket. I’m being intentionally vague on locations because it is a sensitive plant species and is under review by USFWS for listing under the ESA. This location was a bit easier to get to, less bushwhacking, for which I was grateful. Two years of extensive bushwhacking to the other location had worn on me, though I do like the location once we get there! And there were a lot more…

  • Outdoors

    A Field Work Site That No Longer Exists

    Passiflora incarnata, maypop blooms One of the tragedies of my line of work is that we can go to a field site and know that how we see it when we delineated the area for wetlands is that it is absolutely most likely to change drastically the next time we see it. You go out and find cool plants and interesting insects and habitat and the next thing you know there are box stores and parking lots on top of it. It’s frustrating and this probably deserves a longer post in regards to the conundrum of folks who get degrees in the biological or environmental sciences and the ability to…

  • Native Plants,  Outdoors

    Amorpha paniculata in the wild!

    Two weekends ago when we went to visit Gus Engeling WMA we had finished our jaunt into the bog area and had turned up the A/C and decided to just drive around the rest of the WMA and jump out if we saw something interesting. It gave me a lot of Florida vibes and driving through WMAs there and oh, how I miss how much public land Florida had (has). Chris inched by some plants and out of the corner of my eye I spotted something and I exclaimed, “Amorpha!” I stumbled over the words for a moment because I had dumbly mistaken another plant for an Amorpha back in…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Beech Creek Explorations in the Big Thicket

    To continue a bit from last week’s post with the nodding nixies, today I’ll share a few items from the Beech Woods trail at the Beech Creek Unit of the Big Thicket. We’ll start with this Rosy Wolfsnail, Euglandina rosea, seen near the picnic area at the trail head. Followed by an invasive Asian Tramp Snail, Bradybaena similaris. And a self portrait with my best kiddo! That tooth is mostly grown in now. This was a very interesting mushroom I found, turns out to be a Stalked Puffball-in-Aspic, Calostoma cinnabarinum. Chris is admiring something about this tree but I have no idea what! Patient poses for mom on a very…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places,  Wildflowers

    First Encounters with Nodding Nixies (Apteria aphylla)

    Apteria aphylla, nodding nixies, were one of those fall blooming species that I had been dying to see for several years now. Chris couldn’t believe I hadn’t come across any but we hadn’t been in their habitat locations during the fall and typically he’s the one doing the field work these days which meant he’s had ample opportunities to see them, moreso than I have. But, seeing them in person finally happened for me when I came across the in the Big Thicket last year. And there were tons to see! Nodding nixies are in the Burmanniaceae family, which means if you’ve ever seen a Burmannia spp. before, you know…