Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Little Bit of Swamp or There is More to New Orleans Than Bourbon Street

Took a swamp tour while in New Orleans this past weekend and saw a little of everything.

Love the color in this alligator's eye.
Turtle catching some rays
Great Blue Heron coming in for a landing.
But seriously, what you really want to see is the alligators.



But there was more to see than alligators.

Lotus in bloom.
Cypress

This was the first of several Yellow-crowned Night-Heron nest that we saw.  How many herons do you see?


A little help.


Still need more?  I know they are well camouflaged in the willow.  The one on the end is mom.


But my favorite nest came later in our trip.  I dare you to say they aren't cute.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
This Anhinga was not very cooperative and the boat was rocking so the photo is less than I would have liked to have captured.  But the feathers, even blurry ones, are still pretty cool.


And a juvenile Anhinga peeking out.  Again.  Boat.  Rocking.  Blur.


Just a couple more photos to show the beauty of the spot (no mosquitos, by the way) and I will close.

Hyacinth, terribly invasive plant, but beautiful nonetheless.
More Cypress knees than you can count.
Spanish Moss in the Cypress
Had a great time on the trip.  It's always fun to do something new.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Number 62: Lockhart State Park

I can promise you now before you read another word or peek at a single picture that I sadly did not do this park justice when we visited on May 1st earlier this month.


I walked the park with my new 100-400mm lens which means that I didn't get any close-up shots.  I also had not found the Stabilizer setting on the lens so the pictures are a bit blurry.  So I'll focus (haha, focus, camera joke) on the landscape shots here instead and hope you will forgive the quality.


Breck and I started off down a trail that wound along a creek.



It was wonderfully shady and we could hear birds all around us.


However, we really only saw a few early on like this White-eyed Vireo.  Here you can see the little guy nabbing a caterpillar from a leaf.


Bad day for the caterpillar and for action shooting.  Sorry again for the blur.


And this Cardinal was singing his heart out at the top of a tree.


The trail did not stay in the shade long.  It opened up and became hilly and grassy with a couple hummingbirds flitting in and out of the trees.


And the view from the top was wonderful.



And there were still a few wildflowers hanging on.

Thistle and a Red Admiral Butterfly


You might thing this would be a great place to see snakes.  You would be right.



And though we did not see many birds, we did spot this little nest with 3 eggs.  It was just a little pouch hanging from the branch.  We spooked mama when we walked up.


From hills and woods to open spaces with cacti, this park had plenty to see.


And if that was not enough, it also had a golf course.  Crazy.


It really did offer a lot.  And does anybody else see a Scream Halloween mask in this tree?


So that was number 62. To see any of the other 61 we have visited in our quest to see them all click here or on the Texas State Park Adventures tab at the top of this page.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Butterflies are Beautiful

I won't get wordy here.  I'll just show you a couple of the butterfly photos I took at the Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR.

Giant Swallowtail
Pipevine Swallowtail
There were more, but they are harder to capture than birds!  Here is one that I got last month.  Looks very similar to the Pipevine, but its not.

Black Swallowtail
No, I am not adding butterfly identification to my growing list of hobbies.  Let's just call in an interest.  But now that I've started, I'll show you a few more from our old home in Iola.  Taken with my old camera I don't feel like they are as sharp, but worthy of a share.

Checkered White
Question Mark (yes, that is its real name)

Pearl Crescent
And butterfly royalty.

Monarch
Gulf Fritillary
And a couple from our Texas State Parks.

Common Buckeye
Red Admiral
Red-banded Hairstreak
I have seen many more that I couldn't get a good shot of.  It will be good practice to try and see and photograph more.


Two great websites for butterfly identification if you ever get the urge are:

Identify Butterflies by Shape, Wing Color, and Wingspan (very easy and fast to use)

Butterflies and Moths of North America (great for sorting down to the country, state, and county you live in.