Monday, June 26, 2006

COM: Blogarithmic #130

Finally got a lightsheet set up last night. After a short but heavy rain though little was about. Did find a few cool click beetles, including a big Eyed Click Beetle (presumably Alaus oculatus, but awaiting some confirmation) and some new ground beetles. Tonight expecting a little better haul. One of the kids caught a big Largemouth Bass today, and class caught a load of Blanchard's Cricket Frogs and Gulf Coast Toads (all now safely returned to the pond edges). Should mention that one of the key misses i've had here is Rio Grande Leopard Frog, Rana berlandieri -- odd i thought with five decent sized weedy ponds. I'd decided that the Green Herons and rather common water snakes had kept them from taking hold. And then on the way home last night a big frog flew across the road in front of me and landed in the grass. I'll post a picture. I have noticed that the Rana sp. in this county seem to take two forms, or else segregate themselves somewhat as they get older. The largest frogs down on the river and the big forks tend to be greenish, very dark-spotted and medium sized. The critters i find occasionally on the uplands are more tan/brown with paler spots and get significantly larger. I've called them all Rio Grande Leopard Frogs, Rana berlandieri, but it has me wondering. I'll post a picture of the upland dude from last night below. Also have a couple of Tantilla-type snakes that i'm going to have to focus on IDing -- three species could be here. One of them, Flat-headed Snake, Tantilla gracilis, i've already had and photographed, and these two look a bit different [update: turned out to be Rough Earth Snakes, Virginia striatula]. Tonight while going to turn on the lights i had a bird fly across the road in front of me. It's at a junction where i've heard Eastern Screech Owls singing, so i immediately pulled over. Took me about ten seconds to locate an adult sitting in a bare-limbed old Texas Oak (Quercus buckleyi). Then two others flew in and examination of the photos later showed them to be fledglings, one of which chuckled and burbled at me for some time. See photos below. Unfortunately i only got off one shot of the adult and it was too distant to be of use. The chicks were about 20 feet away and i got recognizable if grainy photos. P.s. the local race is Hasbrouck's Screech-Owl, Otus asio hasbroucki, basically a central Texas endemic. The Hibiscus and caterpillar are from yesterday.

Hasbrouck's Screech-Owl fledglings, Otus asio hasbroucki

Rose-center Hibiscus, Hibiscus sp.

Rio Grande Leopard Frog, Rana berlandieri

Black Swallowtail caterpillar, Papilio polyxenes
on Daucosma (Wild Carrot), Daucosma laciniatum

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