Thursday, May 17, 2007

All along the Bathtub

The latest and greatest wildlife report:

Spiderworts--with a name that evokes witchcraft and cauldrons boiling--are shade loving, early spring blooming plants that are on their way out. The flowers bloom once, but during bloom time the plant produces so many flowers that it remains in flower day after day. Now, I only see the drooping seed heads, which means that soon, the plants will go dormant for the summer.

Some kind of morning glory is starting to make an appearance. (I tried to snap a photo this morning, but my surprisingly unsustainable digital camera sucks through batteries like an aphid on cocaine. So the photo here is snagged from the Wildflower Center.)

Sensitive briar, coreopsis, Mexican hat and Indian blanket have all made a come back since the last mowing. (But so has the Johnson grass, whose pink blooming stalks are shooting up around the banks.)

A came across a snake in the Bathtub this morning. (That combination of words is probably enough to strike fear in many of you. Don't even think about making it into a bad movie.)

Snakes are frighteningly beautiful and always slightly startling. The fear response is clearly an evolutionarily adapted response, and rightly so, especially here in Texas, where there are quite a few snakes that you don't want to get into a tangle with. The Reach is unlikely to have any poisonous snakes, but it's always best to use caution. The one I saw this morning was clearly non-poisonous, and beautifully undulating through the deep waters of the Tub.

Speaking of the deep-water Bathtub, it supports quite a healthy little ecosystem. Dave W. reported a large owl there just the other day (could be a Great-horned owl, which I also saw at the Reach last fall). The snapping turtle(s) also call the Tub home, and in fact, I saw two mating there last summer. It's also where we've recently seen Great Blue Herons taking a pit-stop during migration and wood ducks. By the way, if you're looking for the Yellow-crowned Night Heron, it usually likes to hunt in more secluded areas with overgrowth down the creek.

Wouldn't it be cool to stumble upon a fish being eaten by a snake just before the snake is grabbed by one of our hawks or owls? Nature rocks.

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