Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Happy Easter
(Battus philenor)
Good Friday WAS a good Friday.
This beauty was photographed at the Cibolo Nature Center
NW of San Antonio in the Hill Country.
It's perpetual motion made it difficult to photograph,
but managed to get a half-way decent photo of it from underneath.
Just gorgeous.
This is the only male we observed, but the females were darting
about everywhere along the trail at the open edge of the forest.
They were equally as difficult to photograph.
They preferred to dine on this verbena,
as did these little skippers,
but I was hoping to capture a good photo of one
sitting atop a bluebonnet,

for dessert, perhaps?
Guess what Pipevine Swallowtails lay their eggs on?
You guessed it, Pipevine.  It is the caterpillar's sole food source.
If you live in the right place, you might be able
to grow some in your yard!

If you have an extra minute or two,
check out this video.

Thanks for stopping by.
I will share more from Cibolo Nature Center
on another day.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Endangered Whooping Cranes

I feel very honored to have been able to observe,
for the very first time, two Whooping Cranes,
(Grus americana), feeding in a meadow.

My photos are not wonderful, as they were some distance away.
Yes, a feeding station has been set up for them.
You can see the legs of the feeder on the left.
They need every advantage!!
But to me, they are beautiful pictures.
You see, Whooping Cranes have been on the endangered
species list since June of 1970.
In the 1930's, their population was down to just 18 birds.
I believe there only around 350 wild cranes to date.
With the direction that 'development' is taking,
we'll see more endangered birds and animals in our lifetime.
These beautiful, majestic birds stand almost 5 feet tall,
and are the largest birds in North America, with a wingspan of 7.5 feet.
I borrowed this image from the State of TX site so you could have a better look.
Each link I am providing will take you to a different site about Whooping Cranes.

This image is borrowed from
Perhaps you remember seeing news stories and video of
conservationists assisting first year birds during migration
through the use of ultralight aircraft.
I think there is even a movie about it.
Here's one video of many.

Please take the time to visit the links provided for more information.
Their plight is a fascinating story.
I'd like to thank my daughter, from the bottom of my heart.
She went out of her way to drive 3 hours to the coast,
so I could see these birds.
(Remember the 'bug in my ear' story? THAT day!!)

(I think I'm linked to Wild Bird Wednesday)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Spring

The first day of spring was yesterday?
As usual, I'm a day late,
and as always, a dollar short.
When Crafty Daughter says, "Mom, will you make me a/some....,
she always gets what she asks for!!
It's difficult to resist, especially when someone
really appreciates your work.
Awhile back, she asked for seasonal wallhangings.
We searched around and decided Kim Schaefer's Calendar Quilts
looked like a fun place to begin the journey.
I've just completed the hand-quilting,
and now only lack a label.
(Do you hand-quilt?
a blog I only recently discovered.)
A machine applique project,
it worked up fairly quickly.
This is my second one.
(Of course, there are bugs on it!
Come to think of it , there are bugs on the first one I made, too!)
Not all of my daughter's seasonal wallhangings
come from this book,
but there are still some cute ones left for me to make!
Happy Spring!
Time goes by fast enough, and I hate wishing it away,
but I'm glad spring has finally arrived
(in most places)!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gotta' Love Bugs.....

....even when they get stuck in your ear!!
More on that, later!
The lovely Pat, over at Life in the Scrapatch,
is participating in the Stitch Me Up Blog Hop today,
with the most unique bib I ever did see.
She's having a little give-away, too!
Go check it out!
Through our correspondence re: Operation Homefront-TX,
for which she is contributing,
she has encouraged me to show some of my bibs and burp cloths.
Those of you who have followed me around
(and I sincerely thank you for that)
know I am a nature nerd and that I LOVE BUGS
and all crawly things!
Without further adieu,
Operation Homefront-TX has kept me pretty busy!
Back to the bug in my ear.  I wonder about the origin of the saying
...put a bug in your ear.....
...surely it didn't happen like this:
The funniest thing happened to me last Thursday afternoon
when Crafty Daughter and I went to the coast for a day of birdiing. 
It wasn't so funny at first, kind of freaky. 
A bug flew into my ear and got stuck in the mud! 
It was in there all afternoon and evening. 
It squeaked and squeaked, wiggled and tickled,
and squeaked and squeaked some more. 
It even pleaded with me, "Let me out, please??????"
You could definitely hear the question-marky rise at the end of it's plea.
It was so very annoying. 
We joked about it and laughed the whole 3 hour ride home. 
When we got back, Crafty Daughter heated up some olive oil and put it in my ear. 
Three times. 
Then I laid my head down on the cupboard
as though she was going to chop it off. 
She looked in my ear with the flashlight and didn't see the bug. 
I thought at least it was dead now, suffocated by the warmed oil. 
(Some consolation, huh? 
Like I'm going to go to bed now with a dead bug in my ear?). 
Then I had her look just one more time, and
lo and behold, there it was. 
She swabbed it out and it was only about 2.75mm X 1/3mm.  
A tiny little gnat. 
But what a BIG voice!! 
I have a whole new respect for itsy bitsy teenie weenie bugs. 
It kind of humanized them for me!!
As my Grandma used to say,
"That's my story and I'm sticking to it!"
I'd like to thank Pat for linking back to me during her post today.
What a sweetie!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Today's Flowers

A few South Texas blossoms
that I snapped while birding
at Goose Island State Park

10 miles northeast of Rockport, Texas on Thursday.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Back to Nature with a New Guide Book

Due to a back injury, I've only been an armchair naturalist of late,
spending more time at my sewing machine than out of doors.
But I am very excited to have received a new guidebook to check out
from Jessica at Princeton University Press,
one that's been long overdue,
much anticipated by my fellow general nature nerds
and released today.
Common Mosses of the Northeast and Appalachians
by Karl B. McKnight, Joseph R. Rohrer, Kirsten McKnight Ward
and Warren J. Perdrizet
When I first became interested in learning more about nature,
my little sister, my mentor, The Fern Lady, gave me a hand lens.
It's a little bitty magnifying glass, maybe an inch in diameter,
 that you hold up to your eye
and get very close and personal to the subject you are studying.
To be perfectly honest, you look like a dork when you're using it.
She said if I don't use it, she wants it back.
Needless to say, I never returned it. 
That hand lens opened up a whole new world to me,
enabling me to discover that,
what appears to the naked eye to be plain,
is actually quite detailed.
That what we often overlook,
holds a beauty all of it's own.
And this is so very true of mosses.
Common Mosses of the Northeast and Appalachians
is the first field guide of it's kind.
To begin with, it's tote-able, can be used
in the field to make accurate identifications.
The 400 pictures are clear,
the 600 diagrams large and concise, "highlighting
essential characteristics" that can often only be determined
with the hand lens.
Each and every section of this guide book is well written,
so that even an amateur like myself can understand it.
Maybe now I'll be able to identify
and label pictures I've taken,
like this one.
Green is my favorite color.
I love moss.