25 July 2013

A Nature Walk...

Thursday's Nature Walk...

Thursday morning I slept too late to make it to yoga class.  Because it is hot, and humid, and basically summer in Texas, I have not been getting much exercise. To combat the sluggishness of not exercising, I took a walk.

It never ceases to amaze me that even though I live in the middle of a decent size city, nature surrounds me.

I admit I do live across the street from a creek so maybe I get a bit more wildlife than the regular folks.

First off were the egrets.  Hanging out in the trees looking like a zoo exhibit.

The one on the right had plumes and fluffy feathers.
According to the National Geographic Birds of N. America
 that means it is a breeding adult.

Hanging below them in the creek were the turtles basking on a log. These are red ear sliders. The big ones are the females, the smaller ones are males.  When you see a red ear slider plodding across the street in the spring or summer it is probably a mama going to lay eggs. Don't automatically pick her up and throw her back in the water in the interest of "saving" her. She's probably already expended a lot of energy just to get to the street and she's headed to a nice soft garden to deposit those eggs.  Help her to safety but don't assume she wants the water. 

Sliders are basking turtles.
Here they are doing just that.

Then there was some flora....

An invasive plant but it sure is pretty.

And a fluffy little weed:

Don't know this baby's name.
Feel free to enlighten me.

I could be in the rainforest:

But I'm not.

Then there were the pictures I missed. Because I just set out to walk originally I did not have my good camera with me.  iPhones are pretty slow when it comes to wildlife. 

I missed a pic of the snake that swam across the creek.  About 3 feet long, slim and quick, with a beautifully patterned body. It could have been a water moccasin but was probably just a boring water snake. Hard to say- we have both. 

Also missed the bull frog in the hyacinths.

And the baby bunny that hopped along the curb and disappeared into the storm sewer grate. I am going to assume that he hopped down that pipe and back into the wild. He did not plunge to his death. 

And the four sparrows silhouetted against the sky, perched on a bare vine. I was thinking how adorable they looked until a mama cardinal flew up and tried to land on the vine with them.  Two of the sparrows immediately took off and chased her away. 

Nature is not always kind.

Which brings us to the more grizzly part of my walk.

Should I be concerned that I saw this?

About 18 inches long. 
Who did it belong to?

This bone was along the water's edge. I know there are coyotes because I have seen them.  Did they bring this bone over? It must be a leg to something large. A dog? Another coyote? Maybe a small deer. There are deer within a few miles. Do alligators have bones like this? Fortunately there were no other bones.  Guess this will remain a mystery.

Look closely.
These are feathers, not flowers.

A trail of feathers from the street to the creek usually does not bode well for the duck they belonged to. 
At first there were the large wing feathers. Then lots of smaller feathers. Finally the downy feathers. This time no duck carcass. Whatever got it took it away.

Nature is not the only predator around here.  Sometimes the wildlife can't escape the cars.
This guy has been in the street for a bit so he was pretty sanitized. The turkey buzzards have done their job and nothing yummy is left on these bones. 

 Hard to say at this point.
But my money is on the Nutria.

Not sure how much exercise I got. Certainly did not get my heart rate up what with the stopping every few minutes to take photos. 
But it was a lovely way to spend the morning exploring the neighborhood.
Open your eyes....the world is all around you.
The good, the gorgeous, the ugly.

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