February 06, 2023

Notes from a hike

On my walk around the “point” which goes northeast along Buffalo bayou east to the junction with willowfork drainage and back to the neighborhood on 2/3 I saw lots of crane flies mostly flying. But I did observe many common white/checkered skippers, many small buckeyes, a few small yellows that I couldn’t Id, a painted or American lady, and some fiery skippers. A pair of terns, a kingfisher, and one of the neighborhood ospreys eating a fish in a tree. I saw a white pelican flock circling. I took a pic of a shorebird I don’t see often, killdeer sized. The willowfork drainage path was so full of hog poo that I gave up trying to step around it after half a mile. I found an enormous apple snail, the invasive ones, that I also took a pic of on that side. No gators out though the sunny day would have surely brought them out, since I did see many turtles sunning, but I guess they could have eluded me.
The only flowering plants I noticed in bloom were close to the house, crow poison and vetch. Clover and wood sorrel along with rye and some dock dominated the green. My patch of gaillardia seems to have condensed into one big plant. I looked for lyre leaf sage emerging in the usual spots but there was none to be found. The water level at the point itself was level with path along the willowfork drainage for a good 1/2 mile which made me glad I hadn’t seen the resident 12 footer since Cooper was off the leash. Lots of yellow dumped warblers along that drainage too. Probably tons of other fantastic birds but that’s the one I know!

The yard: Today, I found three baby rattlesnake master babies where I seeded them last December and decided to pot them because I am full of oxalis and straggler daisy in that area. Hopefully that wasn’t a death sentence for them. I still haven’t cut back anything in my perennials because I don’t doubt more cold is coming. Rock rose has been forcing new growth since Christmas, so I did cut that back. The squirrels “pruned” the Eagleston hollies so badly that I swore someone had been in the yard cutting them back. The standing cypress is the only seedling I can recognize from the seeds I laid in early December but there are tons of babies everywhere in the bed. I’ll be watching them all daily to see what the heck they are, since I put native phlox, liatris, and prairie clover down indiscriminately along the border! The neighbor’s creep myrtle keeps popping up even though I got rid of them on that side. So frustrating!!! I also dug up quite a few canna bulbs, but I have given up hope eradicating them. I plan to plant some evergreens over there when I dig them out next time. Will see how competition works. Signs of life from the lantana. I pulled three good sized gaillardia from cracks in the driveway and potted them. Hearty little souls! I had one large solitary wasp visit the “citrus orchard” of two blooming trees I keep potted so they survived the cold. Their blooms are a pollinator paradise and they are gorgeous out the kitchen window right now where live temporarily until the threat of freezing is gone. Mostly honeybees :( but an array of flies and moths come too. I’ll definitely get some fruit, but he poor trees look so gangly from no pruning I will lose a bunch too. Today is the third day for my wayward monarch (male) to hang out all day with the bees. But an admiral came around 3 today. I was so excited to host it, since I was doing some seeding right under the yummy potted citrus trees. I have had a few Sphinx moths visit for weeks right at dusk, everyone is drawn to the citrus blooms, even humans! I know they are not native but in this climate, I’m happy to provide a feast when nothing is blooming! I also saw a red marked pachydynerus setting up shop in a brick hole from an old hose mount right near the citrus trees. I was happy to witness 3 anoles coming out of the house where the red Polistes always set up shop today as well. I absolutely waste too many hours watching my backyard Polistes, but I do still abhor the red wasps!!! I only welcome Guinea and Apache Polistes in my yard after being brutally stung repeatedly by rufous and Carolinian!!! (Spellcheck is not cooperating and I am doing a ramble that maybe I will go back to edit, but maybe not!). The wrens have moved to another yard for now, and only visit mine. I’m still debating on mulch for the back since so many alfalfa leaf cutters used the bare soil last year. But the “poa annua” and all the other fantastic opportunists have been too prosperous this year. I have a ton of oak leaf litter I will probably lay after I see what I want germinating.

Posted on February 06, 2023 04:53 AM by bayoushari bayoushari | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 16, 2021

My old Bio September 2020

It feels like I'm starting from scratch on iNaturalist, I can't even find my old field guides! I love this amazing, supportive community of nerds and "noticers" who are like me.

By sharing my knowledge and love of nature, I hope to infect everyone around me with the disease of respecting, noticing, and connecting nature to their own lives.

Why I'm Here:

  1. My goals are to catalog the critters in my back yard and to learn to identify the invasive plants along my stretch of the bayou.
  2. I am currently taking the Texas Master Naturalist class in the Coastal Prairie Chapter, and loving it!!!
  3. Also, I would love to go back through my old albums and add those observations to create my life list here.

What I do:
These days I spend my time: caring for my family (laundry :P), my 3 indoor cats and 1 dog, my 65+indoor plants, and my ever-evolving pollinator-friendly yet tropical-looking garden; avoiding house work by taking walks/runs on Buffalo Bayou or starting projects that never get finished; planning our next family adventure; volunteering; and meditating, reading, sewing, and crafting when I have extra time or don't feel like vacuuming.

How I became a naturalist:
As a youngin' in rural New Jersey I always played with the insects, frogs and mud in my back yard, and usually had some wild thing held captive in a shoe box or jar. My parents were amazing and took us camping and hiking and trips to the beach. A family of Opiliones lived in my bedroom window for years, and I bragged at school about my daddy-long-legs friends that I shared my room with :)

I was fascinated by the differences I observed when we moved back to our native Texas (Corpus) as a tween. Coyotes and mosquitos and tiny deer and venomous snakes and lizards everywhere; and it looked different in almost every way from NJ. I loved taking trips to the beach and going fishing in the brackish backwaters, playing with crabs and wondering about the flowers in the dunes. Then the desert. Then the hill country. Then the piney woods.
I worked as vet assistant for years, starting in high school and loved not only the animals but the microbiology/pathology I learned working in the hospital.
In a brief 7 years!!! I finally earned a BS in Bioenvironmental Science at TAMU, where I learned that my passion had a name: Ecology. I loved working in the department's plant pathology labs, fell in love with soil microbiology, and that's also when I started my nature/macro photography hobby.
The best fantasy job I've had was working as a seasonal park naturalist for Robbers Cave State Park in SE Oklahoma after I graduated, where I actually got paid to play with snakes and "critters", take nature hikes, teach people about wetlands while "hillbilly" fishing, observe and explain the natural world with visitors, and even take my show into the local schools. Briefly I had a real job as an environmental scientist where I got to use my degree, completing Phase I ESAs and working with the endangered American Burying Beetle. Then I became a mom!

All my family and friends know about my love of nature, as I never shut up about my latest discoveries! Of course I have shared my passion with my 2 kids, in spite of them :) Though I did purposefully stop my obsessive photography and plant/insect ID hobbies so that I could dedicate my hyperfocus elsewhere, nature has never stopped being my medicine.

Posted on July 16, 2021 06:06 PM by bayoushari bayoushari