Bob and Rigamarole at Texas Canyon Rest Area, Arizona, September 30, 2017

Bob and Rigamarole at Texas Canyon Rest Area, Arizona, September 30, 2017
Bob and Rigamarole at Texas Canyon Rest Area, Arizona, September 30, 2017

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Birds, Dragonflies and Spiders, Oh My - Sat., July 27


Rain? It rained sometime during the night or early morning hours. When we got up, Rigamarole was covered in water, the picnic table was wet and so were The Beast and the Escape pod.

My 10K Volksmarch today was at Mitchell Lake Audubon Wetlands in south San Antonio. I would have started much earlier than 8:25 a.m., but the wetlands don't open until 8 a.m. When I arrived at the Audubon Society, I had to go into the office to pay my $2 admission fee and sign in for the Volksmarch. The man working at the Audubon Society was very chatty and that took another 15 minutes or so.

A tour of two people was ready to head out for a bird survey. I guess they try to identify as many birds as they can on the survey.

Upon leaving the building and passing by beautiful, butterfly-attracting flowers, I had to photograph a butterfly or two.
Monarch butterfly (danaus plexippus)
Monarch butterfly backlit by sun.
 The first birds I encountered were a family of purple martins on a line.

Purple martins.
Today was enjoyable because I could take my time, listen to bird calls, and try to spot elusive birds (not too successful on the elusive birds). Bob plays basketball on Saturday morning, so I like to hike somewhere interesting and safe when he's not with me.

Here are interesting finds along my path...

Hairy-looking seed pods.
A couple of wild rabbits darted across my path, but they were too fast; no chance to get my camera in position for a photo.
Silver-leaf nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium)
Wild petunia (Ruellia sp.)
Carolina wren.
When the Bird Pond appeared on my right, I started looking for water birds, but didn't see any other than the great egrets. As I walked, a casual glance to my left almost made me wet my pants. I am petrified of spiders and what I saw was a HUGE orb spider sitting in the middle of a web that was, I'd guess, four feet across. The spider in the middle, including legs, was as big as my palm.

Golden orb spider in the middle of its web.
Golden orb spider.
Golden orb spider.
Northern rough-winged swallow.
House finch.
House finch.
While walking near the Bird Pond, I met a man and asked him what birds he had seen. His name is Jim and he writes a blog called Jim's Assorted, Usually Photographic, Ramblings. He said he wasn't looking for birds but was looking for dragonflies. That's his specialty. In fact, in front of us was an Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly, perched beautifully, waiting for its photo to be taken. You can find his photos on his blog. I was able to capture the Eastern Pondhawk as well. Jim explained to me that this particular dragonfly is very mean to other dragonflies and bugs. I would have missed it if it wasn't for Jim pointing it out to me.

Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly.
Once he pointed out that Mitchell Lakes is a good place to spot dragonflies and damselflies, I was on the lookout and you will find a couple more photos of dragonflies today.


Identification, anyone?
Four-spotted pennant.
Roseate skimmer.
As I rounded the corner from the Bird Pond headed for East Poulder, it was full sun ahead: 85-90 degrees with relatively high humidity. My best birding of the day took place in East and West Poulder ponds. The black-necked stilts are in residence and they are gorgeous. They also make quite a racket when a threat comes around.
Black-bellied whistling duck family.
Black-necked stilt
Least sandpiper and killdeer.
Four black-necked stilts in a row.
Black-bellied whistling duck.
Black-bellied whistling duck and willett.
Every once in a while you find something you don't see everyday, like a turtle or armadillo remains. The turtle below was trucking along the trail until I came along, then it got all shy.


Armadillo remains.
Snowy egret fishing.
Neotropic cormorants.
Orb spiders were everywhere today!


Self portrait. Don't you love the hat?
Cacti ready to bloom.
Orb spider in front of cacti.
Beautiful blooms outside the visitor center.
By the end of this walk (which lasted three hours), I was beat. Couldn't wait to get inside the visitor center. The desk person helped me identify the birds in the photos, although he wasn't sure about the sanderling because the photo was so small on my camera screen.

I really enjoy my alone time on walks like this when I can go at my own pace, look for birds and photograph to my hearts content. I would love to learn the songs of different birds to identify them as it isn't always possible to spot them.

Bob worked today. When he came home he could barely walk. He's pretty sure he has plantar fasciitis. He is going to take it easy on his exercising and do stetches to help alleviate the pain. I hope he gets better soon because I'll miss my best walking partner while he's convalescing.

I hope you're all having a good weekend.

Travel Bug out.




11 comments:

  1. Thanks for the mention, Susan and it was nice meeting you on the trails today. If I had to guess, I'd say your unidentified dragonfly is probably a female Roseate Skimmer. I say probably because female Roseate Skimmers and female Carmine Skimmers look an awful lot alike and sometimes it'll take 3 or 4 different views of those ladies to get a positive ID. Happy travels and happy shooting!

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    1. Hey, Jim, thanks for the I.D. I thought the Roseate Skimmer had a pinkish body. The one in my photo, I'm pretty sure, had a black body. Do Roseates or Carmine Skimmers have black bodies?

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  2. Great pictures- those are some Texas sized spiders

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    1. Thank you. I think I don't care for Texas-sized spiders.

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  3. I love dragonfly pictures. Those little guys do seem to pose to have their picture taken. Great self portrait. Now about those spider pictures.....!!! (good pictures - but gave me the willies LOL)

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    1. I had never really photographed many dragonflies before. I thought they were always too fast, but yesterday I was able to snap a few.

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  4. You found some very interesting creatures to photograph. That spider picture was enough to make your skin crawl. I am not a spider person for sure!

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    1. I am definitely not a spider person, just ask Bob.

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  5. Those 4 black-necked stilts are adorable. Looks like you lined them up for the picture. And of course I love the turtle. My favorite. He was slowing warming up to you though. That spider gee whiz that was huge. Don't blame you for the fright it gave you what do they eat birds? ;)

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    Replies
    1. LOL, do the spiders eat birds? I hope not.

      The black-necked stilts make great photo models as long as you don't spook them. If you do, they fly off with great fanfare and lots of noise.

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  6. Great pictures as usual. Love the pink hat; it's your color. Bob needs to start rolling a vegetable can back and forth with his foot. It's what the PT guy will tell you.

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