Friday, June 19, 2020

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center: June 2020

As much as I fancy myself the major outdoorsy person in our family, it's actually my wife who's planning to hike a section of the Appalachian Trail in September. I'm admittedly a little jealous. But I at least get the opportunity to help her prepare by doing some short hikes now and getting used to things like carrying a 30-pound backpack. THAT I'm not jealous of.

Coneflower, Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center
Our first destination was the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center in McKinney, which really needs a much shorter nickname.  The Bluestem, Wood Duck, and Cedar Brake Trails there all connect and cover about three fairly flat miles.  The center itself has some great gardens that include local plants like Coneflowers...

Passion Flower, Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center
... and Passion Flowers.

Blackland Prairie, Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center
The trails go through some of the little remaining blackland prairie in the country.

Wetlands, Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center
The trails have at least a mile of elevated boardwalk through wetlands.

Red-eared Slider, Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center
Where one has water in North Texas, one invariably has Red-eared Sliders.  Especially on sunny days.

Cedar Brake Trail, Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center
I found the Cedar Brake Loop really interesting and unique.  I should have paid better attention to the signage to understand just what we were walking through, though.

Blackland Prairie, Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center
There was one short section of trail that was fairly flush with a variety of wildflowers.  Otherwise grasses seemed to dominate the prairie.

Widow Skimmer, Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center
I thought I'd see more dragonflies like this Widow Skimmer, but there were surprisingly few.

Pickerelweed, Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center
Pickerelweed is not the prettiest name for a very pretty aquatic flower.

Oak Mazegill, Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center
I know almost nothing about fungus, but iNaturalist claims this is Oak Mazegill.  Now THAT'S a cool name.

American Bumble Bee on Texas Thistle, Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center
It's always good to see pollinators at work, like this American Bumble Bee on a Texas Thistle.

Black Swallowtail, Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center
I didn't see many butterflies on the trails, but the center has a nice enclosed butterfly garden with species like Black Swallowtail ...

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center
... and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail ...

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Center
... who I captured one final shot of once the sun peeked out from behind the clouds.

Two hours in 90-degree heat to cover three miles.  Danelle's journey to Georgia has officially begun, and I got a few pictures out of it!