Sunday, April 19, 2015

Kachina Prairie Park

The Heard Nature Photographers Club organized a field trip down to Ennis yesterday for the annual Bluebonnet Festival. Our only organized activity was a stop at Kachina Prairie Park for a short wildflower walk.

The 30-acre park is remnant native, never-plowed prairie now being actively conserved by a coalition of the Ennis Garden Club, Indian Trail Master Naturalists, City of Ennis and the Texas Land Conservancy.  Several master naturalists were on hand leading small groups on a 3/4-mile loop identifying various plants and talking about the history of the area.

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Kachina Prairie Park
The photo opportunities began before the actual walk did.  Raucous squawking in some nearby trees turned out to be a pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers apparently engaged in a nest squabble with what I assumed to be a cowbird.

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Kachina Prairie Park
The woodpeckers were making quite a fuss, and not giving me much to work with as they hopped around trying to drive off their antagonist.  I feel fortunate to have gotten a couple of halfway decent shots!

Red-eared Slider, Kachina Prairie Park
An inlet off of Lake Clark sits near the trailhead.  I missed a shot at a Green Heron while waiting, but managed to get this reflecting Red-eared Slider.

Pearl Crescent, Kachina Prairie Park
A few butterflies were in evidence, including this Pearl Crescent.

Eastern Pondhawk, Kachina Prairie Park
Some dragonflies and damselflies were also flying about.  This is the first Eastern Pondhawk I've ever photographed.

Coral Honeysuckle, Kachina Prairie Park
Several coral honeysuckle vines were twined around trees on the prairie's edge.

Wildflower, Kachina Prairie Park
The master naturalist leading our group did an outstanding job identifying many of the plants we passed and providing other useful information about them.  I clearly wasn't paying close enough attention, though, because I don't remember what this little wildflower is.  I do love the stalk and leaves coming off of it like spokes from a hub.

EDIT: Carolyn Ross with the Indian Trail Master Naturalists identifies it as Spiderwort.

Goldenrod Crab Spider, Kachina Prairie Park
Serendipity struck again near the end of our walk.  This spiderwort was also the hunting grounds of a goldenrod crab spider.

I still maintain that I don't want to invest in a macro lens.  My telephoto zoom and wide angle cover just about everything I want to shoot, and I'm having enough fun and finding myself plenty challenged trying to sharpen my skills with those two.  This was admittedly one of the rare moments of exception where I kind of wished I had one, though.

I can't say enough about what a terrific job all the volunteers did.  They were clearly passionate about the prairie, and delighted to share their knowledge and affection with guests.  A great part of the day!

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