Wednesday, September 23, 2015

LLELA, September 2015

After getting up early on Saturday to catch the sunrise south of Fort Worth, I was looking forward to sleeping the next day. Then I got an email through iNaturalist that a photo walk was going to be held at LLELA Sunday morning. Change of plans. :)

Elm Fork Trinity River, LLELA
We had a small group of just four, with the others all being veterans and volunteers of the area.  I knew I'd learn a ton if I just kept my mouth shut and ears open, so that's what I tried to do.

We headed off down the Redbud Trail, which I thought was great since I hadn't taken it on either of my previous visits.  Soon enough we were enjoying a nice view of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, still running high after some rain the day before and continued heavy release from Lake Lewisville.

Grasshopper Nymph, LLELA
Insects grew more active as the morning warmed, including what I believe is a grasshopper nymph climbing the side of a tree.

Butterfly, LLELA
Our attention had initially been drawn by this butterfly on the tree's sunny side, which I'll have to run by BAMONA for an ID.

Black Vulture, LLELA
Black vultures kept a close watch on our party.  We were all a little offended to be considered that close to death.

Horse Apple, LLELA
I got a nice education on Bodark trees and their fruit, commonly known as horse apples.  I thought they looked more like brains or balls of maggots.  Whatever you call them, they do have an interesting texture.

Seasonal Pond, LLELA
Waters had receded quite a bit since our spring floods -- about 12 feet, as estimated by our group.  Some small ponds still remained, attracting herons and egrets that flew off at our approach but still reflections of the surrounding trees that remained.

Twelve-spotted Skimmer, LLELA
One member of our group had quite an eye for dragonflies, and spotted this twelve-spotted skimmer from at least 20 feet off our path in the underbrush.  It was quite still, possibly warming up in the sun that intermittently peeked through the clouds.

Green Heron, LLELA
I contributed one good spot of my own to the group, noticing this Green Heron along a small creek we crossed.  Like others I've seen, it seemed much less concerned about our presence than its larger relatives typically do.

Eastern Pondhawk, LLELA
A tiny bit of nightmare fuel -- Eastern Pondhawk munching on a breakfast of damselfly.

Mantidfly, LLELA
When I said I had some LLELA veterans with me, I wasn't exaggerating.  One guy estimated he'd observed several hundred distinct animal species there.  So when he saw one he'd never seen before -- this mantidfly -- it was kind of a big deal.  Again, I was amazed at how he spotted something so small that it was dwarfed by his hand.

We meandered for almost three hours, and my knowledge of and appreciation for the area grew the entire time.  I look forward to joining them again in the future!


infinitepaisley said...

Great post and photos! Thanks for sharing your observations 🌱

SteveHarbula said...

Thanks for the kind words! :)