Friday, June 16, 2017

Smith Oaks Sanctuary Miscellany: June 2017

Birds may be the main attraction at the Smith Oaks Audubon Sanctuary, but they're far from the only attraction.  Plenty of other wildlife caught my attention during last week's visit.

Wandering Glider, Smith Oaks Audubon Sanctuary
I could have probably focused on nothing but dragonflies, and still been completely satisfied.  They were dense and I got to see them in different lighting conditions, like this backlit Wandering Glider which the great Michael Fox was kind enough to ID for me.

Roseate Skimmer, Smith Oaks Sanctuary
I also got to see a new species for me -- this Roseate Skimmer.

Golden Silk Orb-Weavers, Smith Oaks Sanctuary
Another abundant invertebrate -- Golden Silk Orb-Weaver spiders.  I didn't like any of the shots I took of them in full light, but these silhouettes are some pretty solid nightmare fuel.

American Alligator, Smith Oaks Sanctuary
This big fella was headed off the rookery island into the water right as I reached the observation platform.  I was fortunate to be able to snap off a couple of shots before he submerged.  Usually when I see alligators in the wild, it's just their eyes and noses above the surface of the water.  It was nice to get this full body shot.

American Alligator, Smith Oaks Sanctuary
Aaawww -- how sweet!  This alligator is taking his spoonbill friend for a ride around the pond!  Wait ... that's not what he's doing?  Ohhhhh...

Red-eared Slider, Smith Oaks Sanctuary
You know you live a fairly sedentary life when algae starts growing on you.

Red-eared Slider, Smith Oaks Sanctuary
Those claws, though...

Roadside Tire Art in High Island, TX
I love the eye-catching creations Texans place in their front yards.  This "tire frog" on the main drag through High Island definitely qualified!

This one stop would qualify as a successful photo outing for me.  But we still had two more days and many more locations to go!

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