Saturday, July 18, 2009

More Adventure (Hudson Woods, Katy Conservancy, Stephen F Austin State Park)

I apologize to those who are looking for a weight loss only blog. This blog is really about all facets of my life including exercise, weight loss, health, teaching, science, nature study, hiking, paddling, general outdoor life, and my family adventures.

I would like to report that food wasn't too terribly bad yesterday even though we were busy and on the road most the day.

Chuck cooked a good breakfast before we left for the day. Thanks, Chuck

Off to get a sneak peak of a place called Hudson Woods in Lake Jackson. We didn't have a lot of time for exploring but I have really wanted to check this place out since I found out it existed. I'm always on the lookout for new places to explore. Check out those gorgeous live oaks with Spanish moss! This area is a part of the Columbia Bottomlands ecosystem.
Saw some great spiders including this black and yellow argiope. They are easy to recognize because they write zig zags in their webs.
Time to go complete a mission at the Katy Conservancy where they work to preserve vanishing prairie lands.
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On the dusty backroads we spotted what we thought was a bald eagle at first. VERY large bird with white tail feathers and white on its wings and we caught a glimpse of white on the head. It was having its butt handed to it by a mockingbird. Chuck got a photo and after zooming in we were pleasantly surprised to see it was a crested caracara! I've never seen one in person before.
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These birds are in the falcon family but act more like a vulture in that they prefer carrion. Their range is from south Texas through Arizona down through Central America. They prefer open lands like the prairie, hence the need for a preservation of these habitats.
I have to say that I was disappointed with this mission. We only had access to this small, pitiful garden of prairie grasses in front of the field office. That's it. We were told on Fridays they have open trails from 9am-1pm. I'm glad there is a preservation effort for the prairie lands which is desperately needed for the vanishing flora and fauna but I was hoping for something a little more....I don't know.....explorer friendly? I just wanted to do some wildlife viewing.
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Look at those storm clouds rolling in.
Had lunch on the road and then off to Stephen F Austin State Park for short hike.
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The trails are beautiful and shaded. This represents the Post Oak Savannah ecosytem in the Houston area.
I looked on a tree trunk and saw this piece of fuzz walking! I picked it up and turned it over and it had some sort of larva with pincers. It looked like an ant lion covered in fuzz.
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Turns out to be a green lacewing larvae. Very cool.
Where the trail meets the Brazos River is covered in a willow forest. It's very pretty. We sat by the river and looked around for a while. I found a shell fossil and piece of petrified wood. Also found some gar scales. The Native Americans used to make arrow heads with these.

On the way back to the trailhead we spotted several large moths. I have not found a positive ID on them yet but they were about the size of the palm of your hand.
Charlie on the Sycamore Trail.
There were does and fawns everywhere you turned. Here is one picture of several that Chuck took. I wish I could pet them. :)
Came home and I fixed a quick supper (low cal). Then went to rent a couple of Harry Potter movies since I've never seen one. We watched the first one. It was ok.
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Today (Saturday) we are going to a dog show. We'll see where the day takes us from there. :)

9 comments:

  1. I am so ready for the fall.... I think we will be able to cover more ground in the cooler weather.

    Ready for the dog show?
    There's a gun show in Pasa-getdown-dena today.... *hint hint*

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  2. Kudos to you guys for getting out and experiencing nature so much. Fantastic!

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  3. I wish I could into nature like you. I've always wanted to hike, but me and bugs, and plants don't get along. I'm glad to see that you can get out there with the fam and have some fun!

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  4. If I can ever drag Bick out of the house for that long-promised camping trip, I'll be calling upon you for recommendations in your part of the state.

    I enjoy all aspects of your blog. Very interesting stuff.

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  5. What a fun day - I always like seeing what y'all discover in practically our own backyards!

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  6. So it's not weight-loss PER SE...But it IS about getting out and about, which is what it's all about!

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  7. I love your nature pictures! They are always so gorgeous. That moth is soooo cool!

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  8. LOVE that big tree with the moss. That spider is totally wicked looking - once again - great photog. And the kaka kaka, oh wait, that was a caracara, wasn't it???? ;-) Very cool adventures. But it's no MOOSE! bwaaahaaaahaaa

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  9. Im impressed...in this part of TX we're (I?) still hiding inside...

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