New Photos
May 14, 2006

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At one point last week, our lily pond had both yellow and pink waterlilies in bloom.
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Every week we seem to get more dragonflies, and more different kinds of dragonflies. The Black Saddlebags (left), Tramea lacerata, looks completely black when seen zipping around high overhead after mosquitoes, but when it's perched, you can see the yellow markings. Richard spotted this one resting on a dead tree's twigs. It is much larger than the Band-winged Dragonlet (right), Erythrodiplax umbrata, that was patrolling a long narrow pool in the overflow gully west of the creek. It never flew high, and perched only inches above the water.
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Though I've shown the Texas spiny lizard here before, this one posed so nicely around a tree trunk I couldn't resist. The scarred look of this tree trunk is Illusion's doing--he nearly killed this tree by ripping off the bark in long strips. Another common species up on the rocky knoll in the dry woods is the Texas Spotted Whiptail, Cnemidophorus gularis gularis. At first I thought it was a six-lined or prairie racerunner (in the same genus) but the racerunners don't have spots between the lines, and the lines extent down the tail. This is a male, as the blue belly (showing on the side) proves.
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So far I haven't taken the perfect picture of a painted bunting, but this shows one fluffing its feathers and shaking after taking a bath...though it's a little blurry because of the motion, you can see the variety of looks more like a bunting-shaped jungle parrot than an ordinary songbird. The bathing pictures would've been great if the sun hadn't gone behind a thin cloud right then so the colors were duller than usual. In complete contrast to the gaudy painted bunting, this mourning dove was skulking along in the minimal cover and I didn't see it for several minutes. Mourning doves have excellent camouflage, but they're just as skittish as painted buntings.
And now for something different:
not all butterflies come to drink from the water on lily pads, but when they do...

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