Colorful grasshopper on broomweed
Here’s one last picture from my wanderings on August 31, 2012. It was a hot summer day (to say hot and summer in Texas is to repeat yourself), and several kinds of grasshoppers kept jumping around. In retrospect this one strikes me—and a few of the ones bounding about did actually strike me—as the most attractive; I like the way the dark red stripes complement the patterned green of most of the grasshopper’s body and the green stalks of the broomweed, Amphiachyris dracunculoides, that it had landed on. (If you’d like a reminder of what broomweed’s small flower heads look like, you can get a close view in a post from last summer.) Although I often see grasshoppers, somehow this is only the second one to appear in these pages; the first was tiny and quite different, if you’d care to look back.
Like the last five photographs, I took this one at the Doeskin Ranch, which is located in Burnet County about an hour northwest of Austin. Yesterday I e-mailed Chuck Sexton, who retired not long ago from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which administers Doeskin Ranch as part of the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. It was Chuck who introduced me to Doeskin Ranch a dozen years ago when I took part in a field trip that he led there; he was also the person who identified the chara algae for me.
Chuck suggested that readers of this blog might want to visit the Refuge’s official website or that of the Friends of Balcones. He also volunteered the web address of his archived blog, which has lots of interesting information about the flora and fauna of the place. I encourage those of you who live in central Texas not only to check out those links but to visit the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, and in particular Doeskin Ranch if you haven’t been there recently or ever.
© 2013 Steven Schwartzman