Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘animal

From Muhlenberg to Kulmbacher

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In far north Austin on November 19th I drove into a still-under-construction subdivision that already had fully paved streets with signposts showing their names. On Kulmbacher Drive I parked and walked over to check out a pond. A few dense stands of bare plants that I took to be slenderpod sesbania (Sesbania herbacea) caught my attention, and now they can catch yours. Do you see, as I do, a resemblance to the Muhlenbergia that I’d photographed the previous day? And in case you’re wondering about the many little white dots in the lower half of the picture, they’re asters that were happily flowering their heads off.

The last post told about the Muhlenberg that Muhlenbergia was named for. Kulmbacher in German means a person from Kulmbach. Who the Kulmbacher was or is that the Austin street refers to eludes me. Also eluding me was the egret you see below between two poverty weed bushes.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 30, 2019 at 4:43 AM

Three more things at Brazoria

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Here are three more finds from the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge on October 6th.
The first is the egg case of a Carolina mantis, Stagmomantis carolina.

Next you have the flower head of a camphor daisy, Rayjacksonia phyllocephala. It’s unusual for a genus to be created from someone’s first and last name, in this case Ray + Jackson (for Dr. Raymond C. Jackson). I assume that happened because Jacksonia was already in use for something else.

And finally you have the remains of a crayfish (a.k.a. crawfish or crawdad):

After 10 posts with 21 pictures from Brazoria, we’ll finally move on in the next post.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 9, 2019 at 4:40 PM

My first alligator

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The first time I ever saw an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) in the wild was on October 6th in the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. Here’s the rap sheet approach again, with front and side views.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 8, 2019 at 4:46 AM

Great white herons at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge

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On the roof of a shelter at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge on October 6th we saw a great white heron, Casmerodius albus. Half an hour later I got a lot closer to one that was unfortunately behind branches which had me struggling to aim through them for a clear shot. The busy background also fell short of ideal, but we photographers sometimes have to take things as they come to us. Now that I think about it, having my first and last initial come to me in the form of a heron’s neck isn’t so bad.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 5, 2019 at 4:33 AM

White-tailed deer stag

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I opened my front door a couple of hours ago and saw a white-tailed deer stag (Odocoileus virginianus) nestled on the lawn. Getting my camera, which conveniently had a long lens on it, I quietly opened the door again, went outside, and gradually inched my way forward. At some point the deer became aware of me, stood up, and slowly started to walk away. That’s when I noticed it had a limp in one of its rear legs. Keeping my distance, I followed as it walked across the street and began eating some of my neighbor’s plants and even what appeared to be grass in the lawn. I assume the stag was hungry enough to eat things that deer generally avoid. From time to time the stag stopped and looked up at me, as shown here, but never seemed frightened.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 2, 2019 at 11:50 AM

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Artist Boat Coastal Heritage Preserve

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On October 6, after time at the Kelly Hamby Nature Trail, we went over to the Artist Boat Coastal Heritage Preserve. Linda had told us to expect to see Solidago odora, called fragrant goldenrod, sweet goldenrod, and anise-scented goldenrod. My nose and brain detected a vinegary scent.

Close to the goldenrod was some croton, Croton sp.

On one of the croton leaves a tiny fly caught my attention. UPDATE: the good folks at bugguide.net have placed the fly in the genus Condylostylus, adding that it may be a female Condylostylus mundus.

Another find was some flowers of Vigna luteola, known as hairypod cowpea, wild cowpea, and yellow vigna.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 26, 2019 at 6:17 AM

Atlantic ghost crab

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Another find on the beach at the Kelly Hamby Nature Trail along the Gulf of Mexico in Brazoria County on October 6th was a juvenile Atlantic ghost crab, Ocypode quadrata, which wasn’t much more than an inch across. As it scuttled about sideways on the sand, I eventually got close enough with my 100mm macro lens to make a few decent portraits. According to the Wikipedia article about ghost crabs, “the name… derives from their nocturnality and their generally pale coloration.” This crab was obviously trying out some diurnality, which is what made it possible for me to take pictures.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 24, 2019 at 4:44 AM

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