Journal archives for May 2015

May 31, 2015

From Drought to Floods

There has been an old saying in Texas, that 'If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes'. Well, for the first 5 months this year it has pretty much been rain. Normally we are to 100 degree days by now, but not this year. The rain has brought needed relief from the drought the past few years, however we now have an over abundance with lakes spilling over the edges and flooding becoming and every day occurrence.

With all the rain and change in temperature, it has provided an opportunity for me to see things I normally wouldn't as snakes and other creatures are pushed from their homes. It has delayed migrations and plants are behind normal blooming schedules.

I saw some interesting things this year and many things I saw were after flash floods at the Heard Museum in McKinney, Texas. Here are some of my postings:

http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1564092 - this is currently identified as a white river crayfish. Note his defensive stance in the picture on a gravel road that was flooded. He took this stance when I tried to pick him up and it worked as I never could grasp him after that.

Saw lots of snakes and have become better at identifying them. So good that when I watched the channel 8 story on water moccasins invading yards, I noticed the video clip was of a diamondback water snake.

http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1442502 - Diamondback water snake
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1540441 - Rough green snake
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1424029 - Blotched water snake
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1404080 - Copperhead
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1369796 - Western ribbon snake

While I've seen many turtles, I got my first look at a soft shelled turtle this year where it was in the mud on the side of a flooded road. I also saw the snapping turtle (est. 15-20 lbs) walking across the road from one flood plains to the other.

http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1540124 - snapping turtle
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1539871 - soft shell turtle

I think the most unusual thing I saw was a Gar crossing the road and flipping from side to side. I didn't even know we add them in the creeks here. I'm guessing the floods help move species around that otherwise would be limited to reproduction in one area.

http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1539997

So while the rains have been unprecedented, it did allow me to see different species that I might not normally have seen. I did not want to stay inside everyday and waiting for the rain to stop was pointless.

Posted on May 31, 2015 15:02 by butterflies4fun butterflies4fun | 10 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment

First Butterfly of the Season

This year brought unusual swings in temperature. The first 2 weeks were our coldest days in a row and then the 3rd was usually warm with a week in the 60s and 70s. I'm not sure if that I why I saw these butterflies so early or just that I was outside enjoying the weather. I hope to keep a list of when I see various butterflies in the area to see if there is a trend for when they first arrive during the year.

My first butterfly was actually the Cabbage White followed closely by the Gulf Fritillary. I also saw a Goatweed Leafwing at the Heard, but did not get a picture of my own. (I have linked to a picture I took in March)

Editor Note: I wrote this in January, but didn't see I had to Publish it so now doing so in May.

Since I'm publishing this late, I'm adding additional sightings:
February added the Question Mark, the Common Checkered Skipper
March added the Orange Sulphur, Pearl Crescent, Tiger Swallowtail, Red Admiral, American Lady
April Added the Giant Swallowtail, Eastern Black Swallowtail, Gray Hairstreak, Pipevine Swallowtail, Eastern tailed blue, checkered white, fiery skipper, Monarch

Also note that my sighting of the Gulf Fritillary was not normal and I suspect it was an overwintered Chrysalis that came out to early. We have had freezes since then and it would not have been able to survive. As of May 30, I'm still waiting to see my second one.

Posted on May 31, 2015 16:34 by butterflies4fun butterflies4fun | 21 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment