05/27/2023 front yard

The rainbow garden is almost there.
The winecups have gotten MASSIVE. I have never seen such mammoth winecup leaves in the wild.
A typical winecup with regular sized leaves. We saw this one today on our afternoon walk, at Saxon Park.
A view panning over to see the Salvia greggii and coreopsis too. All the white flowers in the raised beds are cilantro. If you’ve been looking at our iNaturalist feed, the cilantro flowers are hopping with insect activity.

05/13/2023 what’s happening at Saxon Park

Maybe a Pediomelium sp blooming? There’s a lot right now! Very cute! Edit: Abby has kindly identified this as Psoralidium tenuiflorum.
Sensitive briars have adorable puffy pink flowers!
Baptisia australis blooming- few weeks ago it was all B. bracteata and this weekend we only saw the blue!
Only a quarter mile in and Briar demanded to lay on the wet earth in the shade.
A rough leaf dogwood starting to bloom.
Ooh a dark center in a sun drop primrose—maybe that other less common species??
Nope it’s a flower beetle nestled deeply in the lemon yellow primrose flower!
The trail sides are covered with rabbits tobacco!
Another requested rest break by Briar dog.
Up the hill, Gaillardia suavis and Echinacea angustifolia (I assume) are blooming, starting to bloom, and finishing at various places!
We met a three-toed box turtle going on the path too. Briar has not met many turtles.
We saw a three toed box turtle! It was very intriguing but concerning to briar. She was cautious but also wagged.

05/05/2023 Lexington WMA quick visit

05/07/2023 gumweed comparison

We walked Briar at Ruby Grant park today and saw what baby gumweeds (Grindelia) look like.
This confirms that we do have some growing at home. These park ones were not sticky, which is why we were dubious about the home ones.

04/10/2023 gobble gobble

Two male and one female Wild Turkeys walked down the camp road! This is one of the males. We determined they are the paler southwestern form after looking in the Sibley bird guide.

04/07/2023 first pass at Bird Haven Trail

Briar judges Mom.
The only Escobaria we’ve seen so far!
This rock has really neat concentric layered circles!
Briar practices standing on new surfaces. She’s getting better about benches.
A lovely Echinocereus! Grama grass in the background, and a nice pile of small sandstones nearby. The fence in the background is the edge of the state park.
Another fine Echinocereus with grama grass. Cholla cactus and juniper in the background.
This rock has a sharply defined layer.
A soil crust lichen on sand!
Maybe some sort of Liatris plant stalk?
Big sandstone jutting up in the trail.
Yucca, lichen on sandstone, and sideoats grama grass.
Closeup of pointy yucca tips.
Waiting for botany time Mom. Briar was concerned.
A prairie lizard!!! Same genus as the spiny lizard at home.
Clove currant thinking about blooming.
Trail marker at top of hill. Nice sandstone layers here.
Mom caught up with us. Briar was happy.
Now that all humans in one place, Briar can rest in the bench shade.

04/08/2023 Bird Haven Trail at Black Mesa SP

Invasive storks bill geranium in the mowed areas near camp and road.
Clove currant is thinking about blooming!
Don’t know what this seedhead is but it has cool divisions inside like a pinwheel!
Last year’s dried up silver leaf nightshade.
Saltbush (Atriplex sp) leaves
This trail has one bench before it merges with the Vista trail. There is a second bench on the Vista Trail towards the park office, overlooking the RV camp area. The trees shading it are hackberries.
Briar thought the flat rock was boring but Mom and I saw lots of good stuff here.
We saw several fast ants on the big flat rock.
Here are two smaller rocks together. Look carefully in the crack for a small green bit.
Zoomed in- do you see the green nub yet?
Here it is, an adorable baby cactus seedling!
Most of the cacti here seem to be the ribbed Echinocereus. I’m not sure about the baby since I don’t know if the seedlings should be ribbed yet or not. we saw one Escobaria type earlier on the trail.

04/08/2023 Picture Canyon, Comanche National Grasslands, Colorado

We hopped across the border this afternoon to Colorado (and time traveled to Mountain Time). Here is the sign for Picture Canyon under a cloud-speckled blue sky!
This sign points the way to more prairie! (Or, you know, the trail to the petroglyphs. )
Great rocks and lichens along the trail.
Just a hint of green spring on this tiny tough little bluestem!
This rock was very rectangular.
The chollas here were less sad than the Black Mesa ones. Maybe because this is an arroyo?
The cooler microclimate with shade and a different rock nearby resulted in some foliose lichens!
We found a flower blooming that wasn’t skunk bush sumac! Mom identified this as Ribes leptanthum, trumpet gooseberry. It has lovely flowers and very friendly spines too. We didn’t see many insects out on either species though, presumably because it’s such a drought.
Little sprinkles to the west (if it even hit the ground) on our way back to camp!
On the way back we stopped to see the replica of a brontosaurus femur that the park brochures note is on private property by the roadside. It is for commemoration of many dinosaur fossils found on the private property.

04/08/2023 mule deer!

Maybe a dozen or more Mule Deer heading across the camp road and up the hill! Here are two young or female.
One male was with them near the end of the herd!
Pausing on the hillside.
Two deer pausing in the rocks. We are still here at Black Mesa State Park.