BioBlitz Observations from the incomparable Sally Evans!

September 9, 2021 Bioblitz at Brockdale Park

​The morning was perfect – the temperature was just below seventy and the skies were clear. I arrived at the park expecting to see many vehicles as folks came out to count the birds and bees and Texas trees but there was only one other car. That belonged to our hostess and caretaker of this beautiful little park. It was Lorelei with her leather shin guards and long sleeved shirt and her long hair tied up under a floppy hat. But her welcoming grin was all I needed. We exchanged some good morning words and she admonished me to take care around the ‘hordes of ‘bioblitzing folks’. I began my walk at the point that gave me a view of Lake Lavon with the sun coming up just above it and a reflection on the pond in front of me. The snow on the prairie plants were massed to my left with some tall gaura flowers sticking up amongst them. Some of the fox tail seed heads with the sun behind them gave me the impression of looking at x-ray pictures of a spine with the ribs sticking out in miniature. And everything was quiet.
​I had my camera and my iphone with me. The phone has become a necessity to stay connected to my family in case of a problem. That is the way with us older folks now. But the phone was also to record on iNaturalist the organisms I would find this day. But why should I take a photo of the Snow-on-the Prairie as all of those folks and I know what it is. I just stood and enjoyed the view. The gaura standing above it was entertaining some honey bees as they collected the nectar. As I moved closer for a better look two or three grasshoppers jumped from one leaf to another as I had startled them but they weren’t ready for the day yet. It needed to be warmer for them. Their coloring was such that I could hardly see them on the leaves of the plants. Again, not worth an iNaturalist photo in my mind. These small creatures did not make enough sound to break the silence of the early morning. I did glimpse a small female hummingbird checking some turk’s cap blossoms in the small garden along the walk.
​Slowly I walked along the concrete walk along the northern side of the pond. The water was still. No dragonflies or damselflies were flitting about in the air. I couldn’t see any little fish in the water and the turtles were not poking their heads out to see who was in their domain. There was a lot of algae along the pond’s edges but there were no snails or insects moving about. All was still.

​Lorelei came to tell me she had to leave for a bit and would I welcome anyone else who came. There was one other vehicle in the lot by this time but that person had put on her floppy hat and taken her camera and headed for the trails snapping photos as she went. As Lorelei and I talked we frightened a green heron out of the cattails along that part of the pond. It flew low across the pond and disappeared in the grasses on the other side. Again there was not a sound.

​Actually I am not being truthful about the noises. Way off beyond our vision was a roadway and the early morning traffic was a low roar but I had tuned it out as an unnatural sound. A dog barked way off in the distance. There were some crows far away that complained about something occasionally but that too soon passed as a part of this little spot on the earth. Two black vultures flew by and joined three others up on the roof top of the high point pavilion. Two more were sitting on the osprey nest platform but they weren’t talking about much either on this quiet morning. I think they were waiting for the heat and the thermals of air to help them in their gliding surveillance of the land.
​Finally I saw a turtle’s head watching me from the middle of the pond and soon another came to the surface and again checked me out to know if I were a predator or prey. Circles began on the pond as something came to the surface to feed. I suspect they were the evidence of small fish catching the insects that landed on the water. One fish finally jumped out of the water. And a single dragonfly flitted by and out over the pond. Perhaps I had just come between the night time life and the day time life. Whatever the reason I was aware that my beautiful morning was marred by the lack of birds singing or insect sounds like the cicadas or crickets. Perhaps this is the way a September morning is supposed to be.
​I took two photos of plants that were so healthy and lovely and put them into the iNaturalist listing but they were common plants – nothing to exclaim about except their wonderful adaptation to heat and lack of water. I had walked up to the pavilion and listened to the vultures walk about on the roof but they disliked my intrusion and flew off. Way out on the far side of the lake three white egrets were wading in the shallows looking for tidbits. And still no sounds.

​It was time for me to return home and the chores of the day. As I walked back to the parking area a Carolina Wren flew up from a pile of sticks and scolded me for intruding on her day. But she took time in between scoldings to preen her feathers and scratch her head. And a blue jay flew over complaining that I had interrupted their neighborhood. Some spittle bugs were tucked in the notches of leaves on a low plant. And as I bid farewell to Lorelei, who had returned by then, two great blue herons quietly flew past the trees and around to another roosting spot or pond.
​I didn’t ‘bioblitz’ the way it should be done. I didn’t add to the data of the flora and fauna of Texas or this area. BUT I did allow my mind a rest from the everyday ‘blitzes’ and had a bit of mind blitz as I pondered over the extreme quiet and lack of wildlife. I was able to be outside and observe and listen and think about just what I was seeing - what was here right now. It was perfect and so quiet!
Sally Evans – Master Naturalist – September , 2021

Posted by lisa281 lisa281, September 22, 2021 20:43

Comments

Thanks for sharing your observations, Sally! We had a prior commitment that day, but if I’d known you were going to be at Brockdale Park, I'd have figured out some way to get out of my other obligation. I’d have rather been at Brockdale Park with you! Your description almost makes me feel like I was there, though. Sorry I missed it.

Posted by lisa281 4 months ago (Flag)

@sambiology Here's something you don’t want to miss: observations from the 2021 Fall Bioblitz, Sally Evans style! She may not have helped our numbers much, but pretty terrific observations anyway!

Posted by lisa281 4 months ago (Flag)

Sally this was so delightful. A morning at the BPRC prairie is a perfect place in the universe for rest and recuperation.

Posted by jsuplick 4 months ago (Flag)

Sorry I missed the Bioblitz! Snow on the Prairie!! I would love to have seen it. I did through your eyes :)

Posted by txstack 4 months ago (Flag)

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