Wildlife Wednesday: October 2014

A whole month has passed? I kind of feel like I forgot to do my homework but maybe I can scrape together a few things for Tina’s Wildlife Wednesday.

I’ve been on a rampage lately learning as much as I can about propagating Texas native plants. I thought I was getting the hang of things but then one morning I saw a tiny frog sprouting in one of the pots. Okaay. Austin is even weirder than I could have guessed.

did someone plant a frog

More signs of winter’s approach …

A jogger passing by saw me taking this bird photo and exclaimed, “Oh! They are so beautiful! What are they?” Which just goes to prove that everyone has a soul mate somewhere — even the most despised among us. The answer, of course: lowly starlings. They’ve already put on their speckled winter costumes and bandit masks.

Sturnus vulgaris
Sturnus vulgaris

When I stopped to take this next photo I once again drew a crowd. “Oh, it is so beautiful! What is it?” I guess people see a person with a camera and think the bearer must be some kind of expert. If only they knew the truth!

Naturally, I had to find out as soon as I got home. Everyone reading this probably already knows it is a Gulf fritillary but this butterfly was new to me. Judging from its travel worn appearance it probably just flew in on the overnight from Buenos Aires.

It was resting near some lantana with flowers mirroring the same shade of orange. What a mug! Their faces look cartoon-like. The white spots on the wings looked more like silver in person.

Agraulis vanillae
Agraulis vanillae

Not all insects are crowd pleasers … (but I think they are grand)

Not one person stopped to ask about this next insect. But. Spotted wings. Red eyes. Yellow body.


Another overlooked insect. Bottoms up! Now it is my turn to ask: Oh! It is so beautiful. What is it?

sept yellow and friend

And a little about the birds and the bees …

Now that I know they are there I’ve been looking for crows. No luck. I did see and hear many mockingbirds. TexasDeb tells me that in the fall the males sing and sing to attract mates and implied that the music is really all about sex! How crass.  ;)

I prefer to think they are actually getting medieval on us — singing glorious songs of courtly love. Luckily, I speak a little bird. This is a portion of what I heard:

Lady birds hear this song!
Love is an agarita berry.
Look past the thorns of this world.
I offer to you my tiny heart
Bursting with sweet promise …

The power of his verse kind of gets lost in the English translation. I realize now I should have just recorded a sample.

singing mockingbird

16 thoughts on “Wildlife Wednesday: October 2014

  1. Ha – love the native “frog plant.” And those starlings are still pretty and interesting looking, even if they have “lowly” in their title. Reminds me of the lesser goldfinch – which I think are pretty fantastic and not any less interesting than the American goldfinch. Thanks for sharing your wildlife!


  2. I haven’ t done my homework either but you just have to step outside your door and there you have wonderful creatures. You even grow frogs in your plant pots. I love the butterfly; quite beautiful and how wonderful to have mocking birds. I only know mocking birds from the Harper Lee book. Well you can’ t call that knowing them. I had no idea what they looked like.
    A wonderful post.


    1. Thanks, Chloris =) I suspect the frog was looking for a nice place to hibernate through the winter. Couldn’t have picked a worse spot though.


  3. Goodness–lots happening! Firstly, your photos are always just awesome. I’m not sure which is my favorite, but that emerging frog (toad?) is pretty great. Starlings. Hmm. Not my favorite, but I couldn’t agree more that their song(s) are beautiful. I just wish they weren’t so aggressively destructive, vis-a-vis song birds’ nesting sites. I used to volunteer for Austin Wildlife Rescue and once when I was feeding a variety of baby birds, there was a young starling and he CONSTANTLY had his beak open for more. The other birds just couldn’t compete. I did ignor him (mostly–not completely), but man, it was hard. But mockingbirds? I love them, I love them, I love them! I also prefer to think that they’re poets, wooing their ladies with grand notes and gestures. And maybe, if they sing just right, they’ll get lucky.


    1. Nice of you to say so, Tina. I wasn’t terribly happy with this month’s photo offerings. I really was slacking off through September it seems. haha That must have been fascinating work at the rescue center. I’d love to hear more stories about that experience sometime.


  4. Hey now, I don’t think I stated that mockingbird music was ALL about sex, just MOSTLY about sex. I’m sure there’s courtship in there as well and your translated lyrics bear that out.

    I think your little green bug is a conehead – part of the katydid family. And in my book starlings are kind of awesome with their wide range of vocalizations. If it sounds weird and is coming from up in a tree, that is probably a starling!


    1. =D Thanks for being a good sport and …
      thanks for the ID. I do think you know everything. Coneheads! I just looked them up and laughed at the ‘Greek’ scientific name: Neoconocephalus. Pretty sure there is a political joke barely hidden in there …
      Even though they are invaders I like starlings, too. The flight clouds they make are absolutely spectacular.


      1. Flattery will get you…somewhere… : ). I looked up the ID on coneheads a couple of years back and the name stuck with me – probably due to a longstanding SNL viewing habit of long ago. Do you think the bugs are from “France” too?


        1. haha I heard ‘coneheads’ and immediately thought of SNL, too. They must be from “France.” How else could one explain their table manners?


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