Thursday, December 29, 2005

Butterflies in winter, and other wonders of nature

At McKinney Falls State Park the day was beautiful. Here is a typical upland landscape at McKinney Falls, with a pencil cactus at the left, scrub cedar elms here and there, lots of prickly pear cactus, and lots of blue sky.

The fact that no birds were visible, or scarcely any, hardly mattered. I did get one photo of a mockingbird which was in the process of swallowing a bug.

I don't know if the bug was a butterfly, but today was the 29th of December, and I am still seeing butterflies. The most common were small sulphurs, but I got a photo of a variegated fritillary and (once again) a buckeye.

Variegated fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)

Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

And here is one of the largest mustang grapevines I have ever seen, nearly a foot in diameter at the base. Maybe in wetter climates wild grapevines this size might be common, but around here this is a monster. I wonder how old it is?

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