Houston Arboretum Wildlife Pictures



I’m going to attempt to present these pictures as I saw them so you can get a feel for how I went on this little field trip today.

I’m walking down the trail to the Wildflower field and noticed this large, green Spider.  On closer inspection I could see this Spider was eating some type of Skipper.  I have no idea what kind of Spider this is, so if you know, please share.

Spider Eating Skipper

Spider Eating Skipper

I finally make it to the Wildflower field, where it is just covered in yellow from the Black Eyed Susans.

Black Eyed Susan Field

Black Eyed Susan Field

I then started scanning the field, looking for Butterflies.  It’s pretty cloudy outside, and not terribly warm, so I didn’t expect to see many Butterflies.

Then I see some orange movement from the corner of my eye.  It’s a Gulf Fritillary warming up for the day.  It looks as though it’s been around for a while, as it has a torn wing.

Torn Wing Fritillary

Torn Wing Fritillary

I continued to scan the field.  There’s a black and grey speck on some type of weed.  I zoom my lens in for closer inspection.  It’s a Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar. It seems a little lost, as this plant doesn’t appear to be one of its host plants.

Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar On Weed

Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar On Weed

Last time I was here, it was a warm, bright sunny day, but not today.  Not near as many Butterflies as before.  Since I brought my macro lens, I thought it might be fun to look for smaller insects.

“Hmm, weird looking leaf on that Black Eyed Susan” I think to myself.  “Uh, did that leaf just turn its head?”  “Damn, that’s no leaf, that’s a big ol’ green Praying Mantis.”

Praying Mantis On Black Eyed Susan

Praying Mantis On Black Eyed Susan

Why does that Praying Mantis keep turning its head back and forth?  Does it see some type of prey I can’t see?  “Ah ha, I found it!”  I see what its looking at.  It’s looking at another Praying Mantis.  This one looks much different than the one before, just gray in color.

Grey Praying Mantis

Gray Praying Mantis

I continue scanning inside other Black Eyed Susans.  There’s something green-like inside of one of them.  “Is that thing moving?”  It is, but I don’t know what it is, other than some green looking worm.  No idea what it is, so I make a mental note to investigate once I get home.

Green Worm On Black Eyed Susan

Green Worm On Black Eyed Susan

“Wait a minute, is that another worm inside yet another Black Eyed Susan?”  It is, but this one is yellow.

Yellow Worm On Black Eyed Susan

Yellow Worm On Black Eyed Susan

Leecy calls.  She tells me she can join me.  I tell her I’m in the Wildflower field.  Leecy finally joins me and I show her all the critters I have seen thus far.

Suddenly off to our left, this large bird dives head first into the field of Wildflowers.  What the hell?  I can’t get a picture of that, I have the macro lens attached, not my zoom lens.  “Leecy quick, hold this (my macro lens) while I change lenses!”

That big bird starts flying.  I’m not ready, I’m still changing lenses!  “Leecy, watch where that bird goes” I shout!

That bird lands in a tree, not terribly far away.  Looks like a hawk of some sort (It’s a Swainson’s Hawk).  “Look at this size of those feet” I tell Leecy!

Swainson

Swainson's Hawk

The hawk starts to fly off, and of course, I wasn’t ready to get a picture.  Oh well.

Leecy starts complaining that her feet hurt from the walk she did this morning.  “Okay, let’s just follow this trail around the pond, then we can head home, okay?”  Leecy agrees.

We round the bend, still on the trail by the Wildflower field, and notice there are lots of Fritillary’s flying around.  They really seem to like this plant that has these delicate white flowers on them.

Fritillary On White Flowers

Fritillary On White Flowers

Besides the Fritillary’s, there’s some Skippers that also appear to enjoy this plant.

Skippers On White Flowers

Skippers On White Flowers

We finally make it around the pond where there is a bench so Leecy can rest her feet.  I start scanning the pond, looking for any type of movement.  A brown shape gently causes the water to move, then another.  A head pops up.  I know these guys, they’re Red Eared Sliders.  Actually it’s a whole family of Red Eared Sliders (probably 7 of them).  The biggest one starts to rise out of the water.

Red Eared Slider

Red Eared Slider

Leecy whispers she’s getting tired.  “Okay, let’s start heading back.”

We make it back to the main building of the Arboretum.  “Leecy, can I show you where we were when I took my Photography class?”  She nods.

We hear Ruby Throated Hummingbirds, but we can’t see them just yet.  I’m scanning the plants for Caterpillars.

“What the heck is that I ask?”  It looks like a giant green worm with red dots on it.  It’s eating that plant it’s on, whatever it is (anybody know what it is?)

Giant Green Worm

Giant Green Worm

“Look at the lizard Leecy tells me”.  “Wow, this guy is really shedding.”

Lizard Shedding

Lizard Shedding

We both continue to scan the plants for some type of movement.  No movement, but another weird looking Worm or Caterpillar catches my eye.  This one looks like that big green one, but this one is yellow.

Yellow And Red Worm

Yellow And Red Worm

Leecy tells me again how her feet are hurting and I realize that it’s time to go.  It’s supposed to rain today, so we should probably leave.

And off we go, a fun day at the Houston Arboretum (at least for me, Leecy is now sleeping so I can’t ask her:-)

Valerie - The green caterpillar almost looks like a luna moth larva — we found one last year in our falling hickory tree leaves — but I think yours may be a rustic sphinx moth. Check out the photo on this page: http://www.whatsthatbug.com/2009/09/20/rustic-sphinx-caterpillar-9/. The yellow and red worm might be a younger rustic or related moth.October 3, 2009 – 5:51 pm

texdr - Ah heck, if I would have known it was a Moth I would have paid more attention. Especially if it was a Luna Moth, those things are beautiful!October 3, 2009 – 6:27 pm

Elizabeth - WHOA!! Not even sure where to start?! So many great, great pictures. I haven’t seen a lizard shedding before. Way cool shot!

Striking, haunting and captivating shot of the Hawk. Love their beauty.

Love the spider devouring its prey. Yuumm!

Disappointed that the new website doesn’t have the enlarge option of each picture. When I click on it, the picture is nowhere near as large as before. I really liked the ability to zoom in on your fantastic photography.

Thanks for sharing your day trip with us. I enjoyed it immensely.October 5, 2009 – 1:44 pm

Linda Rippert - The green spider at the beginning is a Lynx spider.March 1, 2011 – 4:06 pm

texdr - Thanks Linda! About the only spiders I can directly identify are Wolf Spiders and a Black Widow:-).March 1, 2011 – 9:06 pm

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