Off into the Wildlife Preserve

Today I got up early. I’m getting good at early weekend mornings. I met some of the Master Naturalist chapter in downtown Cameron and we carpooled off to a genuine field trip, like in the old days! We went to the Balcones Canyonland National Wildlife refuge. It’s a place I’ve driven by many times but never stopped at before. So glad we went there!

It’s there to protect the endangered golden cheeked warbler (who is out of town right now). It’s huge, which is good because suburbs are creeping toward it rapidly. There’s not gonna be much nature within a big radius of Austin soon.

Nature

We had lots of fun on a good walk with Chris Harper, an old friend of our chapter, who now works at the refuge. We learned lots about the flora and fauna of the area, which is like where I used to live in Brushy Creek.

Our intrepid group

I enjoyed finding new plants, even though most were past their prime. Still, there’s much beauty in a Hill Country autumn. Here is just a sampling of what we saw. It’s such a beautiful place, with a creek, meadows, and limestone hills.

I also took a lot of pictures of plants of course. I just love the unusual plants that grow in this area. The karst and limestone make for interesting flowers, not just Ashe juniper that you usually see.

It’s what the golden cheeked warbler nests in. It’s not totally bad! They make nests from the “cedar” bark.

Anyway, it was fun guessing what the dried up flowers were when in full bloom. The liatris, a vivid purple in bloom, is now pale and whiteish. It’s still pretty.

You don’t need to reading me analyzing each plant. But here are some.

See. I didn’t even label them all! But I enjoyed it. If you want to know you can always go to iNaturalist and search for sunasak.

To be honest, I’m in pain. From somehow wrenching my diaphragm muscle yesterday slipping on horse poop while running after the doofuses yesterday. So. Time to rest.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

3 thoughts on “Off into the Wildlife Preserve”

  1. I’m learning so much what TX looks like ( to my Eastern eyes). It must be so rewarding to be able to identify so many flora and have community with a like minded group of people. I’m sure there are POC who are intereste…., I wish the group showed more diversity in people, not plants. I’m sure they would be welcome….. I hope you feel better today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We work very hard to get more community involvement. At least two of the people in the photos are Hispanic and we do have Black members. The time commitment makes the group hard for many folks. That’s why most are older people. There’s a huge push for diversity and outreach, however.

      Liked by 1 person

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