Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Late Autumn Photos

Here are a few Gault views from the last few weeks...

Oaks (Quercus sp.) showing off their fall colors. 24-NOV-12

Our first hard frost, as recorded by the frostweed (Verbesina virginica) 11-DEC-12

A honey bee (Apis mellifera), showing off all four wings. Normally, the smaller wings are tucked under the larger. 13-DEC-12

Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) showing off. 18-DEC-12

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Leaves are falling and mornings are more crisp, and the turkeys are taking over... as seen in this photo, taken by Celia Isbrecht on 18-OCT-12.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Visiting biologists

We had some biologists from Texas A&M out at Gault in search of salamanders. It appears that they were unsuccessful, but we'll still keep an eye out...

Monday, September 24, 2012


The herd has been hanging out near the tent frequently, not seeming to mind us going about our business around them. We have had above-normal rain in the region, but the site remains fairly dry (except for the water table in the deep pit, of course).

Saturday, September 1, 2012


It must be getting dry again... we're attracting frogs to the tent. Deer and turkey are gathering in larger numbers, and the pigs are back...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Back from New York

It's been almost two weeks since I returned from New York. It's hot.

Tent visitor

This ground skink was climbing around in the pit the other day, perhaps on pest control duty.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

For the birds

Monday we were greeted by three male turkeys competing for dominance in the field near the tent.
Freckles was having none of that... (sorry about the annoying background noise)

Inside the tent, a female Black-chinned hummingbird tired herself out, and took a brief nap before taking off into the blue sky.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Snake alert!

This afternoon at lunch, quite a commotion arose in the big pecan. First a couple of tufted titmice began flying erratically and tweeting incessantly. They were soon joined by three or four black-crested titmice and a summer tanager. The focus of their attention was the crotch between two large branches. It seems that there was an intruder in the tree. This small Texas rat snake was hiding its head from all the harassment.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This little one was just waiting for mommy, by the screens today.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Summer Settling In

Even though it's more than a month away, we seem to have settled into a summer weather pattern already. Dry days are slowly lowering the water table again, so the deep units can go down; good news for digging, not so good for farming. The summer tanagers (photos in 'Birds') have reared their young and abandoned the nest at the picnic pecan tree, and the green is losing its grip to the summer browns.  Saw a few new snakes this spring (I should be getting a coral snake photo at some point from the Hampsters). Here's a small Texas rat snake that was outside the tent a few weeks back.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lily Mae, visiting aunt Snowflake (who, as of May 12, is still carrying).

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May has arrived! The prairie coneflowers, aka Mexican hats (Ratibida columnifera) have taken over the valley, the Hampsters have taken over the tent, and we have a new calf thanks to Freckles.

Hampster Laura Jefferson shared this photo of Mexican hats at Gault.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


The Virginians are in town for a few weeks, and thanks to the explosive thistle crop this year, we're learning all about butterflies (mostly from catching and releasing them from the tent). The arthropods page is quickly filling up with the colorful winged creatures.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring rains have made Gault lush and green. Several new flower species have been added to the list and photo pages, as well as the butterflies and other insects that feed upon them. It looks like we will have some nice Mexican plums later this year...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

It's been a wet March, so we have a very green Gault this Spring. Bluebonnets and all.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

They're not the best shots, but I finally got the red-shouldered hawk on camera. This one lit near the tent, so I was able to get this pic before it took flight (usually it takes off before you can get the camera aimed), and one in flight, which is posted on the birds page.

Friday, March 16, 2012

One of our watersnakes (Nerodia erythrogaster transversa) has a new favorite spot at the bridge.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

First Gault blue bonnets of the spring were seen today, photo on the plants and trees page.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A pair of barred owls (Strix varia) has been heard calling back and forth at various points around Gault recently, but sightings have been limited to glimpses. Hopefully we'll be able to get a photo...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Jill Patton contributed this photo of a congregation of blotched plain-bellied watersnakes basking next to Buttermilk Creek, in April 2009.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Early Spring

Signs of an early spring at Gault: blooms on the wild plum tree (Prunus mexicana) on the lane (photo forthcoming), and a snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina). I was investigating the presence of a handful of turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) milling about the creek near the bridge, and noticed the decomposed remnants of an unidentified small mammal (opposum-sized) laying partially submerged on the edge of the creek. It was possibly a victim of the recent high water event. I was trying to identify it when I noticed movement beneath it in the water. Snapping turtles are 'vultures' of the underwater world, and this one was scavenging a meal. Unfortunately, I was only at the site to check on the pumps today, and I left my camera at home. Maybe the meal will last a few more days...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Identified Taxa list has grown with the addition of a bird list compiled in 2008-2009 mainly by Byron Stone, with contributions from Jeremy Russell and Mike Rogan. Also, check out the screech owl pic by Clark Wernecke on the Birds page.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nice rain soaked the place. Two great blue herons flew over the site together, headed for a nearby pond.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The great blue made a lot of noise taking off from the pond. Must have been annoyed by all of the ducks. Unfortunately, I still haven't been able to get close enough to get a good identification shot on any of the ducks (my small camera doesn't have much of a zoom). There are at least three species, though, one of which is posted in 'birds'. It may be a female canvasback, but the sunset lighting makes it difficult to tell.