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Texas wildlife

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I've complained about the things that go bump in the night,

but I have to admit that running has given me a new appreciation for Texas wildlife.

I grumbled some last Saturday because I had to take my daughter to work, when what I really wanted was to go for an early run. On my previous run I'd seen a blue heron in the bayou.

When I got out to Sugar Land to drop her off, I saw a trail running along the water course. I'm not sure what to call that water course, it's not a lake, it's not a bayou, maybe it's a creek. Who knows! In any event, I decided to go run there.

As I worked my way around, I became aware of some interesting black birds that had scarlet patches at the top of their wings, on what I guess I'd refer to as a shoulder (do birds have shoulders?) It was like a wide red swatch, with either a white or yellow thinner line below, and the bottom half of the wing was black. I tried to take a picture but only had my Blackberry so you can't really tell.

A little bit farther on, I heard a large bellow and looked down to see a huge bullfrog sitting half submerged. My Blackberry was NOT up to the task, so no picture!

All in all, it was a very interesting run.

As I drove in to my subdivision yesterday after work, I noticed two turkey buzzards sitting on top of a house. There was a car behind me so I didn't stop to take a picture. There they sat, just surveying the neighborhood! I bet they were looking for that possum that was up the tree in my back yard....

After yesterday's run, I came home to find my youngest sitting with her laptop in front of the TV. I went in to change clothes only to hear her yell at me to come back, there's a bird in the house. Sure enough, a small black and yellow bird had gotten in and was perched on top of an antique Chinese wall hanging. That bird had good taste!

Not sure what to do, I left it alone. But a while later, another Texas critter became concerned. The one with the bows.

So I opened the window to try to pry the screen off to allow the bird to fly off, but I didn't succeed in getting that blasted screen off. In the meantime, the bird is sitting on top of the window as I'm pushing the sash up, and Sophie is bouncing and barking. I reached up, and the bird allowed me to pick it up. I carried it outside and released it on a bush by the window.

I've always been told that the amount of wildlife in an area is a clue to the health of the environment. By that measure, I'd say my neighborhood is still pretty healthy.

Oh, I almost forgot: my house is suffering yet another invasion of tree roaches. Now I know what you think, but these things come in no matter what you do, and it doesn't matter how clean you keep your house. Not that I do.....

When I first moved to Texas, I was horrified by these things. Let's face it, they're big enough to saddle and ride! And I'll never forget the first time I stepped on one in the middle of the night.

These giants come in if it's too wet out, if it's too dry out, anything's an excuse. All I can say is that it must be tree roach season. But I don't think my house is all that healthy an environment, because a lot of them are lying on their backs with legs up, and I stopped exterminating fifteen years ago! There's still that much residual pesticide in my house?

OK, here goes. Not for the squeamish!

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    Regarding ILLBESTRONG:

    NOTE: This person STOLE another Spark's pictures and text... see her comment and check out HER page:

    "Take my picture down and remove the text you stole from my spark page and others' spark pages, I recognized the side columns from some of my spark friends pages. I do not understand why you would steal these things and use my picture as your own. It's creepy, please stop now. Also I am reporting you to the site administrators for theft and harassment." ABSTRACTBUG


    ... scroll to the bottom of 'her' page... in the bottom right corner there is a link to report an inappropriate page. Click on it and leave a link to your own blog, where the inappropriate post was left.
    3969 days ago
  • LN7777
    I enjoyed reading your blog. In Florida we have bugs big enough to ride too. LOL
    3969 days ago
    Neat blogs. Love the pictures. Thanks for sharing!
    3970 days ago
    What a cool blog! I love observing what's going on around me when I go for a run. So many amazing, interesting things to check out, eh? Thanx for reminding me!

    And thanx for the relaxation goodie. I've been very scarce on SP lately because of the demands on my time, but I really appreciated it when you sent it. In fact, it made me turn ON relaxation music. :)
    3972 days ago
    I remember my first tree roach. I was *elected* by my room mates to kill it. I approached it with a shoe and screamed like a girl when it started to fly! I turned around to run and discovered they had run out first and shut the door, trapping me inside with it!

    Now I am matter of fact, and usually my Texas cats get to them first!

    Thanks on the story and pictures!

    3974 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/21/2010 9:53:40 AM
    Ah, tree roaches. I still remember the first one I saw when I moved to Texas about 38 years ago. Actually, what I remember was it's taking off in flight. I think I screamed. We had a lot in the house during last year's drought, mostly in my utility porch where I think they come in via the washing machine drain. I was remarking the other day that I hadn't seen any for a long time. And then last night I saw one up on top of my 140 gallon fish tank, daintily sipping. The cats do dispatch a lot of them.

    Do you ever run in Memorial Park? We drive through the park on the way to the Wortham Center when we come up for the opera and I see a lot of runners and walkers -- looks like a nice place to run.
    3974 days ago
    Hey ... I posted a comment earlier ... where did it go? SP seems to have eaten it! It didn't really say anything other than what everybody else said, so I won't repeat.

    All I can say is that I've never seen a tree roach; I do know the other kind though, and have to say I'm not fond of them! Red-winged blackbirds, on the other hand, I love! We get a lot of them here (especially in early spring) and they always cheer me up.

    I'm glad you're enjoying your runs. That makes it all worthwhile.
    3974 days ago
    I'm not sure Palmetto bugs can fly, but these rascals certainly can.
    3974 days ago
    We call them Palmetto bugs, cats help...

    Today my husband saw a hummingbird fly by our door, I missed it, of course.
    3974 days ago
    I'm told the little yellow and black bird is either a female Yellow Warbler or a female Hooded Warbler.
    3974 days ago
    The black bird with the red bar - Red-winged Blackbird - the first sign of spring in Ohio - Love them and have tons.

    Possum - a common sight in Ohio....as are the Turkey Buzzards or Vultures. They come back to Hinkley Ohio on March 15 every year - a national event to Hinkley-ites!

    I've been invaded by teeny tiny ants - can't get rid of them....pisser!

    I just love wild life - add coyotes to my list.
    3974 days ago
    So glad you are enjoying your runs and the wonder that comes with them in and out of the house.
    3974 days ago
  • JLITT62
    The only possums I saw while I lived in TX were roadkill -- just like those were the only armadillos I ever saw.

    We had palmetto bugs -- I don't think they're quite the same thing as tree roaches? Those look even bigger, and God know the palmetto bugs creeped me out!
    3974 days ago
    Heavens, that tree roach is bigger than my cat!

    Thanks for the guided tour of Texas wildlife--even the kind with the bows.

    3974 days ago
    Nature is a magical kingdom that we get to play in.
    3974 days ago
    OMG emoticon that is hideously huge and I would be screaming!!!

    We deal w/ Box Elder Bugs (size of fire flies) and the stupid stink bugs (orange lady bugs that stink when you kill them).

    Makes me laugh, the other day I squished a bug and got bug guts on my finger and I am grossing out. My BF laughs at me and said 'I don't believe you. You can stick your hand inside an animal carcass but don't like bug guts.' I just looked at him and said, 'but the guts are gone!'

    3974 days ago
    You turned lemons (not being able to do the early morning run) into lemonade--sugar free, of course (running on the Sugar Land trail). Love your pics.

    I live in Houston and know those giant tree roaches well. It's been suggested we call them "pets" and name them. emoticon
    Even though I hate to kill any living thing, these are just not compatible with my home decor. Spraying them with hairspray enables me to give them a proper burial in the toilet.

    Thanks for an enjoyable blog!

    Green Squad
    3974 days ago
    Love the marsh story with the red-winged blackbirds. I enjoy walking Tara along our nearby creek, which often has egrets and herons and usually the red-wings and various ducks. I have two tiny prefab ponds with a bullfrog and couple of goldfish. Fortunately, Tara doesn't consider them a snack, nor do our nearby waterbirds (perhaps scared off by the pink flamingo lawnart left by the previous homeowner!).

    Sophie's reaction to the probable chickadee reminded me of Tara's yesterday as I tried to connect my laptop in an outdoor wi-fi area. A sparrow hopped along behind the bench and Tara lifted her head to watch. Clearly, she's not a retriever! I also don't know what she'll do if our neighborhood possums come back. My previous poodles went crazy when it foraged in the trellis by the front windows, but Tara only barked at me and other dogs last summer. And I wonder if your roaches are like our waterbugs. Definitely creepy to see on the sidewalk during night walks, though thankfully Tara doesn't try to eat them!
    3974 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/20/2010 11:51:08 AM
    I've never seen a tree roach ... we don't have them here ... they don't sound any more pleasant than the (other) kind. Those I have seen!
    3975 days ago
  • AMYSUE20
    I lived in Houston! I went to Sam Houston State University and taught in Spring..I miss it very much....(now in Florida) yeeehaw and keep on running ;)
    3975 days ago
    Looks like a great place to walk/run.
    3975 days ago
    Loved the blog but I would never get adjusted to the roaches. I can handle spiders but roaches are my phobia! But the rest of the area looks absolutely beautiful!

    By the way, I've heard that roaches would be the only living thing to survive a nuclear war.
    3975 days ago
    Nice trail!!! Adorable woofer.
    And how sweet that the bird let you carry him out.

    Nice diversion. Now I gotta get back to work!
    Love those Red Winged Black Birds- they love marshy areas, have a song that's sort of like brrrrrrrrrrr-ing (with up turn to song on the "ing") emoticon emoticon
    3975 days ago
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