The scientific name of this bird-o is zenaida asiatica. I caught this little one taking a drink from the fountain in from of Main Building, and it’s like it posed for the picture, wanting to be discovered. They’re typically found in desert areas, Texas, or southeast coastal areas, and they like to eat berries, seeds, and grains from whatever plants are generous enough to feed them.
Oh would you take a looksie at that. Another unidentified observation? It’s becoming a pattern here…
I’m calling it, cap’n: it’s aliens.
All jokes aside, these tiny white flowers are still unidentified. I have a suspicion that they’re Queen Anne’s Lace. Very cute. Very tiny.
Easter break. Finally home. I thought I would take a picture of these violets, because I’ve never seen these in Texas. They grow all over my backyard, especially covering this hill. Up close they are really quite pretty, but I wanted to take this from this angle to show how common they are. They are fitting for the Easter season. I’m glad they came out because DC had a strange winter/spring transition this year. There was a warm front that caused all the cherry blossoms to bloom about a month and a half early, only to be frozen by freezing rain and snow a week or so later. However, that didn’t stop a lot of flowers from blooming at their regular times even though it did confuse many. I’ve also included a couple of pictures from my mom’s garden. Azalea bushes are quite common where I live, and they are just gorgeous. My mom also planted some Lilly of the Valley. Even though I know these plants were planted on purpose and wouldn’t occur naturally, I still wanted to include them because they aren’t something you see every day in Austin.
The scientific name for this tree is juniperus ashei. This tree has quite a lot of body hair, or rather its bark is very shaggy. The Juniper Ashe is known for its branches, which start almost at ground-level, giving it the appearance that it has more than one trunk.
This is from another day studying at the table I like so much by the Wet Pond. This little orange guy is on my friend’s hand. I loved the way he walked. I wish I could post it as a video, but the way his legs moved was so interesting. This guy was identified as a juvenile assassin bug. For something so small, the name “assassin” is almost laughable. I also had no idea what an assassin bug was. I was surprised to learn they get the name “assassin” from being a part of the Reduviidae family. This family of bugs is almost exclusively predatory. They are blood-sucking ectoparasites, which means they live outside the skin. I soon realized these folks are not to be messed with. Adults can bite humans, usually near the lips, which is why they are also known as kissing bugs.
One of the reasons I love going to school in Austin is that I can study outside most days. There’s a table by the St. Edward’s Wet Pond under a large gnarled oak tree that is perhaps my favorite spot to do work. It’s quiet, and there’s a great view. I’d recommend studying there to anyone. One catch: there’s a lot of bugs. I really don’t mind when bugs crawl over my books or over me. There isn’t an overwhelming amount, and none of them are harmful (although I do try to stay as far away as I can from red ants). Anyways, on this day there were so many of these bugs. They were so cute, but I had no idea what they were! When this was identified as a ladybug, I thought, “No way!” That couldn’t be right. This led me to do some research. These little guys were ladybug larvae. I had no idea they looked so different from adult ladybugs. I was thrilled to learn about the ladybug life cycle. This made me appreciate this project. I wouldn’t have come across this information in any of my Econ classes. This is a really fun, interactive way to learn about the science I run into on a day-to-day basis.
There were so many butterflies in the field, I couldn’t walk anywhere without nearly running into pairs of them flying in spirals, or rousing some from the grass near my feet. I chased this tiny grey one around for a while, trying to get close enough to snap a picture.
Eventually he landed with the sun illuminating his profile, and I managed to get a few shots with the pattern on his wings showing. After getting a good look at the images in the shade, I decided that the Gray Hairstreak butterfly is one of my favorites.
Let me list a few reasons why: Tiny body, easily hidden in the grass, and so fuzzy. I also just love how alien he looks with his white head, slanted black eyes, and striped antennae. I’m constantly in awe of nature’s designs.
This unidentified plant brings images of underwater vegetation to the forefront of my head. It looks like its waving with the gentle caress of an underwater current. I find it interesting that it’s almost white in color, instead of green. Someone should tell this plant’s chlorophyll to get back to work.
I’ve never seen these birds up close before because they fly so quickly and take so many turns, it’s hard to catch them still. The only way I know they are swallows are because of their distinct wingspan. Their wings curve inward, like a U. However, I see these birds pretty frequently. They nest above the door of one of my best friend’s neighbors. I think they fit the definition of lovebirds perfectly. Lately, they have been nesting more and more. I hope to see some little swallows soon! This picture gathered the most attention out of all of my iNaturalist posts so far. I love the way they are facing each other. They look like they could be door decorations. Actually, that’s exactly what I thought they were at first. They are also hard to capture by camera. They fly away as soon as you get super close. I was lucky to get this picture.
The scientific name for this tree is sophora secundiflora. Those pods hanging from its branches might look like peanuts, but they actually contain red, poisonous seeds. So don’t go eating them, no matter how hungry you are. When the Texas Mountain Laurel blooms in the early spring, it gets to show off its beautiful purple flowers!