May 9-11, 2007 trip

So, I keep getting more request for photos but I have not learned how to use the photo album yet although I am getting to it. So, I thought I would supplement the BLOG with some photos, plus I need to practice using the website interface so I can add pertinent stuff when the time comes.

So the following photos are from the most recent trip to Starr County for the star cactus herbivory project. We were able to survey and incredible 400 acre ranch that has not been grazed since the 1950s and ran into quite a bit of wildlife including 4 Texas tortoises (Gopherus berlandieri) in one day.

Molly trying to coax a Texas tortoise to behave for the photo

We also ran into quite a few other herps including Texas horned lizards, reticulate collared lizard, Texas longnose snake (DOR), and a Diamondback watersnake (no it is not venomous).

We also ran some traps for mammals and caught a few goodies including the first Mexican spiny pocket mouse I have seen in Texas. This rocking little heteromyid is restricted to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas although it is common further south into Mexico. They have a pretty goofy head and fur-lined cheek pouches for storing seeds.

Mexican spiny pocket mouse (Liomys irroratus) in hand

Of course the birds were cool and I think we saw around 35 species in a day including Verdin, Curve-billed Thrasher, Crested Caracara, and Harris’s Hawk. Also ran into a couple of barn owls using the local deerstand as their personal nest box. We collected some pellets to help identify rodents on the property seeing as Barn Owls are much more proficient at collecting rodents than man is. Here is a picture of two baby chicks doing there creepy swaying thing when they feel threatened.

Barn owl fledglings in Starr County deer blind

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