Sunday, August 10, 2003

Saturday, August 9...Another day in the Swamp

Where did all these dragonflies come from? While driving around Beaumont on Saturday I noticed them swarming along the roadsides. Down at the pond they were everywhere. The ones I could identify were Eastern Amberwings, Eastern Pondhawks, Black Saddlebags, and Red Saddlebags.

Bird activity, on the other hand, has noticeably slowed down during this hot dry spell. The Carolina Wrens still sing occasionally, but otherwise it's become rather quiet. Birds seen around the yard on Saturday included a juvenile White-eyed Vireo and a Northern Parula - the first parula I've seen here since a singing male visited my yard in March. I checked the bat house to see if it had any occupants, and sure enough, it did...but they were big cockroaches, not bats. Disappointed. A Gray Treefrog at my front door on Saturday was a new amphibian for me. Usually it's the smaller Green Treefrog that I find clinging to my doors and windows (or are they Squirrel Treefrogs? Some of these species are not easy for me to differentiate). I've also been been seeing lots of baby anoles and geckos lately.

One of my neighbors is a judge here in Hardin County, and people in the neighborhood just call him "The Judge." Well apparently our pond is overpopulated with turtles, which are eating too many fish, and so The Judge has judged that it's time to catch and relocate them to the nearby bayou. He uses a hook baited with bacon. A couple of times I've found him down at the pond in the evening with a bucket of turtles bound for the bayou. Most of the turtles I see at the pond are Red-eared Sliders or Cooters, but one of his catches was an odd little guy with a keeled carapace and a mean looking mouth. At first I misidentified it as a baby snapping turtle, but later I hit the books and realized it must have been some kind of mud or musk turtle.


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