Friday, March 12, 2021

Nature Walk in the Rio Grande Valley

Sparky is enjoying the Hugh Ramsey Nature Park more and more. She keeps discovering little corners and pockets of the park. 
The cactus are starting to grow again after the big three day cold spell that killed many plants and damaged others beyond repair. But Mother Nature is trying to bring things back in balance, as she always does. There are buds on most of the trees and buds on the cacti. Each one of those little buds looks like it's going to be a little paddle shaped prickly pear cactus leaf in the future.
Sparky rounded the bend on the Arroyo Trail in the park (about a 1/2 mile out and back) and saw this tremendous cactus/succulent. There are a couple of them in the same area. One looks very damaged from the frost. This one, not too badly damaged. But then.....
WHOA! Look at the flower stalk coming out of the second plant. It's gotta be about 12 feet tall! Sparky thinks this is a century plant or an agave species.
Here's a close up of it....It looks like an asparagus stalk! It's growing very fast. 
Sparky has been walking this area almost every day in the morning, and it is growing amazingly fast. It will be cool to watch the progress of it and see what it's like when it blooms.

There are other things starting to bloom in the park, too. Some bushes with pretty little purple flowers....

One thing very nice about this park is there are many MANY signs labeling the native bushes and shrubs, telling you what things are. They just don't look like much at the moment because they are trying to grow! These flowers on the left are wild growing flowers in a field of thorny leaves but beautiful blooms. I'll bet this place really comes to life after a rain. They have only had about 1.5" of rain since September, so things are extremely dry in the park.
Sparky isn't all about the birds, you know....Well, maybe yes and maybe no. There are TWO orioles on this feeder, one is the common Altamira oriole on the left, and maybe an immature male on the right?
This down below is an oriole, Sparky thinks, but she's got to get some more resources at her disposal to be sure....She likes the Cornell Lab All About Birds website, for one...she thinks a female orchard oriole or a female hooded oriole. SOMEBODY will know out there!
When you sit and wait and watch for birds, the darndest things catch your eye...(At least when you are Sparky they do, explains Eldo.) She thought this spider was very very cool, and that it might be a ghost spider (?) having lunch right in front of her....EWWWWWWW! But isn't it cool?
Sparky thinks she will call it quits for today....(Good idea, says a relieved E.) We will be here for another two weeks, and boy, will we be ready to leave Texas by then. It's getting hotter...86 today...sigh...and winds of 20-30 mph almost every day. Come back and visit with us again, soon! Thanks for reading!

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