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Nature Trail Tour April, 2006
Take a virtual tour of the Sibley Nature Tour!
[Additional Tours: February, 2006 | May, 2006 | July, 2006]
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The leafing out of the mesquites are late this year this is the stage normally reached by April 1st.
In areas with plenty of grass cover from the rains of 2005, the Huisache Daisy is hidden by grasses such as the feathery three-awn.
A Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly met an untimely end on a prickly pear. The small clumps of growth below the swallowtail are the true leaves of a prickly pear. The stalk of one of the tunas (fruits) of last year retains the red of the fruit.
The berries of Tasajillo (or Christmas Cholla) are covered with tiny glochids (spines). Scaled quail (or blue quail) love to eat the berries, but it is not worth the trouble for us humans!
With the three inches of rain in March, the scrawny rosettes of Huisache Daisy rapidly grew and gave us a week or two of spectacular fields of yellow.
In an area of blowsand in a low spot, the tracks of quail gave proof to their existence they are often too smart to be seen.
Huisache daisy has a strong sweet odor that fills the air.
Blue curls germinate in places where blowsand has created hillocks of soil under mesquites.
The shadows of the mesquite are filled in by the color of the blue curls to create a deeper colored shadow.
The white tipped anthers of the blue curls make the blooms jewel-like.
A few blossoms of the tiny blossoms of filaree remain its peak bloom was in late March.
Pepperweed was harvested by farmers and hunters for flavoring for spring greens it has a hot pepper flavor.
Tansy mustard is edible as well, as part of a spring salad mix.
Verbena pumila has blooms the size of a freckle pumila means small.
During the dry winter packrats had to eat the bark from the mesquite. The large (foot-long) rats with big ears rarely come out during the day. Sometimes they climb four feet high to eat bark.
Badger holes are arched on the ceiling but this might have only been a temporary den for a night or two.
Huisache daisies lined the back trail to the pond through the mesquites with their just emerged leaves.
At the east end of the pond is thicket of coyote willows and a large cottonwood. Each night water from the nearby well runs through the grove for several hours.
Overhead the new leaves of the cottonwood and the willows began to promise the shade of the hard summer.
A new cottonwood sapling has sprouted from the roots of the older tree and its leaves rustle in the wind, and twinkle as the wind twists the leaves from shade to sun and back.
Among the new leaves of the hackberry trees, the tiny yellow-green blossoms await a pollinator but no insects were noticed on this mornings walk.
Some of last years leaves remained on the tree due to the spherical galls formed by flies.
Green willows line the cattail filled east end of the pond it will be another month before the new cattail leaves hide the old ones of last year.
An old Russian olive tree was downed by high winds after it died from a chancre disease unique to the species.
Under one of the willows is evidence of frequent visitation by Great Tailed Grackles.
The grackles screeched and hollered at the presence of the early Saturday morning trail hikers and golfers near the pond.
The coots in the pond added to the bird cacophony, as did a sora, which hollered out its whinnying call.
This mallard drake did not fly from the pond, but merely swam to the other side which might indicate that a hen was sitting on a nest in the cattails.
Students from South Elementary planted cottonwood cuttings along the south edge of the pond on March 30th, which by April 8 had sprouted leaves.
On the west end of the pond, the Burr Oak has just begun sprouting leaves.
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