Nalle Bunny Run Virtual Tour 2020-07-12

Hill Country Conservancy staffers Sarah Dean and Carolyn Stephens met me on their Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve Sunday morning to record our fifth virtual tour of the property. Here are some highlights from this very warm and humid morning. (I'll update this post when the video is posted.)

Near the gate we heard a Painted Bunting singing. We waited a bit and the bird flew into view, and then a second Painted Bunting joined it. This was surprising because both were mature males, who normally would be chasing each other off each other's territories. But they seemed to coexist just find and even flew away still loosely associated and going in the same direction. Maybe it's late enough in the season that they've stopped being territorial until next year? Here's one of them:

Painted Bunting - 1 - 2

On the sandy prairie near the northeast corner of the preserve, we had just finished photographing a Neon Skimmer dragonfly when another large insect flew in and landed on a grape vine. While it flew we were stunned by its metallic green and blue colors. After it landed we saw it also had orange legs and incredibly long antennae. It looked like a member of the Long-horned Beetle family (Cerambycidae) but I had never seen one like this! It turned out to be a Bumelia Borer and I can't wait to learn more about this dazzling animal. Here's one of my photos:

Bumelia Borer - 1 - 4

One of the prevalent plants on the sandy prairie area is croton, and it was in bloom and being pollinated by a variety of insects including bees, flies, and wasps. Many people don't realize that many wasps feed on nectar and pollen as adults, and thus are important pollinators. Here's one I photographed that the iNaturalist community has tentatively identified as a Five-banded Thynnid Wasp:

Wasp on Croton - 2

The most exciting part of the morning came on the west side of the preserve in the deciduous woods habitat area. Carolyn and I were looking at an empty cicada shell when Sarah spotted a large bird flying through the woods. I was too late to see it but then we all saw a second bird fly in the same direction. It was a juvenile Great Horned Owl. We went into the woods to see if we could find these birds and we were lucky to find one, awkwardly perched on a tree trunk and nervously watching us. In the middle of the photo, you can just barely see one of its massive talons!

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owls are amazingly adaptable birds of prey that can live in urban and suburban habitats as well as more natural areas. Juvenile birds are seen more often because they haven't learned how to be as sneaky and wary of people yet.

In addition to the owls, I ended up recording 27 species of birds.
Here's our complete list on eBird.

Here are these photos and more from the morning posted on Flickr.

And attached are most of these same photos as iNaturalist observations.

Update 2020/07/17: Here's the video:

Posted by mikaelb mikaelb, July 13, 2020 20:27

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

American Bumble Bee Bombus pensylvanicus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 09:29 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Photos / Sounds

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Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 10:37 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Photos / Sounds

What

Bumelia Borer Plinthocoelium suaveolens

Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 09:24 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

This large green and blue and orange beetle flew in and blew us away with its amazing iridescence and colors! The Seek app identifies it as a Bumelia Borer, and I think it's in the longhorn beetle family.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Common Buckeye Junonia coenia

Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 10:52 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Eastern Amberwing Perithemis tenera

Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 10:14 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Western Honey Bee Apis mellifera

Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 09:59 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Much of the sandy prairie habitat type was covered in blooming croton, and there were bees, wasps, and flies busy polinating it.

Photos / Sounds

What

Flies Order Diptera

Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 10:00 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Much of the sandy prairie habitat type was covered in blooming croton, and there were bees, wasps, and flies busy polinating it.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 10:46 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

This is one of two juvenile Great Horned Owls we were so lucky to encounter in the deciduous woods habitat. The two siblings must be still hanging around together. We flushed them both and then walked into the woods and were fortunate to see this one.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Great Spreadwing Archilestes grandis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 08:54 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Female Great Spreadwing

Photos / Sounds

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What

Little Yellow Pyrisitia lisa

Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 11:10 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Black-and-yellow Lichen Moth Lycomorpha pholus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 10:36 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Photos / Sounds

What

Ligated Furrow Bee Halictus ligatus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 09:59 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Much of the sandy prairie habitat type was covered in blooming croton, and there were bees, wasps, and flies busy polinating it.

Photos / Sounds

What

Neon Skimmer Libellula croceipennis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 09:14 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Female Neon Skimmer

Photos / Sounds

What

Painted Bunting Passerina ciris

Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 08:26 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

One of the first birds we observed was a male Painted Bunting singing near the gate. It flew into view and then was joined by a second mature male Painted Bunting. Neither seemed bothered by the other's close presence. Maybe territoriality was over with breeding season? Despite one still singing?

Photos / Sounds

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What

Summer Tanager Piranga rubra

Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 08:28 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Texas Stillingia Stillingia texana

Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 08:33 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Photos / Sounds

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What

New World Banded Thynnid Wasps Genus Myzinum

Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 10:00 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Much of the sandy prairie habitat type was covered in blooming croton, and there were bees, wasps, and flies busy polinating it.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Five-banded Thynnid Wasp Myzinum quinquecinctum

Observer

mikaelb

Date

July 12, 2020 10:02 AM CDT

Description

Taken during the fifth virtual tour of Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Much of the sandy prairie habitat type was covered in blooming croton, and there were bees, wasps, and flies busy polinating it.

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