Back on the Pedernales

Falls along the Pedernales

Here there be pollywogs

Vulture, before breakfast

Sedge in bloom

Promising rockfaces

Tail-less Earless

Ladderback Woodie

Having to sleep in a compact rental car was offset the next morning by a fine, cheap breakfast in a little German bakery in Fredericksburg.  Nothing perks me up like a solid breakfast.

Today's destination was Pedernales Falls State Park, a place I had visited in September last year.  In addition to whatever herps were to be found I was interested in seeing more of the place.

Again, the overnight temps were discouraging, with the thermometer reaching down into the upper thirties.  However, the sun was out and the clouds were few, so I had hopes for the day.  At any rate, the views were spectacular, the geological formations interesting, and I was outside and nowhere near work...

I poked around down near the famous falls along the river, stirring up a few brown tadpoles in some of the backwater pools.  Several Cricket Frogs were calling from the weeds and I managed to kick up a Rio Grande Leopard Frog.  Even with the temp at 50F it seems you can always count on a few amphibians.  I got a new butterfly, an Olive Juniper Hairstreak, gorging itself on a flowering sedge - it was so absorbed (or intoxicated) with pollen that I got some great closeup shots.

Callophrys gryneus gryneus

I strayed a while at a nearby bird blind while waiting for the sun to go to work, and enjoyed watching a nice variety of birds, including a Bewick's Wren, one of my all-time favorites.  A lady birder told me of a nearby waterfowl pond, and I decided to investigate, in hopes of turning up either a Garter or Ribbon snake along the shoreline.  No dice - nothing stirring at the pond, and some very nice boards and pieces of tin yielded nothing. 

Afternoon, now, and 75F.  I decided to hike up the Wolf Mountain trail, as I had on my previous visit.  Near the first creek the day's first lizard - a Texas Earless, soon followed by several others.  Off trail I investigated a number of rocky, ledgy areas overlooking the Pedernales, including several outcrops drenched in sunlight, but couldn't turn up more than a few Ground Skinks in the leaf litter.  Bee Creek, a hive of lizard and amphibian activity last September, was deserted and quiet save from the gurgling water.

It was time for me to head into Austin for work-related activities. On the drive in I found a couple small junk piles, but they yielded nothing more than a few Ground Skinks and a Texas Spiny Lizard.  I wasn't happy with my herping results overall, but I had gotten in some great hikes through some beautiful places.  The season was just getting started - plenty of more herp trips just around the corner.

Species Observed

Rio Grande Leopard Frog (Rana berlandieri)
Blanchard's Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans blanchardi)
Texas Earless Lizard (Cophosaurus texanus texanus)
Texas Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus olivaceus)
Ground Skink (Scincella laterale)

Interesting Lepidoptera:

Arizona Sister
Olive Juniper Hairstreak

Interesting Birds

Bewick's Wren
Black-Capped Chickadees
Lark Sparrow
Blackchinned Hummingbird
Ladderbacked Woodpecker
Brown Thrashers


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