After a hard week, I went out on the land twice today--morning, a trip up to Fox Pavilion to check the water (needed filling) and look for the birds I saw yesterday...no luck on that. Walked out the east berm to the field, and back along the woods edge. Since I didn't find the birds I was looking for, I looked for bugs instead, and found this handsome fellow on some goldenrod:
Late afternoon, I walked down to the creek woods, straight through, and over to Owl Pavilion to check that water (didn't need filling) and see what I could see. Not much to photograph (keeping an eye on the lowering sun...) and came back along the north fenceline and then through the dry woods from the north. Fox Water still OK, so I went on down through Cactus Flat to see if the birds I'd seen at that time on Friday evening were by any chance back...and they were. Another new species for our list...Bushtit. These are tiny gray birds that are at the east edge of their range here (the Edwards Plateau has a population but most are in the serious Southwest. I was able to get a better view today, having taken binocs along with me, and I got enough blurry and part-clear pictures to put together and be sure of the ID. The females have "white" eyes, like the white-eyed vireo, and no other small gray bird that size has the same. The males have dark eyes. The pictures aren't good enough to show.
This is a Small Milkweed Bug, Lygaeus kalmii, and in the sun it even looked bluish lavender where the image looks gray. Quite handsome. It's a new species for the list; I had photographed the Large Milkweed Bug (adult and nymphs) several years ago but not this one.
However, back right after the rain I went out and took some good pictures of a Gulf Coast Toad, Bufo valliceps. This one is lighter than most of ours, but the dark stripe along the side shows clearly.