Children from Day Nursery of Abilene

Kirby hosted about 50 children yesterday from Day Nursery of Abilene for an afternoon program of guided nature exploration, including some free time to dig for Mosasaur bones in the sand pit, climb on the play equipment, and walk across the climbing logs. A major theme was learning about the resident deer at Kirby. We even spread out samples of a deer's favorite Kirby foods on the picnic tables. And the groups later went looking for deer tracks and found them! Lots of learning and fun was had by all! #DoctorBot #LakeKirby



The last few days of 2019 at Lake Kirby!

Good Morning and welcome to the last few days of 2019 at Lake Kirby! I thought I would challenge you with a quiz this morning. What plant is shown in the image? A few hints are: 1) the image is an extreme close up of a part of a branch on the plant, 2) this is a very common evergreen shrub and can also be a tree, and 3) it does not have flowers but does have orange-colored berries that contain a seed. What is the name of this plant? #DoctorBot #LakeKirby


December Rains come to Kirby

December rains come to Kirby and the Abilene area! We've had a dryer than normal fall and winter (so far) and today's storms brought some very welcome rainfall. The moisture will benefit the cool season (or winter) plants, which provide food and habitat for our winter resident wildlife species. Many of these same plant species are also spring wildflowers and they spend their winter months growing stems and leaves. #DoctorBot #LakeKirby


Jay Packer's Birding Big Year

Jay Packer's Birding Big Year is almost over! Please support Lake Kirby Nature Park by pledging an amount per bird seen by Jay during his Big Year. As of Dec. 25th, Jay had seen 289 bird species, with total pledges of $7,887 which will be donated to Lake Kirby. For more details and to make a pledge please visit this link: #DoctorBot #LakeKirby


A Sunset Mosasaur Dig

A sunset Mosasaur dig yesterday evening at the sandpit! These are two of my paleontologist nephews who are visiting Abilene with their family for the holidays. The Kirby Nature Play area and Boardwalk is a great place to take your family and friends who are in town for an afternoon of exploration and fun, especially with the warm and sunny weather which is forecast through Christmas Day! Now for a bit of Hollywood trivia: Do you remember the large, voracious reptile that lived in the lagoon in the Jurassic World movie? That was a Mosasaur! I have attached an image of the Jurassic World Mosasaur. #DoctorBot #LakeKirby



Holiday fun with Mistletoe

As promised here is some more holiday fun with Mistletoe. I had help with this one from the National Wildlife Federation: Ancient Anglo-Saxons noticed that mistletoe often grows where birds leave droppings, which is how mistletoe got its name: In Anglo-Saxon, “mistel” means “dung” and “tan” means “twig,” hence, “dung-on-a-twig.” So, now you know how this plant got its name. You can be the judge of whether knowing the true meaning of "Mistletoe" makes it a less than desirable part of your holiday decorations. My advice: just keep it a secret! #DoctorBot #LakeKirby



Ice Crystals

How would you describe the shapes of these ice crystals? Here are some images from the frosty morning we had yesterday along the Kirby Boardwalk. To me, the crystals have a barrel or cylinder shape. This is radiation frost, which usually forms on a night with clear skies and a good amount of water vapor in the air. The clear sky allows the air temperature to fall to the point where the water vapor changes to a liquid form, which then freezes on the surfaces of plants and other objects which are often close to the ground (your car windshield is an exception). The patterns and shapes of the ice crystals are interesting to observe up close, especially on fallen leaves. Most of these are from Kirby's hackberry and elm trees. #DoctorBot #LakeKirby




December Wildflowers at Kirby!

December Wildflowers at Kirby! I did not expect to see anything in bloom when I visited this past weekend. I was really lucky to spot just a few flowering heads of Broom Snakeweed, refusing to give in to winter dormancy. These Snakeweeds must surely be about the only plants blooming now at Kirby. Plants go to the trouble to produce flowers in order to attract pollinators and I wonder if any insects have visited these flowers? Regardless, these yellow December blooms are a reminder that the natural world is alive and active even as we approach the first day of winter. #DoctorBot #LakeKirby



How do you spend your winter?

How do you spend your winter? Many species of wildflowers spend their wintertime growing leaves, stems, and roots, but especially their leaves. Leaves are the means for converting the light energy from the sun into the chemical energy of starch, which is then stored in the plant's roots. This process of making food continues throughout the winter and into early spring. Then, when conditions like the temperature, moisture, and the amount of daylight are just right, the plant will produce its pretty blooms using its stored food. I took the image of the leaves yesterday. The images of the flowers were taken earlier this year in May. This is Texas Bindweed (which sometimes has a pink eye in the center). #DoctorBot #LakeKirby




An almost wintertime scene

An almost wintertime scene along the boardwalk at Kirby! We are only 12 days away from the first day of winter and this image gives the impression that at least the plant life at Kirby has gone to sleep until spring. Well, that's not exactly the case! Some of Kirby's resident wildflowers are already hard at work preparing for spring. The plant in the second image is an example I found today and I will tell you all about this wildflower tomorrow. Stay tuned! #DoctorBot #LakeKirby


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