Crab spider on a Ten Petal Wind flower

Crab spider on a Ten Petal Wind flower petal sitting in ambush! Crab spiders have 8 eyes and can see in all directions to spot and capture their prey. In the second image can you see 4 of the eyes? I am sure those 4 eyes were watching my camera lens (hovering about an inch away!) and thinking its world was about to end. Well, the spider survived my visit and I hope found a meal or two. Most crab spiders are "ambush hunters" and often sit in flowers waiting for an unwary victim to appear. Notice that the front two legs are held open in a ready position to quickly grab prey. Every day should have some kind of adventure and discovery and this little crab spider provided mine for the day and week! #DoctorBot #LakeKirby


Kirby Elm Trees along the Boardwalk

Kirby Elm Trees along the Boardwalk: These are not leaves floating in the puddles from the recent rains. Maybe you saw yesterday’s post about Kirby Elms Before and After, which showed the flowers and then the mature fruit called a samara, which is a winged seed. The wings help give the samara some lift as strong winds blow it off the tree and at least a few feet away from the parent Elm. I think it working great with the strong storms we are having this week! #DoctorBot #LakeKirby


Kirby Elm Trees Before and After

Kirby Elm Trees Before and After: This is a followup to an earlier post about the Elms starting to flower a few weeks ago. Top image is from mid February and shows the male and female flower parts in all their glory. Fast forward to mid March and the flowers have been pollinated. Male Elm flowers release their pollen into the wind to drift and land on the female parts of a different flower on the same tree (but hopefully a different tree!) for fertilization. The lower image shows the immature Elm fruits, each containing a single seed. Elm fruits are called samaras, which means “winged seed.” #DoctorBot #LakeKirby


Kirby Wildflowers: Windflower or Carolina Anenome

Kirby Wildflowers: Windflower or Carolina Anenome. Native to the U.S. The small “stalks” at the base of the middle part of the flower are stamens, which are the male flower parts that make and disperse pollen. The receptacle or middle part houses many individual female flower parts, each of which will produce a single seed. Notice how the petals are white within towards the center and lavender outwards. I included a grasshopper’s view from the ground. Windflowers are starting to bloom along the dam road. #DoctorBot #LakeKirby



THIS JUST IN!! The April 25th clean up at Kirby Lake (and all parks) has been cancelled!
We will work hard to get a new date set when the threat has past.

American Elm

American Elm leaves appearing on some trees along the Boardwalk this week. Notice that the leaf base (towards the top of the image) is unequal. This is a distinctive characteristic of all species in the Elm family, including Hackberries. Earlier this week, the Hackberries along the boardwalk had no leaves yet, only leaf buds and flower buds which you can see in the second image. The Elms started their spring back in February. #DoctorBot #LakeKirby



DoctorBot's nephews digging in the Kirby Mosasaur pit

DoctorBot's nephews digging in the Kirby Mosasaur pit. Mother Nature can offer a welcome and calming antidote to the unprecedented times we are living in. Here's a link to a PBS article with details: Public health experts: Parks are a safer bet in the age of coronavirus
It's a great time to bring your kids out to Kirby! #DoctorBot #LakeKirby


Plains Yellow Daisy, a member of the sunflower family

Kirby Wildflowers: Plains Yellow Daisy, a member of the sunflower family. The first image is not a flower but an inflorescence, which is a collection of lots of small flowers called florets. This is how flowers are arranged in the sunflower family. The other images are buds in different stages of development. Just coming into bloom now along the dam road. Closeups of flowers show some of the most beautiful designs of nature! #DoctorBot #LakeKirby


Various wildflowers beginning to appear at Kirby!

Various wildflowers beginning to appear at Kirby! It's been slow in coming but wildflower season is finally here. I explored along the Kirby Dam road today and found scattered plants from several of the showy, early spring species and I will be sharing them with you in the coming days. Let's get started! Shown here is Crow Poison, a member of the Lily family. As of today (Mar 13th) this is the most abundant showy wildflower at Kirby. More to come! #DoctorBot #LakeKirby


Kirby North Trail Pond

I call this the Kirby North Trail Pond. I found it on a recent walk along the Kirby north hiking trail. It's obviously the result of the abundant rains we've had recently. It's great addition (at least for a while) for Kirby wildlife and should be a good place to look for various animal tracks. I will see if I can share some with you!
#DoctorBot #LakeKirby


Spring Cleanup

THIS NOW IN!! The Spring cleanup for Lake Kirby is now scheduled for April 25th Mark it on your calendars now!!
Go too and sign up today!
This year the team captain for Lake Kirby will be Mitch Wright.


MYSTERY Challenge Wildflower 2020

Kirby MYSTERY Challenge Wildflower 2020: Can you guess which Big Country and Abilene area wildflower this image shows? All you have are the leaves for a visual clue but I can tell you a few other hints: 1) the flowers are yellow and it will soon be in flower all around Abilene in large numbers, 2) you will see the yellow flowers along I-20 and along 83/84 in Abilene, 3) it has a 2-part common name: “________ Daisy”. If you are a local Big Country Master Naturalist and know what this plant is, please don’t say! This is what I would like for you to do for help in identification: Download a cool and easy to use app for your iPhone or Android mobile device called Seek. It’s free and made by the folks at the Smithsonian. You just take a picture with your phone, upload, and get an answer back pronto. Download Seek and then head out to Kirby! #DoctorBot #LakeKirby



This is a non-native wildflower called Henbit and it is very noticeable all over town now. I've been impressed with the large areas in prolific bloom in front yards and vacant lots this week. This view is from the grassy hill in Kirby's Nature Play area. #wildlifephotography #wildflowers


Crow Poison or False Garlic

Kirby Wildflowers: The common name is Crow Poison or False Garlic. You can find this plant throughout most of Texas and it is one of our most abundant and widespread native plants. As a member of the Lily family, the plants have an onion-like bulb. I love the delicate beauty of the flowers of this perennial plant species. The scientific name is Northoscordum bivalve. The first part of the name is Greek: Nothos means false and scordon means garlic! #DoctorBot #LakeKirby


Pin Clover

This is Pin Clover and it is in abundant bloom in and around the Nature Play area as of this past weekend. This species is interesting in that the flowers, which are just under the size of a dime in diameter, bloom early in the day and then will drop their petals by late afternoon. You can see the fallen petals in the third image. Pin-Clover is a member of the Geranium family and is native to Europe. #DoctorBot #LakeKirby

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