Daily Beard Day 6 – We took these photos at 2:30 pm at Stacy’s parents’ house.
After coming back from the farm this morning, we spent the afternoon prepping and organizing for camping. Starting tomorrow, Jason and I will be starting our official field work for his rattlesnake research. We’ll be driving southwest, searching for snakes through the bigger, and camping where we can. We went out for a quick evening excursion which turned up another jackrabbit, a bee hive (if you get the chance, ask Jason about his history with the hive), and a scorpion. In lieu of animal photos, I decided to include a closer picture of a pump jack that was nearby. Even though Jason’s mom feed is some delicious lasagna before we went out, Jason insisted that we stop at Allsups, a gas station with the best bean burritos and chimichangas that a gas station can provide. Dustin, Jason’s brother, was completely right – Putin A1 sauce on the chimichangas is outstanding.
We had another 6AM morning today, and we headed quickly to Jason’s uncle’s farm. On our way out, I noticed the pervasive smell of oil from the drilling that is done all around (interestingly, Jason and his dad don’t notice it unless the smell is strong) and that there were clouds in the sky. Seeing clouds was a refreshing change, hopefully some rain will soon follow. Farming is a major source of income in Seminole (coupled with oil drilling on the farmlands), and vast, circular crop fields dominate the landscape. I was excited to discover that many of the roads through the crop fields are lined with live tumbleweed (not intentionally grown by the farmers, which demonstrates the success of their unique seed-dispersal mechanism – the dead, dried parent plant tumbles in the wind, carrying seeds to different suitable habitats). We, unfortunately, have yet to find any snakes today, but we spotted a Swainson’s Hawk, a Black-tailed Jackrabbit, a Texas Brown Tarantula crossing the road, caught a cottontail, and found another Ornate Box Turtle crossing the road. For as dry and hostile as it is here, I’m surprised that we’re finding so many box turtles. We also saw tons of mammal holes and tracks, but surprisingly few predators.
After a relaxing afternoon, Jason, his dad, and I headed out to a friend’s ranch to see what we could find. Just before leaving, we found a scorpion in the kitchen:
We donned our PPEs and headed out into the field, where we saw a number of bird species (including a barn swallow nest), kangaroo rats, packrats, bullfrogs, cottontails, common side-blotched lizards, an ornate box turtle, texas brown tarantulas, coyotes, dung beetles, tiger beetles, tarantula hawks, a fulvous harvest mouse, and (by far my favorite animal of the trip) a texas horny lizard. Seeing a horned lizard had been on my bucket list since I first saw them in my zoo books as a child.
No snakes today, but still a great day.