Wednesday, March 28, 2018

East Texas Arboretum

We've started moving toward our summer volunteer gig in Maine, and spent a couple of nights in Athens, Texas. One attraction that we thought would be worth a visit was the East Texas Arboretum and Botanical Society.

This place had a little bit of everything, Formal gardens, food plots, old buildings, hiking trails, and more. And a Texas-sized set of wind chimes!  The chimes themselves are cut off welding bottles. The entire chime was about six feet tall.

The "Fairy" sculpture was made out of stainless steel wire and was human sized. 

A few historic buildings from the region have been relocated to the Arboretum, including a small church and a two-stall milking barn. 

Once we explored the exhibits we set out to walk the nature trails. We were a little early in the season for many birds, but we did see this beautiful Eastern Bluebird.

In a previous blog we posted pictures of a Panamanian butterfly called the Glossy Daggerwing that is well camouflaged when closed but very bright when open. We have a butterfly in Texas that is similar, called the Goatweed Leafwing. When closed it lives up to its name, blending in well with dead leaves.

But when open it shows a bright orange color. I was never able to get close enough for a great "open" picture, but this gives the idea:

We also saw a mated pair, actually flying though the air while attached abdomen-to-abdomen. Once they perched I was able to get their picture. You can see that the male completely envelopes the female while they mate. 

Another interesting find was a Six-spotted Tiger Beetle. These metallic beetles are small at about 1/2" long, but astonishing fast. In terms of body length they are considered among the fastest animals on earth, covering 125 body lengths per second. For a six-foot tall person that would be like running 500 miles per hour!

More Panama coming soon!


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