Friday, October 10, 2008

Nature Day: Kleb Woods Nature Preserve

We had our first nature day of the year on Friday. We had planned a BIG trip to Galveston, complete with instruction from a sand castle builder! But, Hurricane Ike had other plans. So, we took our first trip to Kleb Woods Nature Preserve. It was a great day with great weather.... but also lots of mosquitos.

This was one of our neatest "finds" - a nest of wasps! When I got home, I saw the zoom on my camera (as usual) had captured more than I could see with my eye. First of all, I thought the coloring on these wasps was beautiful! Then, I started some research to find out what kind of wasps we'd found. These are paper wasps. And, a neat thing about them is they don't cover the cells until the last stage of their metamorphosis. So, in this photo you can see some eggs (I see a few in cells on the left) and some larvae and some capped cells and some that have already been "busted" open. Paper wasps usually won't attack unless their nest is disturbed.
An unknown type of wasp on some goldenrod.

A gall... I love galls!

Cypress knees in a duckweed covered swamp.
A pair of grasshoppers - the kids said this is a mommy carrying her baby. :-) We weren't sure what kind of nut they were sitting on, but after some investigation we found out it was a pecan.
Just a neat looking tree - a vine was growing around this tree and the tree had "covered" it with it's own bark. I know it must be bad for the tree, but I thought it looked neat.

This was the picture I didn't get... there were several hundred carpenter ants living in this split-open tree. It was an amazing amount of activity. But, I never got a great shot of the ants. If you enlarge this, you might see some slightly blurry ants.

This was my other favorite "find." I actually found this outside while everyone else was still in the nature center. I took some photos and looked it up when I got home.

It is called a cuckoo wasp. They are often metallic blue in color. They are a solitary wasp and the females lay their eggs in other wasp's nests. This cuckoo wasp was on the same porch as the paper wasps.

Anyway, we had fun and it was so nice to be back on a nature day! I love watching these amazing creatures, photographing them, and learning more about them.


Robin said...

Great pictures, Dana!
You know, bees don't really bother me at all. But I really dislike wasps. Luckily, I've never been attacked, but I've seen some attacks that were horrible.
I love the picture of the cuckoo wasp. That is so cool. I wonder what gives it it's blue color?

Shanna said...

I love your pictures! What a neat place!

live4evermom said...

Love that blue cuckoo wasp. Glad you got a wonderful field trip in.

Rhonda said...

Glad to see that your first nature day was a success! Great photos as always!

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