Blog of the El Camino Real Chapter, Texas Master Naturalists, Milam County, Texas
Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall
The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!
Earlier this week, I happened to be checking my Martin House poles when I thought I saw something in the netting around the poles. I looked closer and there was a female Mantid (Praying Mantis) who had gotten tangled in the netting.
It took me an hour to get her out unharmed. As soon as she was free she flew onto my arm and proceeded to climb up till she was on my shoulder. She looked at me with her triangular shaped head and turned her head back and forth. Kinda neat and creepy at the same time. I guess we were bonding…
Mantids are a sit-and-wait predator. The females are larger than the males. It is rumored that sometimes if a second male comes near her during mating, well, she just eats the first guy by biting his head off. Maybe that’s where that saying comes from?
They mostly eat other insects or small lizards. They do call to attract a mate, but otherwise are silent.
She was interesting to say the least, and I guess she was thanking me for saving her, because when she finally flew down to the grass, she started following me.
I finally out-distanced her and everyone went home.
Note from Suna: Pamela Neeley from the El Camino Real chapter has been working with water features on her property for the past few months (years), creating not only areas of beauty (sight and sound), but places for aquatic plants to flourish, and wildlife to sustain themselves on. I toured her property a couple of weeks ago and encouraged her to share some of her ideas and techniques with fellow Master Naturalists. Maybe you can borrow of her creative thoughts some in your own gardens and wild areas!
Hi. I know we haven’t posted much. Blame the blogmaster, Suna, who has been doing a huge work project and hasn’t had extra energy. However, over this weekend you’ll hear from more of our chapter!
I (Suna) just wanted to quickly share what I found on my walk today, where I was checking out flooding. I saw what looked like trash on the roadside in front of my ranch, on County Road 140. I looked closer, and I realized it was eggshells!
They were not hard. They were rubbery and soft. Judging from the nest, I figure they were turtle eggs. That made me happy, because I’d never seen a nest in my nine years of exploring this area.
I’m not 100% sure what it is. Maybe snakes? But it appears the rain encouraged a lot of them to head on out. I found a second nest with shells.
Now, maybe a skunk or raccoon found them and had a snack, but I didn’t see any carcasses. I did see what appear to be another couple of nests in the area, so my plants is to go back and check them in a couple of weeks.
I’ve seen a lot of turtles in the road lately. Maybe they were laying. I think we have red eared sliders and pond sliders, both native, though the red eared ones are considered invasive.