by Linda Jo Conn
Eric Neubauer and I joined forces Wednesday, July 7, to investigate the diversity of wildlife at the Apache Pass Event Center on the San Gabriel River, a unique location on the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail and a stop on the Brazos Loop of the Great Texas Wildlife Trail promoted by Texas Parks and Wildlife.
The mowed, fertilized and herbicided open areas of the privately owned location did not hold a lot of appeal for exploration, especially since the Bermuda grass was dripping wet from morning dew. The peripheral areas along trees and fence lines were the more interesting locations for plants and listening to bird songs.
A gravel bar beside the flowing river was the high point of the visit. It was teeming with spiders, damselflies and small frogs. A naturalist’s paradise!
Eric brought his awesomely simple spider scoop which made the photography and inspection of spiders a snap as well as his advanced (compared to my point-shoot-and hope) camera and his vast knowledge of spider identification. As usual, the adventure was a learning experience for me.
The number of colorful damselflies we observed was incredible, as well as the many tiny frogs and toads Eric was also able to spot and point out. I am certainly looking forward to another visit when the river is flowing at a slower rate. If you decide to drive over that way yourself, be sure to visit the gravel bar along the river. And visit iNaturalist.org for the day’s observations by eanuebauer and connlindajo.