Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Palmetto State Park

I'm not afraid to camp alone and have done it often, but sitting around a campfire alone is no fun.  When I learned one of the adventure clubs was spending a weekend camping at Palmetto State Park, I was happy to be able to join them.  It was sitting around the campfire with them that I learned of the "Ottine Swamp Thing".   After reading the story of the "thing" they said, "Now let's go on a night hike."   

Monsters?  They didn't mention this in the brochure.  I had to try to find this "thing" of which they spoke.  We hiked the Palmetto Trail by moonlight, but did not find evidence of the creature.  We did find a tree full of vultures, which was a little creepy.   

I'm jealous.  Why don't we have a "thing" in our Houston-area swamps?  Maybe we don't need to invent monsters because we have alligators.  Or maybe we used to have one until the alligators ate him.   

I suspect the swamp rabbit is the true culprit.  If he is hopping along through the palmettos, the fronds will sway.  I found this one on the San Marcos River Trail.

Also found on the river trail, the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker drills holes and comes back to eat the sap and the insects it attracts.        

There were a large number of vultures in this park.  I found these two Black Vultures along the Ottine Swamp Trail.

Also hanging out on the swamp trail was a Question Mark Butterfly, so named because of a mark found on the other side of his wings.  I spent a great deal of time waiting...waiting...for the wings to open for the perfect shot...not realizing he was posing with his namesake exposed.  Lesson learned.

He is beautiful.  I like the purple edging on the bottom.  

I'm linking up with Outdoor Wednesday.


The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail:  Central Texas Coast
Date of visit:  February 15-16, 2014
Time of day:  Sunrise - noon
Temp:  60 deg F
Conditions:  Overcast, calm
Species Identified (14):  Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Northern Cardinal, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Savannah Sparrow, American Goldfinch, American Crow, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Carolina Wren    


  1. What a great shot of the vultures! We have turkey vultures here which aren't as handsome as these.
    Love the butterfly shot!!!

  2. Those are great photos and this must have been a fun camping trip. Thanks for stopping by, I've enjoyed visiting here.

  3. Looks like a great place to camp, explore and to go birding Jen.Great shot of the Black Vultures,a bird I'd expect to see in the air most of the time.

  4. Beautiful photos! A wonderful place!

  5. beautiful. i like the question marks and the commas, both. really great shot of the black vultures! i think they're quite handsome!

  6. You got some great shots of the vultures! Nature's clean-up crew. That butterfly is really cool, too.

  7. What a great story and series of photos! I hope you didn't find the monster waiting at home!

  8. Love those black vultures - so striking!

  9. Firstly, thank you for looking in on my blog, secondly, what a great set of pics, the Vultures and the butterfly are awesome, I wonder what kind of butterfly it is.
    All the best Jen. Gordon.

  10. Oh wow I love the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker picture!

  11. Nothing like a mysterious swamp thing to get the tension rising!

    Love the picture of the butterfly.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  12. What a very nice blog you have!

    I'm happy to have found it. Love all the fine photographs. That butterfly is a stunner! I'm partial to vultures, so that's one of my favorites.

    Look forward to catching up on your past posts and following you in the future.

  13. Glad there weren't any monsters!

  14. Jen, these pix are gorgeous and thank you for visiting...I think I might be your newest follower!...:)JP

  15. Cute swamp bunny, and a perfect butterfly. The alligator probably did away with the monster. I know I'd leave!