Archive for the ‘Wildlife Management’ Category

Watching for Monarch Butterflies and Texas Horned Toads at Lucky Boy Ranch

September 23, 2008

It’s been a feast or famine season for weather, with an intense drought busted by some relief-providing rains…and that means there’s nectar waiting for this season’s Monarch Butterflies.

A gang of us will head out this weekend to see what we find.  We have 500 tags, a net for every taker, and high hopes of nabbing the elusive creatures.    Three weeks ago we spotted tens of Monarchs along the river, and plenty of eggs on the swamp milkweed.  Stay tuned for a full report.

Meanwhile, who would have guessed that in addition to the illustrious Monarchwatch, the organization that started the Monarch tagging project, there is also a Horned Toad Lizard Watch? 

Horned Toads Make Occasional Appearnces at Lucky Boy Ranch

Horned Toads Make Occasional Appearances at Lucky Boy Ranch

It’s true.   In 1997, Texas Parks and Wildlife began tracking the appearance of Horned Toads, affectionately known by Texans as the “Horny Toad.”   We’ve noticed the funny lizards (the official state reptile) seem to have declined in abundance over the years.  Read the 10-year summary of Horned Toad spottings here.

The good news is that Lucky Boy has a steady supply of Carpenter Ants, which is the Horned Toad’s primary food source.   This may explain why we’re seeing more of the horned reptiles of late.   Just in the last two years, we’ve had three sightings–one just last weekend by Nick and his crew.  Thanks to Lilliana Fields for the fine photo.

So…if we ever tire of tagging Monarchs (unlikely), we can always track Horned Toads.

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