First expedition to Crystal Canyon

I was not expecting to go to Crystal Canyon last weekend; I was however expecting to go up there sometime with @kimberlietx sometime soon after my brother got out of SAT training and me out of hock with the doctors. I was able to get the opportunity to check it out and see first hand what this Crystal Canyon was all about. We started out at the doughnut shop where we usually stop before a trek or a trip by our house. It was early and we didn't want a large breakfast but as soon as we got breakfast we were off to the Canyon. Once we got there I got my camera and my new bag for my guides and other gear. I walked around while the rest of my crew were getting ready for the hike. We were soon off and I must say when I started out on that trail I was blown away. I really didn't know what to expect from the maps it looked like such a small place. I mean it is in actual terms because by other parks standards it is pretty easy to maneuver. I was however blown away by the geological formations and stuff that were all around us. I am a rock hound just like my folks they are the ones that got me into rock and fossil hunting when I was just a young kid. True the dinosaur fever was pretty high when I was a kid and fossil digging is still a favorite past time when I can find a good place to dig that is acceptable. This place is full of interesting rocks and things but it is also a good place to look for birds, insects and, is good for flowers too. I had no idea it was really close to the Cowboys Football Stadium and River Legacy. It is an easy park for me to get to and just a hop, skip, and jump from where I live. It is a lengthy hop and skip but easy for me to get to. I really loved the place it is not like any park I have been to before that is not a State or National park I am saying it is not like any city park I have been too. No two parks are quite the same and each has its own unique features. This is perhaps my favorite park that is designated a Natural area. I mean I like O.S. Gray but this has a feel of both Southwest Nature Preserve and Elmer W. Oliver with a hint of Mineral Wells Fossil Park. It is not exactly like the three places combined but if you blend them just right you might get what I see. Anyway enough about the landscape for now let me talk about the creatures and plants I found.

From what I found I was not disappointed at all with my catch. (I have not uploaded all my observations yet but I will get that finished very soon. Later today or tonight.) I really had a blast trying to sniff out some insects; true I didn't find much like a usually do but it was kind of hot but breezy but it was nice to find a few insect friends and a few pretty flowers. I was able to find one of the Damesflies that I recently observed in my backyard @lulubelle @sambiology @brentano @briang you might recall that bad photo of the Great Spreadwing that was taken on my mom's Mexican Petunias. However I was able to find another Great Spreadwing and better yet I got a better photo of the sucker. I do think I found my favorite Damselfly; the Great Spreadwing is quite the large one and is very pretty. I think it is the two emerald green metallic stripes that are on its back that really catch my eye. It is kind of dull in parts but it is a unique one and from what I read in the John C. Abbot Texas Damselfly guide is the Great Spreadwing is the largest one we get in the state of Texas. I find spreadwings very unusual in their design and that makes them even more unique. They have a very interesting color combination and are very pretty to watch. Sure the one I was watching was kind of skittish and retreated to a perch closer to the creek but still it was a pretty neat encounter. It was not as fast as the one at home was because I was helping out with yard work. I just took a couple of cruddy photos on my aunt's phone and watched them for a little bit. during this observation I was able to get better photos that captured the color and the size of the creature very well; with maybe just a touch of forced perspective.

Another interesting find was that Robberfly I found. I am particularly fond of these because they are so unusual and very interesting in their hunting behavior. Mine is still unidentified but was very impressive. It was a pretty good size about an inch or an inch in a half or so. It was a brown one and looked quite menacing. They are quite the hunter and quite the interesting fly species. I don't always encounter these; I did see one when I was down in Conroe but it got away before I could take a picture which was very disappointing. Robberflies are an unspoken interest in my book but I don't know that much from what I learned from the FFA Entomology contest. I know from what I have learned is that they will kill nearly anything they can get a hold on. I saw one in my youth when I was outside take down a full grown cicada. It was quite interesting and a bit disturbing. That is when Robberflies became so interesting. Seeing Robberflies is not a normal occurrence in my book but when I do find them I always want to stop and take a photo. I have seen a few but still have a few more to find on my list.

In other things I saw a few plants and a few different types of fungus; I also found a few bee flies of different styles. One of which was a bolder one than the other. The thinner one is in the Genus Poecilognathus which I don't think I have any of that Genus on my page which makes me very interested in finding more of these little micro bee flies. The other one was a darker and much larger bee fly and looked like what a bee flies look like to me. I find all interesting flies interesting no matter what they are. I used to only know the house fly, flesh fly, and other pest flies that I find annoying but in recent years I have been exposed to more unusual flies and find them all very curious. I have quite a few different flies on my iNat page and they are quite interesting to learn about. It is quite fascinating what I have found and what I have learned in recently learned. I had no idea there were so many unusual insects and things to look for. I love looking for the unusual insects that are not on everyone's radar. I have an interest in the underdogs of the bug world and the ones that could go unnoticed by unobservant people. I find appreciation for insects that are interesting and unusual. I just take them as they come and every time I do my normal practice I find the most weirdest things which in my opinion are indeed the most wonderful.

Crystal canyon may not have been the biggest place but it is home to a lot of interesting creatures and amazing geological formations. I can't wait to go back and spend more time looking for insects and birds. I am looking forward to it.

Publicado por galactic_bug_man galactic_bug_man, 26 de junio de 2017

Observaciones

Fotos / Sonidos

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Caballito Crucifijo Mayor (Archilestes grandis)

Fecha

Junio 25, 2017 11:47 AM CDT

Descripción

I know I posted one of these before but it was a terrible shot. This one however captures the beauty of this magnificent animal. This is perhaps my favorite of all Damselflies of Texas. These are really cool but I have read in recent days that they are Texas' largest damselfly species. They are very cool and this is my third one observed this year. This year has been a good one for odonata. I wonder what I will meet up with next. This picture I must add really captures the two metallic emerald green marks on its back. This is quite the little winged wonder. A very good flyer but not as good as its Dragon cousins it is one of the prettiest I have ever seen.

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Rayadora Espinosa del Este (Erythemis simplicicollis)

Fecha

Junio 25, 2017 11:55 AM CDT

Descripción

(female) at Crystal canyon. This is one of the most common ones around here. I have seen I don't know how many. I like them but they are just so common and everywhere.

Fotos / Sonidos

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Junio 25, 2017 11:56 AM CDT

Descripción

This was not an odonata species this was however a very neat encounter nonetheless. This dude was some kind of Robber I know that much. It was brown with a lot of hair on him. He had that weird shaped thorax and that thick abdomen that they possess. Their shape is unmistakable. @briang @sambiology @kimberlietx @robberfly What kind of robber is this guy? This one was about an inch to maybe half an inch long. He was a monster compared to some I have seen. This one is one of the largest flies that I have ever seen in my life. I love these guys. They are expert hunters and deadly areal assassins. They are one of my favorite predatory insects.

Fotos / Sonidos

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Junio 25, 2017 12:12 PM CDT

Descripción

This dude was kind of cute in a way. I guess its position makes it look like one of those silly internet memes. Anyway this guy was very interesting and had the biggest eyes of any spider I have ever seen. It may just be the forced perception this guy was only a few centimeters long. This was just one of the few bugs I saw on my Sunday hike through crystal canyon. This was one of the fuzziest little spiders I have ever seen. @kimberlietx what do you think of this one?

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Azulilla de Arroyo Nahuana (Argia nahuana)

Fecha

Junio 25, 2017 11:40 AM CDT

Descripción

This one was found in the washed out river bed near the front of the park. This guy was interesting and one of only three odonata species I found today.@briang can you help me ID this one. This guy was really tan and kind of a lightish green maybe to what I can see it maybe a more yellow color. Anyway it had a lot of black marks on all segments of its abdomen and a yellowy knob at the end of the last few segments. It was about a few inches long not the biggest one but a fairly good size; and very hard to see if I might add.

Fotos / Sonidos

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Junio 25, 2017 12:01 PM CDT

Descripción

This is one I would encounter at another place during my Sunday morning hikes. This thing was a good sized bee fly. It was about an inch or so maybe half an inch at minimum. It was a black guy with two toned wings. It was quite an interesting little insect. I just love finding new bee flies. This one is quite interesting and a little different from things I have been observing recently. Quite an impressive one. He had a very round head and looked like a badminton birdie in design.

Fotos / Sonidos

Fecha

Junio 25, 2017 11:40 AM CDT

Descripción

This was the first insect I encountered yesterday. This guy was a pretty neat one and a very small. It was a black little thing with maybe a different colored thoracic marking on its rear. This thing had a very weird looking proboscis. @kimberlietx @sambiology any ideas on what this is?

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