Adventure 7

Amy Martin’s book, Wild DFW, explores the amazing nature in and around DFW with day trips. In fact she covers 25 adventures with maps and details of each place. Additionally she covers factors that shape local nature and profiles of over 100 local species of the fauna and flora.

While camping out for the week at Lake Lavon for the eclipse, we decided to check out Amy’s adventure 7, Parkhill Prairie in Collin County.

An entrance sign lets you know you have arrived to the 436 acres to a remnant of the Blackland Prairie.
Another sign at a trail head that gives you a brief overview. If you have Amy’s book on page 231 she shows the trails. Just FYI, there are bathrooms (sometimes locked) and picnic tables there too. We utilized them both. 😉
Around the picnic table and restrooms were the mowed areas. While Jim and Claire ate their lunch (I ate mine fast) I looked at the fallen branches.

Fallen limbs are excellent places to look for the lichens that many times can only be seen high above. Here the fruticose (shrubby) lichens included the genera of Ramalina (greenish ones) and Teloschistes.(shrubby orange one). Foliose (leafy) lichens are laying flatter.

A close up of the Shield lichen (Punctelia)! This genus can be found on bark, wood, and rocks.
Sometimes Ramalina are called strap lichens with their mostly upright habit.

Another easy to recognize and eye-catching is the the Teloschistes genus. The genus is commonly called the orange bush lichens. These orange cuties (not the ones at your local grocers) are usually no more than an inch and half tall at most. This particular one is the Goldeneye Lichen (Teloschistes chrysophthalmus). The cilia (hairs) on the apothecia (orange disks) and the wider branching is characteristic to this species.

Next when you visit the restrooms, look up. See the holes? Those are the Eastern Carpenter bees (Xylocopa virginica) homes! Using her mandibles the female will excavate a series of tunnels for her offspring. Additionally she will use these homes for years. Furthermore these wonderful bees are important pollinators.
A male Eastern Carpenter Bee checked me out. In fact it was the only one out that day. I never have been bother or attacked by one. The males don’t have stingers. And you know its a male by the white face. The females do have stingers but the females won’t sting you unless you are handling them or poking your finger in their hole. Well, then I figure that would be fair, eh.

So the Parkhill Prairie was off to a wonderful start. And we had not even yet adventured out on the trail. 🙂

More tomorrow at Parkhill Prairie on the trail!

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Keep looking!

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  1. Yeslichens are much more tactile- and they stick around! So do bees. And fallen branches. I do prefer stuff you can actually see and touch.
    Cool simulation video of how the moon may have been formed.

  2. I need to crack open Wild DFW more! Going up that way this weekend, might just have to bring it along. My inlaws live in Collin county so Parkhill is going to be on my to visit list!

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