Photo of Da day @ Da Pine #316

Growing up in West TX, these were as common as pick-up trucks and oil wells. We called them “Horny Toads”. Texas Christian University has them as their mascot and call them “Horned Frogs”. Neither name is technically correct, they are properly called Horned Lizards and they also serve as the official Texas State reptile.

In 1967, the Texas legislature passed laws prohibiting collection, exportation, and sale of Phrynosoma cornutum. Prior to this legislation, tens of thousands of Horned Toads were exported (dead and alive) from Texas every summer by tourists, would-be pet owners, and others, leading to the death of many a horned toad. Today, all Texas Horned Toad populations continue to decline.
In the wild, the main diet of the Texas Horned Toad is about 69 percent harvester ants, with the remainder mostly being a mixture of termites, beetles, grubs, and various insects.

They are fairly tame, slow and easily caught by young boys and old men (obviously, I caught this one this morning). Texas Horned Toads, when alarmed, may puff up and squirt blood out of the corner of the eye as a defense. How could a young boy not be attracted to any thing that might spit blood out it’s eyes. I can still hear my mom yelling the dreaded “JAMES LAWRENCE” when she found one in the pocket of my Billy the Kid jeans as she did her pre-laundry check of my clothes.

May you see at least one Horny Toad on your journey†††††nada te turbe††††††jim

Photo of Da day @ Da Pine #300

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more.”

We drove past this Texas size dust-devil near Valentine, TX. We had watched several of them whirling across the desert and I finally had to stop and make an image. I got off 4 frames and it was gone, evaporated, dissolved, flew away. Quite magical!

Believe in the magic of nature on your journey†††††††nada te turbe††††jim

Photo of Da day @ Da Pine #247

This lovely lady jumped onto my foot while I was cooking outside at Rio Grande Campground in Big Bend National Park. I had my lovely lady keep a flashlight on her (it was after sunset) while I mounted up my 105 micro and 3 flash units. I had to follow her around for a 1/2 an hour waited for the right postion and pose. My wife held the flashlight so I could see to focus. While gearing down my kit, I noticed that I had left my D800 on Program, and my exposure was a shallow f 4. I would have liked a bit  more depth of field, but……

The Texas toad (Bufo speciosus) is one of nine species of “true” toads that occur in Texas, and it is arguably the most commonly seen species in backyard gardens and around building structures. It can be observed in all but the eastern one-quarter of the state and the far northwestern corner of the Panhandle. It also occurs in the adjacent states of Oklahoma and New Mexico, as well as being found as far south as the state of San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

The habitats that this toad prefers to occupy vary from open woodland areas, prairies, and grasslands, although it can also thrive in open range, mesquite-filled pastures, and creosote flats. Basically, this species can live anywhere that has loose enough soil where it can bury itself deep enough to escape the heat and drought conditions.

Show yourself, warts and all on your journey††††nada te turbe††††jim