With August 2019 came new wildlife discoveries. Most of these encounters were just beginning a new life. It is rare to experience seeing baby wildlife at their most vulnerable. The world they entered is not as safe as it used to be. That does not even include that everything has a predator and everything is part of the food chain.
But when you see new life – the whole food chain scenario goes out the window. All you can think about is the remarkableness of how these species are figuring out life and how they can survive.
My most significant sightings in August occurred at Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus and Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge ranging from large to the most insignificant.
First, there was the baby turkey vulture. Hiking along a dry creek bed a sudden movement under a black willow tree caught my eye. It was probably a coyote running off. Then I heard the rustling of the vegetation up above me. Having no idea what it was I asked Lynn, a volunteer and friend to get her camera ready. Then out of the bushes arose and hissed a baby turkey vulture. They so resemble black vultures when they are born. What was the coolest thing was hearing it hiss. Adult turkey vultures cannot make any sound, but babies can hiss like a vampire in an old movie.
Second, there were newly hatched walking sticks. These bright green baby insects kept landing on us in the Gator as if hitching a ride with us.
Third, was the baby horned lizard. Baby horned lizards when they are born resemble the color of West Texas dirt. It takes a really good eye to see them on the ground. They are so tiny and vulnerable and yet adorable.
Fourth, it was a rainbow grasshopper. I’ve only ever seen one on the Mallet Ranch back in 2006. I will never forget the sight of it. I was taking pictures of devil cholla and amongst the cholla spines was a red, white, and blue grasshopper just hanging out. This one was out in the open and was much smaller. Hands down these grasshoppers are the most beautiful grasshoppers in existence.
Fifth, was a baby mule deer. OMG! I knew never their ears were so big.
Sixth, when checking through my camera traps photos I discovered one lone bobcat kitten born this year, along with two raccoon kits.
Rarely will I forget my most significant wildlife encounters. August 2019 will always hold a special memory of newborn life I encountered. Here’s to all these babies born this year. May they remain safe from human harm and off the food chain.