Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News
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Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News
A collection of nature articles written by Mary Ann Melton published in The Hutto News.
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Kestrel most widespread falcon in N.A.

Kestrel most widespread falcon in N.A. | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
During the winter in Central Texas, American kestrels (Falco sparverius) are often seen perched on power lines. While their preferred habitat is open fields with short ground vegetation, they can be seen around stadiums bright lights at night as they hunt for moths and other insects.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

American kestrels, falco sparverius, are one of the smallest raptors and are actually falcons.  They winter in Central Texas.

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Harris’ Sparrows a sign of winter

Harris’ Sparrows a sign of winter | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
The winter sparrows are beginning to arrive in Central Texas. The Harris’ Sparrow (Zonotrichia querula) regularly visits my bird feeders during the winter. The winter, non-breeding plumage adults have a black crown, black throat, and black streaked upper breast against a very white lower belly.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

Harris sparrows, one of the largest sparrows, is a regular visitor to feeders in Central Texas.

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American bullfrog’s loud deep call a classic in Hutto

American bullfrog’s loud deep call a classic in Hutto | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
When we first moved to Hutto, one of my favorite night sounds was the bullfrog’s low, beautiful call.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

The American bullfrog's loud deep call is a welcome sound of the evening.

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Harvesting threatens turtle populations

Harvesting threatens turtle populations | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
The pallid, spiny soft-shell turtle is the largest of the six subspecies of spiny soft-shell turtles, four of which are found in Texas. Spiny softshell turtles have flat, flexible shells with spines or bumps.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

Pallid spiny soft-shell turtle, a fascinating creature and protected in Texas.

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Alligators enjoy protection in Texas

Alligators enjoy protection in Texas | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
The American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis, once faced extinction due to hunting and loss of habitat.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

Texas alligators . . .  not only on the coast but sometimes all the way into Central Texas . . . 

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Little bird, big voice

Little bird, big voice | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
The Carolina wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) is a small bird with one of the loudest songs for their size. Only the males sing and do so anytime and anywhere often in defense of their territory. Their call sounds like a repeated “pidaro pidaro pidaro” or “TWEE pudo TWEE pudo TWEEP.” A captive male sang almost 3,000 times in a single day.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

The Carolina Wren is a small bird with a strong voice defending its territory.

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Gault site a Clovis treasure trove

Gault site a Clovis treasure trove | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
To an untrained observer, this looks like a simple rock collection. An archaeologist sees each of these rocks as evidence of human activity long ago. They have been carved and shaped by human hands for specific purposes.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

The Gault Archaeological Site in Central Texas is changing what we know about early man in North America.

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White prickly poppies among eye-popping wildflowers

The White Prickly Poppy (Argemone albiflora spp texana) towers over the other wildflowers in the Texas Hill Country.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

Beautiful white prickly poppy - one of Texas showy wildflowers!

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Humming along

Humming along | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
With spring coming to Central Texas, hummingbirds are beginning to arrive.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

Hummingbirds are beginning to arrive in Hutto.

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Rare whooping cranes winter at Granger Lake

Rare whooping cranes winter at Granger Lake | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
Central Texas birdwatchers have been delighted to have two
families of whooping cranes winter at Lake Granger this year.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

Endangered whooping cranes wintered at Granger Lake.

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Shoveler among Hutto's wintering waterfowl

Shoveler among Hutto's wintering waterfowl | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
Many waterfowl species winter in Central Texas. There are
several types of waterfowl - diving ducks, dabbling ducks, geese
and swans.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

The Northern Shoveler, a dabbling duck with a most distinctive bill.

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Backyard feeders help birds winter over

Backyard feeders help birds winter over | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
As the weather gets colder and seed producing plants go dormant,
backyard feeders become an important food source for birds.
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Nature apps convenient source of expertise

Nature apps convenient source of expertise | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
I’m used to carrying around various field guidebooks - Audubon,
National Geographic, Sibley’s - for the various flora and fauna
that I’m interested in.
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Bald cypress can grow to 1,200 years old

Bald cypress can grow to 1,200 years old | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
Bald Cypress trees are commonly found along Town Lake in Austin and the San Antonio River Walk, as well as along the banks of many Texas Hill Country rivers.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

Bald Cypress trees, not just found in the bayou, also line streams and lakes in Central Texas!

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Dragonflies versus Damselflies: What’s the difference?

Dragonflies versus Damselflies: What’s the difference? | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
Dragonflies and damselflies are fascinating insects in the order Odonata, which means “toothed ones.” Not only can they be brightly colored with beautiful wing patterns, they also are powerful predators catching insect prey in flight.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

Dragonflies and damselflies, beneficial and beautiful insects . . .

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Eastern Cottontail among those hopping in Williamson

Eastern Cottontail among those hopping in Williamson | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
Cottontail rabbits are known for their white fluffy tails. The Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus), the species found in Williamson County, is the most common rabbit in Texas.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

Eastern cottontail rabbits, cute as can be and the most common rabbit in Texas.

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Blackland Prairie a unique Texas ecoregion

Williamson County has three major ecosystems – the Edwards Plateau, the Blackland Prairie, and the Post Oak Savannah.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

Blackland Prairie, a vanishing ecosystem . . . deserves preservation and restoration . . . 

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Many species choose Hutto area

Many species choose Hutto area | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
Nesting begins early in the year due to Hutto’s mild climate.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

Nesting birds in Hutto . . . 

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Good Water naturalists celebrate graduation

The Good Water Master Naturalist Chapter’s Annual Class graduated 13 new members on Tuesday, May 15, 2012.  Each graduate had completed over 40 hours of training in over 16 science disciplines such as archaeology, mammalogy, herpetology, ichthyology, rangeland management, forestry and ornithology.    
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

Newly trained Master Naturalist graduate from the Williamson County Good Water Chapter.

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Great blues among largest of herons

Great blues among largest of herons | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
At three to four feet tall, the Great Blue Heron (Ardea Herodias) is the largest of the heron-egret species in North America and it is also the most common.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

Great blue herons are the largest heron/egret species and also the most common.

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Citizens help extend the reach of science

Citizens help extend the reach of science | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
Citizen Science is a partnership between individuals and professional scientists.  Even before funding for research became scarce, citizen scientists have been helping to collect data for scientists.  
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

Citizen Science - fascinating for citizens, beneficial for scientists.

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Purple martins call Hutto home

Purple martins call Hutto home | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
With broad wings and tails, purple martins are the largest of
the eight species of swallows in North America.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

Purple martins nest and breed in Central Texas each year.

 

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Master Naturalist training begins March 6

Master Naturalist training begins March 6 | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
The Good Water Chapter of Master Naturalists is a volunteer
group of people providing education, outreach and service to
benefit natural resources and natural areas within Williamson
County.
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

Texas Master Naturalists - an education and service organization.

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Christmas count an annual tradition

Christmas count an annual tradition | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
The Christmas Bird Count is an annual tradition for
birders.  
Mary Ann Melton's insight:

Counting birds during the Christmas bird count helps monitor the health of bird populations.

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Time for sparrow favorite to visit Texas

Time for sparrow favorite to visit Texas | Mary Ann's Nature Articles from The Hutto News | Scoop.it
Each winter I have white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia
leucophrys) visiting my bird feeders all day long. 
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