|View of downtown Fort Worth from Tandy Hills|
After returning to Tandy Hills last weekend, I looked at soil maps of Tarrant County to try and understand why it has stayed so open on the ridge top. Nothing struck me as different at the map resolution I could find- there were no unusual soil inclusions marking Tandy as different from the surrounding area. I do know that in savannas, hill tops are often left as prairie because their thinner soils hold less water. The main patch of prairie in Tandy is on top of the hill. Perhaps this is why.
It may be almost October, but the highs are still in the low 90s. The rain has returned, and a number of plants are putting on a second flush of flowers. Prickly pear fruits are bright red and ripe, reminding me of their alternate common name "cactus apple". Eryngo, snow-on-the-prairie, and false foxglove are all hitting their peak bloom. Others, like basket flower and white compass plant, have long since set their seed heads for the year.
|Spiky, sticky white compass plant seed heads.|
|False foxglove, Agalinis spp.|
|Eryngo, Eryngium leavenworthii, with small caterpillar|
Indeed, the insect life is still humming in this little prairie. On my way out, I noticed an oddly posed praying mantis near a clump of white fluff on a blazing star bloom. It didn't look like her egg sac to me- if anything, it looked like a small cocoon. I could be mistaken. I decided not to disturb her or the white mass and instead let them continue their preparations for the end of the growing season in peace.
|Praying mantis, unIDd fluff, on blazing star|