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04 November 2012

Texas wildlife (sans the "life" part)

These photos are actually several months old. We took them sometime before the new HMNS Morian Hall of Paleontology opened in this past summer.

This is one of my favorite halls, even if it isn't the most exotic or expensive or unusual. It's all native flora and fauna, for one thing, and I love that our museum gets to showcase that. For another, there all kinds of details and little surprises stuffed into each diorama. Just strolling through the hall (as many visitors do as they head to other exhibits) isn't enough; you really need to take the time to observe the scenes, really take it all in.

Actually the Texas Wildlife Hall needs a little TLC. These are pretty old exhibits and the displays need some attention/repair. Of course that's been delayed because of the construction, but I think they may be working on it again soon... but I haven't had a chance to see these exhibits again recently so I don't know.

As you'll probably see in some of the photos below, the hall itself is dimly lit. This can make taking photos frustrating, but it also makes the dioramas seem more like little worlds unto themselves.

Gulf Coastal Prairie

Attwater's Prairie Chicken
Also in this display: Loggerhead Shrike, Short-Eared Owl, and box turtle

High Plains

Diamond-back rattlesnake

Great Horned Owl
Also in this display: horney toad, hognose snake, prairie dogs

Big Bend

Collared peccary (foreground) and ring-tailed cat (not actually a cat)

Also in this display: Texas alligator lizard and rattlesnakes 

The Big Thicket

Raccoon with crawfish and Red-shouldered hawk (far left)

Also in this display: armadillo, snakes, turtles, Chuck-will's-widow, Barred Owl, and other birds

Flower Garden Banks

Queen triggerfish
Also in this display: red snapper, spotted moray eel, queen angelfish, several other types of fish

Gulf Coast

Great Egret

Roseate Spoonbill and Brown Pelican (top left)

Roseate Spoonbill
Also in this display: Great Blue Heron, Laughing Gull, Sanderlings, etc.

The Marsh/Swamp

Black-bellied Tree Ducks

Red-winged Blackbird

Wood Duck

River otter and American Wigeon (left)

Cormorant and Anhinga (left)
Also in this display: alligator, nutria, weasel, various reptiles and amphibians, a ton of other birds

There are a couple of displays that I missed out on because they were already closed for repairs when Gary and I started volunteering at the museum last year. These are the bat cave, which featured Mexican free-tailed bats, and the predators, which featured a mountain lion, a bobcat, a Red-tailed Hawk, a black bear, and a coyote amongst other carnivorous birds and mammals.

*In case you're wondering: common names of birds are usually capitalized, but common names of other animals usually are not.
** That's right I'm totally linking to Wikipedia again. You know you love it.

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