Friday, 8:00 AM. 57 degrees degrees F. Wind W, calm at present but it will pick up later. The sky is overcast and looks like rain but probably will not do so. Today we are going as an extended family to Mineral Wells State Park, about twenty miles to the west of Weatherford. It will be a nice time if the rain holds off.
This region of Texas is called the Cross Timbers, and it is a fairly wooded country. It has an average rainfall of around thirty inches. It is dry but not by any means desert, and tends to be arid. The dominant tree genus is Quercus, the oaks. Before white settlement much of the Hill Country was savannah, grassland with widely spaced trees. Live oaks, Q. virginiana, are very prominent in the landscape. Live oaks are have green leaves all winter, and drop them in the spring, when they are immediately replaced by new growth. Bur oaks, Q. macrocarpa, which are very prevalent, are large trees. Post oak, Q. stellata, form much of the scrubby understory but also can grow into very rounded, formal looking medium sized trees.
I do not know all the Texas trees and left my I.D. books at home but I am becoming more comfortable with the native Texas flora as we visit.
I saw another unfamiliar bird as Buddy and I walked this morning, and found out later it was a scissor-tailed fly catcher, a grayish bird smaller than a robin with a tail more than twice as long as its body. The end of the tail looks as though it was dipped in black ink, and is crossed like a scissors in flight.