.On Saturday morning I had to take a colleague to the airport (IAH) and I decided to show her Mercer Botanical Gardens on the way. During our first couple of years in Houston, Dee and I used to visit Mercer every few weeks because we lived only a few hundred yards away, in Spring. However, It's been perhaps two years since I last dropped in there.
Given that my current visit took place in February, I wasn't surprised to find the gardens looking rather drab. Very few of the plants were in bloom, except for some spectacular Magnolia trees.
I was disappointed that we didn't run into any lizards or anoles on our walk. We had to make do with a rather pretty slug that crossed our path.
The pond had a group of 20 or so Red-eared Sliders. These particular turtles must be very used to people since they didn't all leap into the water to hide at our approach.
In fact, I suspect that they are used to being fed by visitors, because a couple swam over to us and paddled around just a few feet away.
The trees along the creek and in the "wild" section of the gardens seemed to have hardly any birds, but the feeders in the manicured section were attracting a steady succession of common species. There were several Mourning Doves, Carolina Chickadees and Northern Cardinals.
Female N CardinalThere were also a couple of White-throated Sparrows, a species that is common here in winter but that I rarely manage to get recognizable photos of.
The birds were having to compete with a squirrel that had learned how to access the seed in a "squirrel-proof" feeder. The squirrel had worked out that it could perch on the bar that brings a metal door down to block off the seed and could then push open the door with its head. The procedure involved a lot of undignified contortions and didn't look like a very comfortable way to eat but the squirrel seemed to feel it was worthwhile.