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I am doing the jury duty thing today so I have a lot of time on my hands to make a trip report post. This post isn’t rich in fossils despite visiting 3 different sites. It was something of a strike out for the day, with the exception of 2 pieces from the 3rd place we stopped at. One of the pieces was a true keeper for me though. I was on call for my work this past week, including the weekend, which means I have to stay close to home. I had a couple really long days without sleep. One 27 hour and the other 24 hours. It wipes me out. Thankfully I didn’t get called in Saturday night, because I had plans to go poking around a few spots with @Fruitbat aka Joe. He lives maybe 7 minutes away from where I do. The day was on the cool side, in the low 50s, overcast and breezy, but reasonably pleasant. The first place I wanted to check out was about 15 minute from my house. It was in the Austin Chalk, upper I think. I didn’t have high expectations of finding anything noteworthy, but I keep trying, because I’m surrounded by the upper Austin and upper Ozan, which have next to zilch from what I’ve on numerous attempts. The area we went to is a new development that recently broke ground in Garland on the southwest corner of Shiloh and Buckingham roads. It is mostly black clay like material, but a bit of white chalk and light gray shale are exposed and I think limestone or marl was exposed during trench digging. There is also the Duck Creek waterway on the east side of the development. We didn’t find much more than Inoceramus clam fragments in the development area. I did find an interesting looking clam about 1.5 inches wide imbedded in chalk. No clue what it is. Since we didn’t find anything there we headed to check out the large creek. It seems the city channeled the creek to bury water or sewer lines in it. So it was down to the bedrock with a concrete strip running down the center. The banks were about 10-15 feet high in most areas. The East bank being layers of chalk and marl like stuff. The west side dirt and clay. When I got into the creek I couldn’t find my phone. I assumed I’d left it in my car. Later I realized I’d put it in my coat pocket and had it the whole time. I didn’t get any pics. There was only one picture I wish I’d been able to take. In the creekbed we came across a circle that looked like a giant flat cinnamon roll about 2 feet wide. It didn’t look like any ammonite I’ve ever seen. Joe said it was an Inoceramus clam. I squatted down to have a closer look and sure enough the side was exposed revealing the tale tale pattern of Inoceramus shell edge. It isn’t the biggest clam I have found out hunting, but it was probably the most complete large one I’ve seen. I’m tempted to go back to take a pic since I drive by there most weekdays. There wasn’t much of interest otherwise. Since we didn’t find anything of interest we headed south to Dallas to our 2nd spot. I’d seen an exposure off of 30 I wanted to check out. It was part of the Eagle Ford formation. We arrived and parked our vehicles on the edge of a large field and made our way walking towards a hill in the distance with an exposure visible. There were huge piles of construction dirt and rock in the field. I have explored those before so I didn’t revisit them this time. Most notable were the very large septarian nodules with brown and while crystals. I’d been here before and collected a few pieces. We walked through high grass and underbrush then headed downhill only to encounter a wash or small creek we couldn’t cross. The creek doesn’t show up on any map. We worked our way along through considerable underbrush between knee and waist high along the creek. Joe took a little rest while I explored the area looking for a crossing. I found one a Joe soon followed. After crossing a couple of them I came to a dense hedge of Chinese privet. If you’ve never encountered it you’re blessed. If you’re considering it for landscaping think twice. While it is pretty it is a very aggressive shrub that grown incredibly dense making areas impassible. It will take over a whole field and thin forest if left unattended and nothing else can grow there. I didn’t notice it until I came to it and realized there was no getting through or around it. Here you can see a dense patch of it. It’s maybe 5-8 feet tall in most places. We realized there was no way to make it to the outcropping from where we were. We walked back to our cars after maybe 30 minutes of trying to get to the outcrop. We would have to come at it from a different direction. There were lots of spring flowers in bloom along the walk. I thought I’d share them with you. Per Joe this is a form of wild mustard. This is actually the bud of my favorite wildflowers. It is a milk thistle. I don’t like the prickly part, but I think they’re beautiful, but that isn’t why I like them. I like them because I am fascinated by them. I have picked them many times and arranged them in a vase beautifully. I leave for a few hours or overnight and they have completely rearranged themselves! Not just a little either. Individual stems will move by an inch or more at times. I think it is chemotaxis or something. It isn’t phototropism, because it happens at night and the direction they move is not uniform or unidirectional. Can’t wait for them to be in bloom. I don’t know what these are. I think these are 2 varieties of evening primrose. I think these are a form of verbena. We drove around the back side of a large warehouse and found a spot to park. We were able to access the exposure from there, but only because someone had bulldozed a path through the Chinese privet. Much of it was the Eagle Ford gray flacks shale. I found the top valve of an oyster or possibly clam (I still need to clean it up). I also found a very weathered fragment of a medium size ammonite that was only identifiable because of sutures. Other than that the only thing of interest was more septarian nodules. This is one of the smaller ones I saw. You can’t see the septarian qualities on the exterior, but it’s definitely a septarian. It was very heavy or I’d have taken it home to open up. If they have a split in it like this one they usually are filled with crystals. I also found quite a bit of small crystals laying around. Usually it’s calcite, but I’ve read the formation has abundant gypsum. Nothing of real interest there other than septarian nodules so we moved on to look for our third location. We drove west on I-30 and then south on loop 12. The first spot didn’t have anywhere to park nearby. So we drove across the freeway to look at an exposure off of a parking lot in a low area. I think this is likely to be the Kamp Ranch formation, a subunit that underlies the top layer of the Eagle Ford about 75 feet under it near Arcadia Park. This location was not very fossiliferous, but it did have yellow/orange thin plates largely consisting of conglomerates of shell fragments. It also had gray and black clay/shale with large septarian nodules. These are some of the fragments I picked up. This is one, which was buried that I tried to extract but I wasn’t successful. It was too big and I didn’t feel like putting in the effort needed to extract it or break it up. I walked around picking up plates looking for anything of interest. I came to a wash area and found this plate. This is the find of my day. It is covered with small ammonite impressions. It’s the only hint of ammonite that I found. There are a number of impressions that are partially covered up. I think with a little prep work it could be a real beauty. I’ll have to practice on the back side to make sure it doesn’t leave white marks. While I was off finding this Joe was off harassing this poor mama killdear bird nearby. He was trying to find out where the eggs were so we didn’t step on them. Turns out she was sitting on them. He said she was giving him the broken wing routine. She also spread her wings and tail trying to defend her eggs and nest. Her eggs are just behind her. Joe found this little plate and gave it to me. It’s got a little shark tooth on it on the top left. From there I had to leave to go home. It was a relaxing day, except for fighting through the little jungle like underbrush and vegetation trying to cross the wash/creek and having to retrace our path because of the Chinese privet. But it was a nice day overall. Oh, this is a closeup shot of part of the ammonite impression plate that I forgot to insert above.