To all those interested in the natural world. Please add your sightings.

In the woods we return to reason and faith-Emerson


Friday, May 31, 2013

Dangling white clusters of Black Locust flowers were at their peak today.
Along the West River a few Mountain Laurel flowers opened, presaging the show to come on Black Mountain.
A Baltimore Bumolocha moth rested for the day next to an Arched Hooktip moth.
And along the railroad bike path … a Moose! Shortly after I took this picture the moose wallowed across the river, safely crossing Rte. 30 and was going west when last seen.
Baltimore Bumolocha and Arched Wingtip moths

Moose on RR bike path

Mountain Laurel

Black Locust flowers

Thursday, May 30, 2013

THe dangling greenish-yellow flowers and reddish stamens of Indian Cucumber-root grace roadsides and woods.
The smell of spoiling meat gives Carrion flower is rather unflattering name.
And this Skipper - perhaps a Pepper-and-Salt Skipper - posed repeatedly as if hoping to be noticed.


Carrion flower

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sunlight on this little Common Spring moth brings out the iridescent blues in its black wing borders.
Musk flower is opening a few blossoms.
The showy pink pea-like flowers of Bristly Locust brighten roadside thickets.
And High Bush Cranberry - a viburnum species - opened the large sterile flowers that ring the smaller fertile flowers.
Bristly locust

Musk flower

Common Spring moth

High Bush Cranberry

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Round-leaved Ragworts were putting on quite a show today. A few daisies, yellow Hawkweeds, Yarrows and Common Speedwells were also opening.
And this moth - probably a White-banded Toothed Carpet Moth - posed nicely while I snapped its picture.
Round-leaved Ragworts

White-banded Toothed Carpet moth

Friday, May 24, 2013

One-flowered Cancer-root, a strange little leafless parasitic flower of damp places, seems favored by this weather!
May Apples have been flowering for several days but this was the first one I could get a photo of.
And Northern Downy Violets - so named for their hairy stems and leaves are in flower.
May Apple

One-flowered Cancer-root

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bunchberry, the smallest member of the Dogwood family, is in flower.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

This hot humid weather suits insect life just fine. The fields in my neighborhood are aflutter with Prairie Ringlets; smallish, weak flying butterflies.
March flies are also swarming. March flies are slow fliers, about 1/2" long, and seem to bob around in slow motion at face level. They are common at this time of year. They have no interest in biting.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Waterleaf, Virginia

Dame's Rocket - Mustard family escape

Eastern Garter snake

Velvet Ant
Dame's Rocket, an escape, was in flower today, as was Virginia Waterleaf.
This tiny Eastern Garter Snake turned man-eater when I picked him up. It was the most aggressive snake I ever handled!
And here Velvet Ants (Pseudomethoca oculata) were on the prowl for their favored prey, Solitary bees. Velvet ants are actually wasps. The females are flightless, and both males and females can squeak by rubbing their body segments against each other!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bird's-eye Speedwell is opening the first of its small but delightful flowers!
And this tiny White Spring moth day flying, and nectaring like a butterfly.
White Spring moth

Bird's-eye Speedwell

Woodcock Sighting

Driving along Kipling Rd around 9:00 pm the other night I noticed a commotion in the grasses along the edge of the road. I quickly stopped the car and turned it off. I jumped out just in time to see a woodcock fly into the air and do his dance - which was most impressive. And then he landed about 3 feet away from me right in the middle of the road. It was such a treat to get a close look at this comical looking bird, but not wanting to intrude I jumped back in the car and headed home.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A dozen or more stems of Pale Corydalis have colonized an area near the RR bike path disturbed by power line maintenance crews. The sides of the trail was graced by Starry False Solomon's-seal. And a lone Dwarf Dandelion flowered where a year ago there were dozens.
Female hummingbirds have joined the males at my nectar feeders.
Starry False Solomon's-seal

Pale Corydalis

Dwarf Dandelion

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Clintonia (AKA Corn Lily) is in flower. A few white Clover blossoms are open. And in the swamps Purple Aven's globular brownish-purple flowers tried to tempt me into getting my feet wet.
In my field this Pine Elfin nectared mostly on wild Strawberry blossoms.
Pine Elfin
Common Buttercups and Red Clover are both starting to flower as is Herb Robert. English Plantain is at its less than impressive peak.
The feisty Eastern Kingbirds are back in residence.
A few American Copper butterflies have emerged.
And in a secluded seep, Green Bog Orchids (Plantantera huronensis) are knee high and opening flowers.
Herb Robert

Bog Orchid

Bog Orchid

American Copper

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The very confusing Blue-eyed grasses are in flower. My field guide lists nine. Of those nine, seven are blue and two are white. Here in Dummerston we seem to have just two blue species.
And Marsh Blue Violets have raised their unusually long flower stalks high above their wet feet. The petals of this violet are deeper blue near the throat of the flower.
Marsh Blue Violet

Blue-eyed grass

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

This dragonfly - probably a White Corporal female - appears to be freshly out of its nymphal husks.
And the cold morning slowed down butterflies making this Juvenal's Duskywing easy to photograph.
Eastern Black Swallowtails were also flying … but much less obliging. I was unable to get pictures.
White Corporal

Juvenal's Duskywing

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A few Pink Moccasin flowers are open!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Utah - Wildflowers and birds

Over the weekend, I did a little exploring of both the western and eastern slopes of a mountain.  West-facing slopes tend to be drier with mineral soils and few if any trees.  However, many wildflowers, taking advantage of moisture received over winter, burst into bloom on the heels of snowmelt before the soil becomes dessicated.  We found Milkvetch (aka Locoweed) [Astragalus utahensis] in clumps of grayish hairy foliage and bright fuchsia-colored pea-shaped flowers in abundance brightening the sagebrush community.  The following day I ascended the eastern side where moisture is relatively more abundant and Gambel oak, Rocky Mountain Maple, and Aspen trees give way to Blue Spruce and Ponderosa pine at the upper reaches.  The sides of the trails I used were bordered with Spring Beauties and the woods underneath the trees were colorful with a variety of early flowers.  At the top where the wind blows unchecked, the soils are thin and vegetation short, but plentiful.  Wildflowers tend to seek shelter under shrub-like

gambel oaks and among the sagebrush.  Pictured are Mountain bluebells; Early paintbrush; Astragalis purshii, a lilac-colored variety of Locoweed/Milkvetch that finds higher elevations provide for its needs; Small-flowered Woodlandstar, a member of the Saxifrage family.  Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-throated Gray Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers and a Red-naped Sapsucker (about the size of a Downy woodpecker) were among the chorus that entertained at all elevations of the 3.5 mile ascent. 
The first powder-blue flowers of Bugle grace ditches, lawns and waste places. Bugle will soon be common to the point of weed status but they're worth a close look.
The paired green flowers of Solomon's Seal are open.
And Hop Clover, one of the alien yellow clovers is opening a few flowers.

Solomon's Seal

Hop clover

Sunday, May 12, 2013

This morning I watched a Blue Jay passing food to his mate. They will be nesting soon!
Long-spurred Violets and Canada Violets are in flower as are Star Flowers, Bulbous Buttercups, Yellow Wood-sorrell and one lone Maiden Pink.
A butterfly - perhaps a Silver-bordered Fritillary - foraged around a wet swale.
And a Catbird complained from a nearby thicket every time I got too close.
long spurred violet

Canada Violet

Maiden Pink

Saturday, May 11, 2013

In my backyard, Robin Plantain, Common Cinquefoil and Thyme-leaved Speedwell were all newly in flower.
Along Rice Farm Road Wood Bettony was at its finest.
On the Rail Trail, the first of the early Azaleas were opening. White Baneberry (AKA Doll's Eyes) was in bloom as was Flowering Dogwood.
ANd in the treetops American Redstarts and Baltimore Orioles proclaimed their fitness to all who would listen.
Wood Bettony

Early Azalea

Robin Plantain

Flowering Dogwood