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

In the woods we return to reason and faith-Emerson


Sunday, June 30, 2013

This hot pink and yellow creature with the sixties hairdo is a Rosy Maple moth.
And Canada Thistle, our commonest thistle, is in flower. Most are pale lilac but this one was the rarer white color phase.
Rosy Maple moth

Canada Thistle - white phase

Saturday, June 29, 2013

An array of boldly patterned moths including the Brown Angle Shades, Greater Black-lettered Dart, Chocolate Prominent and Leconte's Haploa were flying last night.
Leconte's Haploa

Chocolate Prominent

Greater Black-lettered Dart

Brown Angle Shades
Today Canada Lily, Pipsissewa and Blue Vervain were in flower.
And this doe and twin fawns were knee deep in bounty and on full alert.
Canada Lily


Blue Vervain

Doe and twins

Friday, June 28, 2013

The purple bearded stamens and orange anthers of Moth Mullein made identification easy despite the fact that both white and yellow varieties of this alien species are in flower today.
A Snapping Turtle was wandering across Camp Arden Road.
And Wrinkled Rose, so named for its wrinkly leaf surfaces, is in flower.
White Moth Mullein

Yellow Moth Mullein

Snapping Turtle

Wrinkled Rose

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mating Crocus Geometer moths hang on a roadside bush near Route 5.
And in swampy areas, Marsh Hedge Nettle and Square-stemmed Monkeyflower are both starting to flower.
Crocus Geometer moths

Marsh Hedge Nettle

Beardtongue shows its namesake appendage in wet meadows and ditches.
Yellow Loosestrife AKA Swamp Candles lights wet places.
And Round-leaved Pyrola hangs nodding waxy flowers on roadside banks and in open woods.

Yellow Loosestrife

Round-leaved Pyrola
A moth with the common name of Joyful Holomelina shows its colors.
And roadsides are graced with the aptly named Butter-and-eggs.
Joyful Holomelina

A flattish bladder envelopes the base of Yellow-rattle flowers. Later the seed filled bladder will dry out and rattle in the breezes.
And a Slime mild called Scrambled-egg Slime envelopes both dead and living organisms.
Yellow Rattle

Scrambled-egg Slime
Chicory and Viper's Bugloss grace the side of Route 30. Bladder Campion with its oddly swollen calyx sac dots the fields.
Viper's Bugloss

Bladder Campion


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Emerald Ash Borer Field Trip, 6/25, Vorheees, NY.
Photo shows Trish Hanson, VT State Entomologist,
using a drawknife to strip ash bark and uncover evidence of Emerald Ash Borer in an active infestation. At lower right is serpentine track of Ash Borer, a diagnostic.  At left in photo is Jim Esden, a forester with FP&R and instructor at several forest pest workshops sponsored by the Dummerston Conservation Commission. At right is Mark Whitmore, Forest Entomologist at Cornell University and a walking encyclopedia of information on EAB.
Stepping off the bus at the infestation site, the ash borer announced its presence with a flying adult smacking into the face of an FP&R staffer.
Whitmore said all the trees we saw at the site will be dead at this time next year.
For more information on the ash borer, visit vtinvasives.org. Here is url to a recent article on EAB I wrote for the Spring 2013 issue of the Vermont Coverts: Woodlands for Wildlife newsletter, http://vtcoverts.org/newsletters.php.

Morning mailbox walk discovered moose track entering driveway, walking across lawn, a wildflower seedbed and into the woods. Seedbed photo shows Lynn Levine’s Life Size Tracking Guide, with print and straddle information, used for comparison.
Seedbed is several hundred yards from a small pond, where a moose was submerged to its shoulders some years back.
Moose track a welcome change from a middle of the night, seemingly endless, chorus of spinning tires and a large engine. Driver of an 18 wheeler attempted to turn around in a Scott Farm field without first checking to note a dropoff. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Today Tubercled Orchids are in flower. The lip of this orchid has a small bump or tubercle, thus the name.
A Goldenrod Crab Spider poised atop a Yarrow awaiting prey.
And, Common Mullein, best known for its rosettes of large hairy leaves, opened the lowest flowers on its shoulder high spikes. Its flowers open sequentially from the lowest to the highest.
Goldenrod Crab Spider


Tubercled Orchid

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Along the roadsides Blue Toadflax is in flower as is this tiny pink blossom which I've tentatively identified as Sand Spurrey.
And among the moths flying today is the Little Virgin Moth, one of the Tiger moths. The black and straw-yellow wing pattern of this moth camouflage it perfectly down in the densely tangled field grasses.
Little Virgin Moth (Tiger moth)

Blue Toadflax

Sand Spurrey (?)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Today, the round shiny leaves and paired yellow flowers of Moneywort brighten wet lawns, fields and ditches.
In cool, wet woods, Greenish- flowered Pyrola has opened its inconspicuous nodding flowers.
And Violet Wood-Sorrel, a low to the ground denizen of mossy woodland brooksides and seeps lifts its face under the light pre-empting tree canopy.
Violet Wood Sorrell

Greenish- flowered Pyrola


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Black-eyed Susans and Partridge berries are starting to flower.
Partridge berry flowers

Black-eyed Susan

Saturday, June 15, 2013

This handsome green Blister Beetle was crawling through the grass in my backyard. According to the Kaufman guide to insects of North America, "When squeezed adults exude skin blistering irritants in a defensive tactic called reflex bleeding." I did not squeeze this specimen.
Clammy Ground Cherry is in flower. The striking yellow and brown flowers dangle face down. I had to tip this one up to get a picture.
And the tiny tiny flowers of Trailing Pearlwort are open.

Blister Beetle

Clammy Ground Cherry

Friday, June 14, 2013

Whorled Loosestrife - the first of several yellow loosestrifes to flower - was nodding in the breeze today. Moneywort, which is a near relative will be opening any minute!
And the fuzzy pinkish flowers of Motherwort - a mint family member - cluster in the leaf axils of this waist high plant.

Whorled Loosestrife

Thursday, June 13, 2013

On Prospect Hill Wednesday I saw the greatest single species concentration of moths that I have ever seen anywhere. Every step through the Low Bush Blueberries flushed twenty or thirty or fifty of the small drab relatively indistinguishable moths until waves of fluttering insects preceded me like bow waves running ahead of a boat!
The moths were subtly yellowish-tan, white or gray. Each had a 1 1/4 inch wingspan. All appeared to be of the same species despite their slight color variations.
They were (probably) Speranza argillacearia called the Mousy Itame in Peterson's Guide to Eastern Moths, a species whose larvae are known to be serious defoliators of low bush blueberries.
Seeing such a concentration of moths was fun, it was interesting, it was also lightly troubling; and it made me glad that I don't grow blueberries.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

In my field the large white flowers of Hedge Bindweed drape over other species finding structure without making much investment.
Hedge Bindweed

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ninebark - a shrub overlooked in all of my previous rambles - was in flower today near the West River. Its very round flower clusters stood out like beacons!
The reflex petals of Bitterweet Nightshade flowers spangled the ditches.
And a zig-zag tail dragging groove and parallel claw tracks marked the site of a turtle's nesting on a secluded bit of sand not far from the river.
turtle nesting 


Bittersweet Nightshade