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

In the woods we return to reason and faith-Emerson


Tuesday, May 31, 2016


A Polyphemus and a Cecropia moth came to my lights last night. Both are relatively common yet I seldom see them. Their bold colors and 5 inch wingspans make them appear huge beside their smaller relatives.
A Common Loon posed while I took a picture. Both the head and neck band of this species - which show iridescent blue green tints - are black!
And a hatch of dragonflies was underway. One freshly emerged specimen waited beside its nymphal husk as its wings were expanded and dried while another struggled to free itself. The bright colors we expect on dragonflies will become apparent after a few hours exposure to the elements.
Polyphemus moth

Cecropia moth

Cecropia moth

Common Loon

Dragonflies and nymphal husks

Dragonflies emerging

Monday, May 30, 2016


A little orange fungus called the Swamp Beacon which grows on rotting leaves in standing water was living up to its common name today.
Maryland Figwort had opened a few of its rather  unusual flowers.
Virginia Waterleaf was at its flowering peak. Knawel, a tiny matted plant of waste areas, opened its petal-less flowers. This plant's white rimmed sepals make its flowering noticeable but only if you are watching for it.
And a Gray Comma butterfly basked on a leaf after the morning's rain.
Swamp Beacon fungus

Maryland Figwort

Virginia Waterleaf


close up of Knawel

Gray Comma butterfly

Sunday, May 29, 2016


The tiny little moth very appropriately called "The Skunk" (polix coloradella) was airborne last night. Its larvae feed on decaying wood and bark.
Bristly Locust is in flower. These introduced locusts form clonal colonies but probably do not produce seeds.
Flax, an agricultural escape, is also in flower.
And a female Snapping Turtle was looking for a place to dig a nest and lay eggs when we crossed paths this morning.
"The Skunk" moth

Bristly Locust


Snapping Turtle

Saturday, May 28, 2016


Among the moths flying last night was a Purple Plagodis. The larval host for this species is Ash and the inevitable arrival of the Emerald Ash Borer may spell its doom. Also flying were an Eyed Baileya, a False Crocus Geometer, a Rosy Maple moth, a Luna and a Black Bit moth whose larvae feed on Locust.
Along the river a rather regal looking Red-tailed Hawk clutching a huge American Toad perched in an oak tree eyeing me as if I might covet its prize!
Purple Plagodis

Eyed Baileya

False Crocus Geometer

Rosy Maple moth

Luna moth

Black Bit moth

Red-tailed hawk

Friday, May 27, 2016


Among the moths flying last night were a Small-eyed Sphinx, a Hazel Zale and a Transfigured Hydriomena.
Cow Vetch and Ox-eye Daisy were among the wildflowers blooming.
Small-eyed Sphinx

Hazel Zale moth

Transfigured Hydriomena

Cow Vetch

Ox-eye Daisy

Thursday, May 26, 2016


With the heat come the insects. Among the many moths flying last night were the Hickory Tussock and Small Phoenix.
What I'm assuming to be a Golden Tortoise Beetle rested on a leaf.
Aphids sucked sap from Curly Dock and Lady Bird Beetles fed on the Aphids.
A bright red Spider Mite strolled on a dirt road.
And a European Hornet (Vespa crabro) was airborne. These rather imposing looking wasps were introduced in New York 150 years ago. There may be 200 - 400 workers in a nest, they are active both day and night and may be attracted to lights!
Dock, Aphids and Lady Bird Beetle

Hickory Tussock moth

Small Phoenix moth

Golden Tortoise Beetle

Spider Mite

European Hornet

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


One-flowered Cancerroot, AKA Ghost Pipe, is a parasitic plant that is said to grow in woods and thickets. I find it in an old field under Bracken Fern.
Silvery Cinquefoil is also in flower.

On-flowered Cancerroot

One-flowered Cancerroot

Silvery Cinquefoil

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


One of summer's ubiquitous yellow hawkweeds, this one Yellow Hawkweed, is brightening lawns, fields and waste places.
The somewhat clover-like Bird's Foot Trefoil is also opening flowers.
And pink Alsike Clover is opening just a few blossoms.
Yellow Hawkweed
Bird's Foot Trefoil

Alsike Clover

Monday, May 23, 2016


Alternate-leaved Dogwood, AKA Pagoda Tree, is starting to flower. This dogwood has branches and leaves that grow in flat layers. Leaves tend to be crowded at the tips of the branches.
And Golden Ragwort - one of 5 ragworts in our area - is in flower. This is a plant of moist or swampy areas.
Alternate-leaved Dogwood

Golden Ragowrt
Golden Ragwort

Sunday, May 22, 2016


White Clover is starting to flower.
The delicate white flowers of Lesser Stitchwort with their 5 deeply cleft petals fleck fields and waste places.
English Plantain is having its day.
One of the Wild Roses had opened a single flower.
And Clintonia, AKA Corn Lily AKA Bluebeard because of its dark blue bead-like berries, was flowering heartily and attracting pollinators.

White Clover

Lesser Stitchwort

English Plantain

Wild Rose

Clintonia and pollinator

Saturday, May 21, 2016


A single whorl of 5 to 10 leaves and white star shaped flowers with 5 to 9 petals make Star-flower easy to identify.
Star Flowered Solomon's Seal is also in flower as is False Solomon's Seal.
Pearly Crescentspot and Juvenal's (?) Duskywing butterflies were both out in large numbers.

Star-flowered Solomon's Seal

False Solomon's Seal

Pearly Crescentspot butterfly

Juvenal's Duskywing butterfly