July 30, 2014

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 73°F, partly cloudy and calm at 1:00 PM on July 30, 2014.
  • The avian highlight of the day was palm warblers.
  • The botanical highlight of the day was downy rattlesnake plantain.
  • The lepidopteran highlight of the day was meadow fritillaries.
  • And I had company today to share the delights with.

The Trails

  • The milkweed is done flowering, I sighed, but maybe a monarch caterpillar, I thought, just maybe.
  • So around the Gifford parking lot we went, never expecting to find an American copper on Queen Anne's lace.
  • The parking lot was amazingly good today with meadow fritillaries and one of only two common ringlets seen today.
  • The front Old Hayfield had all the other meadow frits. With the cool air, they were actually landing and basking in the sun affording unusual opportunities to photo both top and bottom sides.
  • Along the Sedge Meadow Trail, a goldenrod was getting ready to bloom right next to last year's effort.
  • Honeysuckle bushes were laden with ripe berries.
  • Again, maybe it was the cool air that prompted the white-striped black (moth) to perch in the open.
  • In the back Old Hayfield a big argiope or garden spider had spun webs across sturdy vegetation.
  • A female scorpion fly sat just long enough for one photo.
  • Almost at the Old Pasture, we came upon a bristly, black caterpillar Though I haven't seen the Agreeable Tiger Moth, the Book says they are wide spread and common, so I'll go with that.
  • Downy rattlesnake plantain was a very special find along the edge of the Wappinger Creek Trail... especially since they had just mowed.
  • It was just beginning to bloom, but the leaves were interesting enough in themselves.
  • The northern pearly-eye was continuing this season's trend of poping up in unsusal places, this time just upstream from the "Appendix".
  • On the Cary Pines Trail (or just about anywhere), mushrooms continued to respond to this year's ample rains.
  • Virginia creeper was starting up a tree. The young leaves resemble poison ivy in an alarming way.
  • In the Fern Glen, black swallowwort was announcing "last call"... to try to control it...
  • ...as seed pods were maturing. Often hanging in pairs, they are thought to resemble a swallow's forked tail. A large plant supporting several vines can produce a hundred or so pods - each with 20 some seeds.
  • The tiny, dark red, ill scented flowers are almost black, giving rise to the other part of its common name. Oh, and they're self-pollinating - even covered over, they still produce seed.
  • It's latin name, Cynanchum, is said to translate to "dog strangling vine", a good name for a truely bad plant. It's also bad for monarchs. They recognize that it is in the milkweed family and will lay eggs on it, but it is fatal to the caterpillars. Look it up...
  • Our friendly, native trillium also bore ripening fruit. The seeds within don't have the "parachutes" of the former plant to carry them on the wind, but have a fleshy blob relished by ants, who carry them away.
  • Field work for mosquito research was being conducted by the limestone cobble.
  • The large lace-border is a pretty and easily recognized moth, but in form enucleata the distinctive pattern is hardly there at all.
  • One single blossom of horse balm had opened in the shrub swamp.
  • In the dryer areas, white wood aster had started to bloom.
  • Remember the little fungus from last week? By the welcome sign? It was definitely bigger this week.
  • At the front of the pond, Joe-Pye weed was just about to bloom.
  • The light was low and the shadows long. I paused once more for a confused eusarca along the Little Bluestem Meadow.
  • And then it was back to the Gifford parking lot and away.
Downy rattlesnake plantain

Sightings

Birds
  • 1 Great Blue Heron
  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Barred Owl
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe
  • 1 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 5 Blue Jay
  • 10 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 3 Brown Creeper
  • 1 House Wren
  • 9 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Cedar Waxwing
  • 2 Palm Warbler
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 1 Indigo Bunting
  • 3 American Goldfinch
Butterflies
  • 6 Cabbage White
  • 1 Orange Sulphur
  • 1 American Copper
  • 7 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 6 Meadow Fritillary
  • 32 Pearl Crescent
  • 2 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 1 Little Wood-Satyr
  • 2 Common Ringlet
  • 31 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 12 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 25 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 1 Mulberry Wing
Moth
  • 1 Confused Eusarca
  • 5 Hummingbird Clearwing
  • 1 Large Lace-border form enucleata
  • 7 Snowberry Clearwing
  • 2 White-striped Black
Plants
  • 1 White wood aster
  • 1 Downy rattlesnake plantain
  • 1 Horse-balm

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