Notes and Changes since last report
- It was 80°F, partly cloudy with light breezes at 1:15 PM on August 20, 2014.
- The second monarch on the Trails this season was a welcome sight.
- Oh horror, black swallowwort pods were beginning to open!
- A loop around the Gifford parking lot to check the milkweed turned up an interesting wasp apparently licking up aphid honeydew.
- The thistles between Gifford House and the Carriage House were being worked over by several American goldfinch.
- A blur in the air behind the Carriage House was clearly a skipper. A little patience and binoculars proved it to be a zabulon skipper.
- Good grief, how many times have I walked by this spot and never noticed the black swallowwort?
- Over 20 stalks were coming up out of one spot. Hmmm, that's about how many seeds are in a pod... I've counted 150-200 pods0 on just one good size plant.
- Speaking of pods, some of these were past yellow and actually starting to split open.
- I'm glad I found this in time. I hope it was the only one in the field. Yeah, right...
- On a more hopeful note, the shadow passing over head in the Old Gravel Pit was that of a monarch - the second one I've seen here this season.
- At the edge of the Fern Glen pond, ants were tending leaf hoppers on Joe-pye weed. I presume they secrete something sweet that ants covet.
- Towards the back of the pond, NY ironweed was tall and blooming.
- A cherry on a side trail had some very interesting caterpillars With no abdominal "legs" they were clearly loopers of some sort. But I didn't recall loopers living communally. And the patterns and bumps seemed peculiar as well. A quick flip through Wagner didn't turn up anything definite, but emeralds seemed possible. Some delicate green moths that show up at porch lights are of that group.
- Along the Sedge Meadow Trail, there was no doubt that I was looking at white turtlehead. I'm not sure I'd seen it there before.
- The back Old Hayfield was truely buzzing with activity. I stood a while surrounded by goldenrods and just watched and listened to the countless bees and other insects around me.
- I would have liked to stay longer, but I had an appointment.