Thursday, September 03, 2015

Cape May Things with Wings

We did a day trip to Cape May yesterday. This premier birding destination is on the transition edge between summer and fall. There were only a hand full of shorebirds about. Mockingbirds were still feeding young. Several Osprey nests still had young calling for food and being watched over by parents, but the hawk migration count began its first day on Sep 1 with 145 migrating Osprey.

Many songbirds were calling quietly. Most young birds were on their own, but clearly not quite sure how to fend for themselves. Waterfowl numbers lie in the future.

In the hot, steamy shore weather, butterflies and dragonflies were in the air.

Here's a sample of the day ...

A few Monarch Butterflies were about, plus the occasional Viceroy which disguises itself as the foul-tasting Monarch ...

Twelve-spotted Skimmer (somewhat the worse for wear judging by the left hind wing)

Eastern Pondhawk

Black Saddlebags (female)

Green Heron (probably juvenile)

Common Whitetail

House Wren (juvenile)

Blue Dasher
Tricolored Heron (juvenile)
Chestnut-sided Warbler (juvenile)
Delaware Skipper
Good flying to all!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Potpouri of Things with Wings

From the last few weeks, a miscellany of winged things that have crossed my path here and there.

The Common Loons on Sunset Lake seem to be on the way to successfully raising a chick, the first in a couple of years of failures (mainly from predators and competing loons).

Common Loon - Sunset Lake, Vermont
Young Wood Duck on the Wissahickon River, Philadelphia ...

Wood Duck - Wissahickon River, Philadelphia

Wood Duck - Wissahickon River, Philadelphia
Young Hooded Merganser, Wilson Wetlands, Putney, VT

Hooded Merganser, Wilson Wetlands, Putney, VT
From various places in Windham County, Vermont

Eastern Comma

Meadowhawk species
One of the smallest dragonflies, Eastern Amberwing, barely an inch in length - easily missed except for the golden glister of the wings  ...

Eastern Amberwing
Finally, from my backyard ...

Great Spangled Fritillary

Blue Jay- youngster who has figured out how to feed himself

Pearl Crescent

American Lady

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Mud Dauber & Butterflies

It's been a busy few weeks with little time to fully process photos and post some results. Maybe things will calm down.

I begin with a Black and Yellow Mud Dauber which intrigued in the field and on the monitor. IDing any insect takes a lot of research. My first conclusion was a wasp that has not previously been reported in Vermont. Eventually I found my way to, a very helpful resource. My ID question was answered by Eric Eaton who wrote the Kaufman Guide to Insects ...

Black and Yellow Mud Dauber

Black and Yellow Mud Dauber
After the wasp, butterflies are a piece of cake. Here's a sampling from recent weeks ... beginning with the White Admiral which has been abundant in some of the areas I roam about.

White Admiral

White Admiral
Fritillarys have enlivened the garden and fields, sometimes with more than one species working the same flowers ...

Meadow Fritillary

Atlantis Fritillarys
Great Spangled Fritillary

Great Spangled Fritillary
Skippers can be very difficult to identify, with a few exceptions, such as the Silver-spotted Skipper ...

Silver-spotted Skipper
Enjoy these summer days!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Dragonflies and Damselflies ... but first, a moth -- Virginia Ctenucha, a lovely creature that I've seen in several locations during recent perambulations ...

Virginia Ctenucha

Virginia Ctenucha
Next, a brief sampling of recent dragonflies ... Slaty Skimmer and Widow Skimmer ...

Slaty Skimmer

Widow Skimmer
 ... and a damselfly, the Ebony Jewelwing ...

Ebony Jewelwing
Closing out this post are three damselflies - which also illustrate the challenges of these almost imaginary insects.

The first is a Marsh Bluet - probably - since according to Lam's "Damselflies of the Northeast," this species is nearly identical to 3 other species and can only be reliably identified by examining the shape of male 's cerci - and that requires netting it, then using a magnifying glass.

Marsh Bluet (? probable or ? possible)

The next 2 can be identified in the field with binoculars or a camera and I am reasonably certain on the IDs: Northern Bluet and Aurora Damsel:

Northern Bluet
Aurora Damsel
Hope you can get outside and enjoy the wonders of the season.

Sunday, July 12, 2015


It is that delightful time of the year when birds are nesting, fledging, feeding, and finding their way. Here's a sample, first from the backyard, and beginning with a handsome portrait of a young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak ...

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (juvenile male)
Lots of feeding is going on - Evening Grosbeak and Tufted Titmouse are just two of many. And many more still hoping for a free handout, such as the fledgling Red-winged Blackbird, who was ignored despite its persistent complaints ...

Evening Grosbeak

Tufted Titmouse

Red-winged Blackbird
This young Northern Cardinal has just about gotten the problem of food figured out ...

Northern Cardinal

 Elsewhere around the area, young Hooded Mergansers were in the Wilson Wetlands in Putney ...

Hooded Mergansers

... and in the upper elevations of Somerset, many songbirds were busy feeding fledglings, but unfortunately did not come within camera range.

Barely within camera range, and probably caring less about the birds and the bees (at least for the next few months) was this Black Bear in the wet grasses of a large beaver pond ...

Black Bear
Good Birding!!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Siskin, Racket-tail, Checkerspot, et al

Pine Siskins are usually seen Spring, Winter, and Fall, as they wander to and from northern breeding grounds, but with the late spring, this year, they have been around sporadically. Possibly a few pairs are or have been breeding. This one visited me on July 3 ...

Pine Siskin

Earlier on the 3rd, I saw my first Common Whitetail of the year ...

Common Whitetail

"Leftover" dragonflies from recent excursions include the Racket-tailed Emerald and the Dot-tailed Whiteface (Essex Co, Vt.)

Racket-tailed Emerald
Dot-tailed Whiteface
 "New" butterflies in my photo achives are the Little Wood-Satyr, the Atlantis Fritillary   (Dummerston, VT) and the Baltimore Checkerspot (Putney, VT), a beauty deserving more than one photo ...

Little Wood-Satyr
Atlantis Fritillary
Baltimore Checkerspot

Baltimore Checkerspot

Finally, a walk through the butterfly garden in my backyard has provided regular sightings of the Great Spangled Fritillary ...

Great Spangled Fritillary

Great Spangled Fritillary
Whatever you encounter, take time to appreciate it.


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