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.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

A Busy Day in the Yard

This afternoon alternated between heavy showers and golden sunshine, and the yard was as busy as ever. At least two dozen species (maybe three dozen) nest in our immediate neighborhood, and most of those make regular visits to our bird feeders. I sat on the back porch and watched the show! Hardly a pause in the activity ... a captivating way to spend an afternoon.

Here is just a sample ...

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - immature male

Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Evening Grosbeak
Northern Cardinal

Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
Gray Catbird
White-breasted Nuthatch waits its turn - Evening Grosbeak (female)
It is a BIRD Feeder!! What do you not understand about BIRD FEEDER?

Good Birding !!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Nesting in Center City

In the last week I have done a lot of walking in the Museum District and Center City, Philadelphia. While birding was not my intent, I picked up a lot of incidental evidence of nesting birds, even among the high rise buildings and concrete/asphalt streets.

In addition to the three expected exotics - Rock Pigeon, House Sparrow, and European Starling - there was Northern Mockingbird, Canada Goose, House Wren, Gray Catbird, Mallard, Red-tailed Hawk, Downy Woodpecker, House Finch, Barn, Tree, and Northern Rough-winged Swallow, American Robin, Northern Cardinal, Blue Jay. (This does not include the long list in our Roxborough neighborhood and Wissahickon Valley.)

Returning from dinner on Main Street in Manayunk, young Peregrine Falcons were making a racket overhead. Parents nest in a church steeple next to Pretzel Park, one of several pairs in the city.

Again, I was not birding, but could not resist the opportunity to photograph when it came. Here are a few ...

European Starling

American Robin

American Robin

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Friday, June 19, 2015

Butterfly Magic

I was aAt Victory Bog in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom last week in the mid to late afternoon. The birds were generally quiet, but the butterflies were magnificent.

Tiger Swallowtails are so common that they almost ignored as just an expected part of the landscape. But on this day, the Tiger Swallowtails (probably Canadian) were flying in profuse numbers, and congregating around damp spots in roads and along roadsides. The fluttering presence, the sudden burst of dozens into flight, and the resettling on the ground again, was breathtaking ... beautiful, magical, inducing wonder.

(Canadian) Tiger Swallowtail

(Canadian) Tiger Swallowtail

A similar phenomenon occurred with Northern Crescents. They are much smaller than the swallowtails. They could almost have been overlooked, until we stood still. Then we saw them gathering, like so many sprites ...

Northern Crescent

Northern Crescent

Northern Crescent

Yet another tiny piece of imagination are the Spring Azures, tiny pieces of blue sky sprinkled here and there ...

Spring Azure

From previous meanderings in the last couple weeks is the Green Comma (Somerset Town, Green Mountain NF) and Mourning Cloak (Rutland Marsh) ...

Green Comma

Mourning Cloak

... and in my own backyard, Clouded Sulphur ...

Clouded Sulphur


Related Posts with Thumbnails