I had lots of butterflies flying around today. Gray Comma (CHECK), Tiger Swallowtail (CHECK), Juvenal Dusywing (CHECK) . . . . all first of the years today. The Clouded Sulphur, West Virginia White, Eastern Comma and Spring Azure have been seen previously.
West Virginia White
Saw my first of the year West Virginia Whites (CHECK) flying around today. I just love these guys!
Butterflies Courtship and Nest Building
Temperatures reached in the 60’s yesterday with my first butterfly of the year “Mourning Cloak” (CHECK), courtship displays from Red-shouldered Hawks, and American Crows gathering nesting material. True signs that spring has finally arrived.
Each spring the male White-tailed Deer will grow a new set of antlers and throughout the summer the antlers will continue to get larger depending on the bucks diet. By fall the highly vascular tissue (Velvet) will dry up and peel off leaving a hard bone behind. The remaining velvet will be removed by the deer rubbing his antlers on a small tree (deer rub). This all happens because of the bucks’ testosterone levels increasing in preparations for the rutting season. By late December early January the buck will loose his antlers and the whole process will repeat itself the following spring.
Sometimes they let me pick them up . . . sometimes they fly away!
Just found a Mourning Cloak who let me pick it up with my finger! I just love seeing Mother Nature up close!
Allegany Nature Pilgrimage 2009
Old Growth Walk (Photo by Patty)
Last weekend the 51st annual Allegany Nature Pilgrimage was held in Allegany State Park. This is my 14th year attending the pilgrimage and my 11th year as a trip leader. The Allegany Nature Pilgrimage was started by Gilbert Burgeson (aka Gib) who traveled to Tennesee to visit their daughter. While in Tennessee he attended the Smokey Mountain Wildflower Pilgrimage and said, “Why can’t we have a pilgrimage? Why not at Allegany Park?”! Over the past 51 years the organization still frequently has visitors from all over the United States, Canada and other Countries to attend the Pilgrimage weekend. (more…)
First Monarch of the Year
Today along Red House Lake I saw my first Monarch Butterfly (CHECK) for the year! The migration has just started moving through the Western New York area!
Nature Haiku – Bees
By Young Naturalist C
Black and yellow stripes
Buzzing around the flowers
Spreading the pollen
Yesterday I had found my first of the year Woolly Bear (CHECK) in the grass! These fuzzy caterpillars are regularly seen during the fall and spring before becoming an ugly moth . . . . Many know the woolly bear for the superstition of forecasting the severity of the coming winter by the amount of black on the caterpillar’s body. Hmmm does this guy reflect your winter?
Niagara Park Butterfly Conservatory
I visited the Niagara Park Butterfly Conservancy back in 2002 and enjoyed seeing these great butterflies up close. What I remember most was that the building was soo humid that I had a hard time capturing these pictures with my point and shoot camera (the lens kept fogging up). But there were turtles in the ponds and butterflies landing all over people. If you are ever in Niagara Falls Canada . . . . you must visit this amazing place.
Photo Stories [Wordless Wednesday]
Sometimes a photo can tell a story without using any words. Here is a series of Butterfly photos that I took and doesn’t need a description.
What Woodpeckers Eat
The woodpecker’s main diet is insects that are heard from under the bark of the tree. They will drill a hole and then use their awfully long tongue for pulling the insects out. The tongue is sticky at the end which is helpful in grasping the insect from the center of the tree. You can think of the woodpecker as a tree doctor removing the insects that could potentially do harm to the tree (that’s how I think of them)!!
Under the Bridge
What could this Barn Swallow be doing?
Fledgling Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Fledgling Northern Rough-winged Swallow
While walking around Allegany State Park (Red House Lake) yesterday, I found these two fledgling Northern Rough-winged Swallow being fed by mom. I knew the mother bird would return with more bugs and so I waited . . .
Wolf Run Butterflies
Today I decided to take a walk for butterflies along the Wolf Run area of Allegany State Park. Was only out for about an hour before the rain arrived but did capture a few decent photos to share with everyone!
Dragonflies by a Mist Net
Not only were we able to catch birds during the Great Outdoors Program but we were also able to catch 3 different species of dragonflies. I felt bad that the insect station was able to catch 1 Common Baskettail with all those kids running around with butterfly nets . . . I was innocently catching a few of each species without trying.
The crow and blowflies
American Crow on the Bluebird Box
Yes the crow could hear the baby nestlings inside the box! What do you think happened next?
Butterflies at the Birdathon
Most people think that birdathons are just for the birds! Well this year team T-bird also kept track of the butterflies that were flying while helping with the Jamestown Audubon fundraiser. We ended up with 15 species of butterflies and I had 2 first of the year butterflies. OK, I guess at this point I have become too much of a lister!!!
Monarch Butterfly [Poem]
Regal autumn travelers
robed for mediaeval pageantry
in velvet orange and black
Moving in great procession
on tissue wings
from Canada to Monterey, the Sierra Madre
The North American Continent a court for this lepidoptery
Finding Purple Martins
While heading to Crane Creek from Presque Isle State Park . . . . Young Naturalist J and I decided to take an alternative route to the thruway. I felt at one point that we were lost but I am glad we continued the adventure because we found this wonderful series of Purple Martin houses (my brakes screeched and I yelled “Purple Martin” (CHECK). Since the business that had these Martin houses were closed . . . we decided to take a few pictures of their birds!!
Earth Day Findings
I came across a few new species during Earth Day today! The first find was a Double-crested Cormorant (CHECK) swimming in Red House Lake. It’s funny since I almost always first find them over at Quaker Lake . . . . but not this year! We have been working in the same area the past few days and it was nice finding my first Spring Azure (CHECK) fluttering around once the sun got high enough in the sky (yeah to seeing those azure blues)! Then at lunch I saw my first West Virginia White (CHECK) moving down the trail (with only a quick look)! By the end of the day there were multiple Whites flying around and all my co-workers thought I was nuts looking at those white-moth looking butterflies! Hey . . . how often do you get to look at a species of concern up close?
Pileated Woodpecker [video]
Yesterday I came across this enormous black and white woodpecker with a conspicuous bright red crest, while it was working on excavating a huge hole. Actually, I found this bird not far from my mother’s house and was amazed that it allowed me to pull my vehicle right next to it . . . . and it wasn’t spooked!! This Pileated Woodpecker has very little red on its forehead and was lacking the red on the malar region making it a female. Looking at the first photo up close . . . you will notice her brown coloring contrasting with its black wing feathers, which can sometimes be difficult to reliably age the bird (believing that the faded brown feathers were her Juvenal feathers). But, seeing the gray/tan eye coloring (Adults have bright red eyes) will confirm that this woodpecker is a second year bird (meaning she was born during the summer of 2007).