Posts Tagged 'Great Swamp'

But Let’s Not Get Too Sentimental

Turdus migratoriusAmerican Robin nests are the easiest to see, not least because there are so many of them. Turdus migratoriusThis one was in Inwood Hill Park. When we walked by again coming down the hill, it wasn’t filled by the parent bird. Sometimes the birds will dart off, but that does leave the eggs vulnerable. The day before we watched as three Crows each took a turn eating the eggs in a high nest in Prospect Park. A bit of blue egg was seen. Other thrushes have blue eggs, so it may not have been a Robin, but it probably was.

So Crows are notorious for raiding nests, but their reputation here is much overblown. This may surprise you, but this species actually takes more bird eggs than Crows: Tamias striatusYes, the adorable Eastern Chipmunk. Which just goes to show you that moral views of nature should always be suspect.

Don’t Know Jack?

Arisaema triphyllumArisaema triphyllumArisaema triphyllumSpathe and spadix: Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), a plant with many other names, including Bog Onion. I’ve never come across so many. Unfortunately, they were off the boardwalk, so I could not lift their hoods to check out their engines. Arisaema triphyllum

Squirrel Pile

Sciurus carolinensisSciurus carolinensisYou didn’t think I was going to let you get away with just one picture of the baby Gray Squirrel Pile, did you?
Sciurus carolinensisSciurus carolinensis

What a Great Swamp!

Symplocarpus foetidusI missed the emergence of Skunk Cabbage this year. Here’s some of the mature, cabbagy leaves as they look now. The time-travelling internet, however, can take us back to a previous year’s sprouting.

It seems as if everything happens at once during spring. At Great Swamp NWR recently, we saw and heard so much it was a true spring wonderland. Spring Beauties on the ground and Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers gathering spider silk for their nests in the trees. We had a brief glimpse of Pileated Woodpecker and lots of sound-effects from same. A Broad-wing Hawk circled overhead. Baeolophus bicolorThe clarion call of Tufted Titmouse was heard repeatedly.Baeolophus bicolorThey are, it develops, cavity nesters. This is a female popping out of her nest — she came out to mate.Nerodia sipedonOne of the Northern Water Snakes. Arisaema triphyllumJack-in-the-Pulpit: do they always bloom pointing away from the sun? Sciurus carolinensisBaby Gray Squirrels. In the leaflitter, there were a couple dozen tiny, swift mammals impossible to photograph; they were shrews or voles.

3 Turtle Species

Clemmys guttataSpotted (Clemmys guttata).Chrysemys pictaPainted (Chrysemys picta).Chelydra serpentinaSnapping (Chelydra serpentina). All on the same day at Great Swamp. There were two Snappers, the pictured one being enormous; a dozen Painted; and half-a-dozen Spotted. I am most enamored of the Spotted. Here’s another:IMG_6594

Bugs At Last!

You’ve been waiting patiently all winter long for some serious insect life to liven things up. This was the week!
Coleomegilla maculataTwo color variations of the Spotted Lady Beetle (Coleomegilla maculata).Coleomegilla maculataThese are in the Coccinellidae family of ladybugs, but clearly not the usual rounded shape of the classic VW. Sure are spotty, though: another common name for them is Twelve-Spotted Lady Beetle. I wasn’t familiar with these.Ischnura positaThe first damselfly I’ve seen this season is our old friend the Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita). There was another smaller species flitting about that eluded my lens.IMG_6776These were tiny and, presumably, larval. But larval what is the question.Polygonia commaSeen at a distance yet still identifiable with that Comma (Polygonia comma) mark!

Bonus: All of the above were spotted in Great Swamp NWR. Here in the city, massive Carpenter Bees are buzzing around wood (houses, benches, telephone poles, etc.) now looking for a place to nest. On the desolation called 4th Avenue, there’s a tiny patch of ground behind the 36th subway entrance, between fences (Green-Wood is beyond), that seems to be attracting some ground nesters as well.

Azures and Beauties of Spring

Celastrina ladonA tiny butterfly with lovely blue wings — on the inside, anyway, meaning you only see the color when they fly.Celastrina ladonHere’s a pair making more. Quite a complicated taxonomy, evidently.

So that was last week. This week I saw only a few of the Azures flitting about. That precious blue!

But this week, there were plenty of Spring Beauties (Claytonia virginica) to be had.Claytonia virginicaHad in the optical sense, of course.Claytonia virginica


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