Sunday, June 19, 2016

Close Encounters of the Reptile/Insect Kind

8:00 a.m. Sunny and clear. A beautiful day at 63 degrees.

I'm happy to report that I saw several milkweed plants in the lower gardens and that will be a good thing for the Monarch butterflies.

The lower gardens had our usual tree swallows which are still there but many seem done breeding. The house wrens have moved in and are tending their broods. It was fairly quiet. Mostly catbirds, robins, song sparrows and yellow warblers today.

Red-eared Slider
The same was true of the upper gardens. A gardener has hung some suet and bird food and our dreaded house sparrows are happily partaking. In addition to the species seen in the lower gardens, I can add goldfinches, a pee wee calling from the woods at the back, chickadees, a flicker and titmice. A yellow warbler couple was dutifully feeding it's young which were out of the nest at this point. Paul contacted me yesterday. He had seen a blue-headed vireo, but I was unable to locate it.

Their are several wildflowers blooming now in the meadow as well as two different beautiful native roses - a dark pink variety in the lower gardens and a mid-tone clear pink in the upper gardens. The sumac is starting to flower and Queen Anne's lace is developing buds.

A female mallard stood by the side of the pond (which is almost dried up) while several red-winged blackbird couples foraged in the mud and grasses. I went to the river to check out the rare daisy-leafed moonwort ferns. They were still there, but on the wane. A warbling vireo was singing.

On the way back, I saw a dark mass in the soccer field grass. I was dreading the discovery. I was certain it was a dead bird or animal and I wasn't looking forward to seeing it. However, as I got closer, it was a turtle!!!! A red-eared slider to be exact (you can see a tiny bit of red to the side of his eye. I have just read that although it is native to the southeastern U.S., it has become an invasive up North, outcompeting our native turtles. Hmmmmm....

Garter Snake
Immediately after viewing the turtle, I saw a garter snake, who didn't seem to be the least bit bothered by me. He let me take his picture without any trouble!

It had seemed such a quiet morning. I love the way Nahanton Park is full of surprises. You just never know what you might see.

And by the way, the dreaded invasive swallow-wort is starting to bloom. If you have the energy, bring some snips with you - snip off the flowers and put all in a black plastic trash bag. DO NOT put it in with yard waste. We don't want to spread any more of it around. It's really taking over our park.

1 comment:

  1. Great observations, Suzette!
    The dragonfly is an adult male 12-spotted Skimmer.