Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Next Generation

This mother-doe  and her week-old fawn were out grazing in front of the house in the late afternoon. You will note the protection around the fruit trees.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Machines of Disturbance

The cardinal chirps
The leaves rustle in the wind
Waaaaaaah! roars the mower.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Ideal Cottontail Habitat

I see this eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) almost every day in the early evening at the edge of the woods on the southwest corner of the property.

I was able to observe it closely on this occasion and discovered why it likes this particular location. The combination of shade, "lawn"... rich in broadleaf plantain, and a nearby large brush pile (cover) make for an ideal homeland. If you look closely at the photo, you will see it chewing away on a leaf of plantain.

It is quite relaxing to sit in the evening and watch it meander and browse, always alert for any dangerous intruders.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Tiger Beetle

I noticed this beautifully luminescent six-spotted green tiger beetle (Cicindela lepida) on the picnic table.

The Audobon guide says, "The adult flies along forest paths, alights, and turns to face any intruders, as though judging when to fly again.". I observed this one exhibiting this precise behavior.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Click Beetle

The eastern eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) is often found around rotting timber and that is exactly where I found this one….in a pile of old, rotting boards. It is named for the false eyes that appear on the back of the thorax.

The "click" refers to the sound that they make when they flip themselves upright. According to the Audobon Field Guide, “they accomplish this amazing feat by snapping a fingerlike spine on the underside of the thorax into a groove below the mesothorax.” Strangely, this particular one did not exhibit the phenomenon. He just lays on his back playing dead.


Monday, May 23, 2016

First Scarback Sighting

Yes, yes....almost back-to-back posts on box turtles. But this is Old Scarback (called "Scratchy" by the children), who has been mentioned on these pages on many occasions. This was the first sighting of the season. I wish that I had recorded the first year that I observed him but I would estimate that it has been close to 15 years.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

May Stream Sampling

This is the 10th year that we have been stream sampling for the Four Rivers Watershed Watch. We started when my oldest son was 12 years old. This was the first year for my fourth and youngest son. The weather was perfect and no mosquitoes. The water level in the stream was lower than I expected as we have had above normal precipitation.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

New Box Turtle

I spotted an eastern box turtle on our smallholding that I had never seen before. It was smaller than a full grown adult. He or she was very shy and would not take a peak and allow me to observe the eye color. The plastron showed no indentation, so perhaps it is a female.  

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Egg Toting Wolf Spider

This female wolf spider was seen carrying her egg sac in one of my garden beds, where I often find them. They love the leaf litter and devour springtails to their heart's content.  She was quite small, so I am thinking she was of the genus Schizocosa.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Bluebird Update

The four fledglings are only a few days old.