Thursday, July 9, 2015

Thinking Back for Two Months

The pace has been so fast, that I have fallen behind on sharing images. So, I've looked back over May and June to find those images that recall special days.  My first close encounter with a Marsh Wren in the Montezuma wetlands in May came as a surprise. He landed in an odd perch and stared at me with defiance.

Closer to home at the Newtown Battlefield Reservation this Hooded Warbler, like the Wren above, chose a nice spot to sing for me. I can regularly find one of them along a particular trail.

For a third year, a pair of Sandhill Cranes was spotted in a marsh near Watkins Glen. Would they be nesting this year?  The quest to answer that landed me on sight for some colorful mornings.

I found the cranes on several different days in June in the tall grass, so any chicks would be hidden. Then, on one day as I approached my parking spot to explore for the cranes, they were standing out in a corn field in plain view.  Dropping into a drainage ditch for concealment, I got very close; it was obvious that they did not have chicks this year.  Mixed with  disappointment was the interesting display that one crane made.

In addition to the larger animals, there is a much smaller world that can be interesting.  This black ant was feeding on the nectar in the blooms of my rhubarb plants.

A good part of June was directed at the Bluebird Trail Farms, which was the subject of an earlier message.  Surely a favorite of the grassland natives was the Eastern Meadowlark.  It is a very strong singer for its size.

I have created a new gallery on my website devoted to grassland flyers - birds and a few butterflies. See it at:

In late June and early July, some of my attention moves to orchids and other beautiful flowering native plants. Arguably, the most exciting are the Showy Lady's Slippers. This cluster of blooms was photographed with my smartphone.

Most exciting was this pair that provided the two orthogonal views in one instant.

Back at the Newtown Battlefield Reservation, a White-breasted Nuthatch found a spider nest under some peeling bark of a White Birch, and I captured the moment when it pulled out the spider.

The American Goldfinch is a seed eater, so it nests later when the grasses are going to seed. This male is in fine colors as July begins.

In the meadows and grasslands, the birds' young are fledging, and one is more successful finding colored butterflies like this Fritillary.

Saving one of the best subjects for last, we come to the Canada Lily.  It's hard to find, because the over-abundant Whitetail Deer find it tasty.  I was introduced to a pocket of them isolated between a big river and a railroad yard in an urban location. No deer get there. Arriving in early morning, I spotted the first plants next to the river.

Some of the plants had profuse blooms. It was very striking. This is just two plants.

One distinctive feature of the Canada Lily is the "freckles" on the petals.

So, there is a view into why my last two months have passed so quickly.


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