Monday, April 30, 2012

Owl Woods • April 19

The owl migration has pretty much wound down for the season. However, there are still some interesting things to see in Owl Woods!

Red Admiral

American Lady. If you compare this picture with the previous picture, you can see a number of similarities between these two closely related species.

Question Mark. The identifying mark is easily seen in this fortunate eye-level perspective. The detail in the eye is fascinating, too.

Question Mark

American Lady nectaring on a dandelion.

Eastern Gray Squirrel. This was the prize of the day when a very young squirrel came out to warm up on the boardwalk.

Eastern Gray Squirrel. This squirrel acted like it has never seen humans before and was curious without fear.

Eastern Gray Squirrel. This little guy actually came over and sniffed my boots before returning to middle of the boardwalk to get some more sun on its back.

Eastern Gray Squirrel. It is evident from this picture that the body proportions (large head and legs, small torso, skinny tail) are that of an animal that has just recently left the nest.

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Oatka Creek Park • April 18

Brown-headed Cowbird. There seems to be an unexpectedly large number of these birds this spring, though I haven't actually compared the numbers to last year's. This species is a nest parasite that threatens the species of some smaller birds. Rather than building their own nests, they lay their eggs in the nests of other species. Since the cowbird chicks can be larger that the host's own chicks, it can more successfully compete for food than the host chicks, potentially reducing the number of surviving host chicks.

Song Sparrow. There are Song Sparrow territories throughout the park, now.

Brown Creeper. There was a migration wave of these birds through the park during mid April.

Brown Creeper

Juvenal's Duskywing. This is a kind of butterfly called a skipper. Skippers tend to be small butterflies with Juvenal's being among the largest of skippers.

Juvenal's Duskywing. Note that the tongue is in the mud. Kaufman's Field Guide to Butterflies of North America says "Males of some butterflies, ..., are strongly attached to damp soil. They are apparently taking in salts and other chemicals from the mud."

Juvenal's Duskywing

Large-flowered Trillium. Several nice blooms continue.

Virginia Bluebells. Enjoying peak for this species!

Virginia Bluebells

Northern Flicker at its favorite drumming and calling perch.

Northern Flicker

Red-bellied Woodpecker by its nesting hole.

Eastern Chipmunk

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Comma

Early Saxifrage

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • April 17

Northern Cardinal. Though these birds are loud and persistent, that doesn't mean they want to be easily seen!

Cabbage White. This butterfly has two spots on its forewings, so it's a female. A male would only have one spot.

White-tailed Deer

Red Admiral. I read somewhere the advice for approaching butterflies is "low and slow". This is generally good advice for most any wildlife photography: lower your profile and approach slowly.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. The New York State Second Bird Breeding Atlas shows this species to be nesting throughout the state, except here in the Great Lakes Plain and down by New York City. (They have the ocean birds, so no tears for them!)  

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. This is a male due to the red throat. A female would have a white throat.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Though I haven't looked at the actual numbers, the impressions of area birders is that this has been an excellent spring for spotting sapsuckers in our area.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. If you missed them now, they will be back through this fall. The trees along the creek (both banks) are particularly good places to look.

Eastern Chipmunk. Like most wild mammals (apart from deer, perhaps), it is surprisingly hard to get chipmunks to stay still and pose for a nice picture.

Large-flower Trillium. These flowers have been holding up nicely to the recent freezing nights.

Virginia Bluebells. These pictures were taken near peak. Though there are still some pink flowers here, there are also some small blemishes due to the cold nights.

Virginia Bluebells

Virginia Bluebells

Red Admiral

Virginia Bluebells. This is, perhaps, the quintessential peak picture!

Red-bellied Woodpecker. Its nesting hole is just out of shot to the right.

Virginia Bluebells. This plant has not withstood the freezing nights as successfully as the others have as it has a number of bells with brown on them.

Early Saxifrage. These are small flowers tucked into the shadows of the forest floor.

Early Saxifrage (white flowers) and Kidneyleaf Buttercup (yellow flowers). Look at the buttercup in the foreground. The leaves at the base of the plant are kidney shaped (hence its name) with scalloped edges. The leaves at the top of the plant, however, are narrrow and blunt with smooth edges. Completely different kinds of leaves on the same plant!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • April 16

Apple Blossoms. This picture was taken before the freezing weather returned. Most of these flowers are now tinged in brown from freezing, but still seem viable.

Common Blue Violet. These flowers continue to carpet the creekside, especially the lower northern bank.

Garlic Mustard. These ubiquitous plants are now flowering throughout the park.

White-tailed Deer. Another young, curious deer!

White-tailed Deer

Large-flower Trillium. After a seemingly slow start, the patch of trilliums in the park is now producing a number of nice flowers.

Kidneyleaf Buttercup. The flower petals are only a quarter of an inch long. This is a very inconspicuous flower.

Virginia Bluebells. Once the bells open, peak lasts only a week or two. Due to the recent freezing weather these flowers are now rapidly in decline.

Virginia Bluebells

Red Admiral. There was a prodigious migration of these butterflies through the area in mid April. This picture shows that the underside of the wings is also very interesting in this species.

Red Admiral. This is the more familiar upper side of the wings.

White-breasted Nuthatch

Virginia Bluebells. There are many bluebell plants all along the northern bank of the creek.

American Toad. During the warm weather the air was filled with the pleasant trilling of these toads.

Question Mark. One of the so-called "anglewing" butterflies. The "question mark" is circled in the next picture.

Question Mark

Eastern Bluebird. This was during the few days of Tree Swallows passing through the bluebird field. (They have disappeared since.) This bluebird appears determined to protect her nest!

Eastern Bluebird

Field Sparrow. The characteristic pink bill is clearly showcased in this picture.