Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • June 7


Ruby-throated Hummingbird. The hike started off as another quiet late spring evening outing.


Viceroy. Note this butterfly's tongue is probing the dirt, probably for salt or other minerals. This species will peak in our area in the July - August timeframe.


Oxeye Daisy

Yellow Warbler


Yellow Warbler. This male has a lot of chestnut on the top of his head in addition to his breast.


Yellow Warbler


Red Admiral Caterpillar. Around this time I noticed an outbreak of these black caterpillars on all of the Stinging Nettles along the creek. There was a *multitude * of these caterpillars, which would make sense with the phenomenal influx of Red Admiral butterflies we had earlier in the spring. The caterpillars largely denuded 50% to 75% of the Stinging Nettle plants in the area. The leaves that were left intact were turned into cocoons for the upcoming metamorphosis into butterflies. Note here how the caterpillar has curled an edge of the leaf into a loose tube and anchored the entire affair with silk.


Red Admiral Caterpillar. The birds *love* these caterpillars and all of the nesters along the creek have been feasting on them. I've seen Baltimore Oriole, Song Sparrow, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak carrying them back to their nests or eating them themselves. I'm sure the other species in the area have been eating them, too. Regardless, there are still a lot of these caterpillars about, busily building cocoons. I've noted the past couple days a few Red Admiral butterflies in the area with very bright and new looking wings. Perhaps they are the first adults of the new brood.


Great Crested Flycatcher

Great Crested Flycatcher

Great Blue Heron


Eastern Bluebird (left) and Eastern Kingbird (right). This was an unusual sight! Near the nesting boxes a kingbird joined the bluebird on lookout duty.


Eastern Kingbird. This appeared to be a late migration though the park, as I don't recall seeing these birds since.


Eastern Kingbird and Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Kingbird and Eastern Bluebird


Eastern Kingbird. This is the way I usually see this bird.