I guess I've been feeling a little adventuresome lately, enough so that I decided to explore my second new park for the week today. The part of Osbornedale State Park where I went this morning was just the right amount of change for me -- there were broad fields overflowing with tall grasses and wildflowers, small ponds and wetlands, and forest trails like those that I'm used to.
The Red-winged Blackbirds were definitely the most prominent creatures there. This male was very clearly trying to tell me something -- probably that I was encroaching on his territory, and maybe I was a little too close to a nest:
In the fields, the Common Milkweed was just starting to open its blooms:
And with the milkweed come the Red Milkweed Beetles -- this guy was really chowing down on those thick milky leaves:
I did see a few Monarch butterflies visiting the milkweed as well, but none came close enough for a picture.
Another butterfly was kind enough to set up a really nice photo-op for me, though -- here's a Silver-spotted Skipper posing prettily on some Cow Vetch blooms (that color almost doesn't look real, but I swear I didn't alter the picture at all):
There was more cool stuff in the woods as well, like these bizarre orange roots showing through the trail path at one point:
This is Wood Nettle (I think) -- teeny tiny flowers on a plant that will apparently sting you if you touch it:
And here's one more flower I found in the woods, a mysterious shrub-sized plant that I haven't been able to identify -- does anyone have any ideas?
I think the next time I take a trip to the woods, it will have to be back to the Naugatuck State Forest -- I'm starting to miss it already, and I'm very curious to see what's been going on since I was last there. All this adventuring this week has been fun, though, and now I know of some other nice places to go when I feel like I need a change. :)