Monday, June 27, 2011

A Garter Snake and Other Summer Creatures

Well, it's officially summer! The days are getting consistently hot and humid, and the plants and animals are taking full advantage of the sun.

While I was walking in the Naugatuck State Forest today, I nearly stepped on this little fellow, sunning him/herself in the path (I say that, but this was actually a rather shady spot):

This is the first Eastern Garter Snake I've seen this year, and it sure was a gorgeous creature. It didn't seem inclined to run away from me, even when I got right in its face:

I encouraged this little guy to move off the path, and it finally took the hint (after sticking its red-black tongue out at me a couple of times). With all the people- and dog-feet passing by, I didn't want it to accidentally get hurt.

Here's another sign of summer -- Black Raspberries covering a bank along the path (yum... I might have eaten a berry or two after taking this picture, even though they could've done with another day or so of ripening):

The dragonflies were as active as ever, and I even managed to identify a couple. This Common Whitetail was basking in the sun, and its bright blue/white abdomen was pulsating, like a person's chest when they're breathing heavily (I'm not entirely sure what was going on here, but it's possible it could have had to do with respiration):

I think this is an Eastern Pondhawk, and it's the most beautiful shade of green:

And speaking of beautiful colors, a couple of these fritillary butterflies (possibly Great Spangled Fritillaries, but I'm not certain about that) were taking advantage of the Common Milkweed blooms. I like this picture even more for the random photobombing bumblebee:

Here are the Spotted Jewelweed flowers that I've been waiting to see on these plants, even though some of the jewelweeds in these woods have seed pods already:

And I learned some new flowers today as well. This is Tall Meadow Rue, a flower that's all stamens and no petals -- and yes, the plant is quite tall:

Finally, looking at the leaves of this last plant, I was expecting it to be a kind of milkweed, but it's actually something called Indian Hemp (Apocynum cannabinum):

Hooray for new things. :)


  1. Photobombing Bumblebee = your new band.

  2. Hooray for the sneaky snake! Great shot of the butterfly and bee!