Saturday, May 20, 2017

Mid-May Birds, Bugs, and Flowers

Happy May! I've been doing a lot of wandering outside recently, and there's been so much to see. It certainly is a lively time of year! Here are some assorted sights from the past couple of weeks.

On May 10, during a visit to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Sapsucker Woods, I was happy to see a Brown Creeper alternately foraging along tree trunks and singing his sweet song:

And an Ovenbird was singing (loudly!) from his perch close to the path:

The following day (May 11), I spent some time exploring the paths along fields near our house. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to wander, because it's so close and it seems to always have interesting creatures around. (Bobolinks! Orioles! Warblers singing in the woods!) Plus, the scenery is amazing; I love all the spring colors on the surrounding hillsides:

This male Baltimore Oriole spent several minutes busily feeding among apple blossoms:

I'm still super impressed by the deep orange breast on this fellow:

And the view from underneath was brilliant indeed!

I also love the orange-glowing-through-black effect on the back of this guy's neck when he stretched:

Several Cabbage White butterflies were flying after each other in a nearby field, making a weird swirling swarm that looked more like the result of a computer algorithm than anything I'm used to seeing in nature:

A brilliant Six-spotted Tiger Beetle was hanging out on a bare patch in the path:

When I looked at this beetle from the front, I thought at first that it was munching on something; but no, the bulging white and brown things on the front if its face are just its huge mandibles. I definitely wouldn't want to be a smaller bug with this fast and powerful hunter around:

A few days later (May 14), I was in Maryland visiting my family for a few days, and the wonderfully colorful wildlife sightings continued with a male Scarlet Tanager (a female was nearby as well, but she was even less willing to pose for pictures than the male was):

Back home in Central New York, I went for a walk at the Roy H. Park Preserve late yesterday afternoon, where the fields are filling out with new-spring-green leaves:

And the dark coniferous woods are now speckled with pale green as well:

I wandered down into a small gorge to find the loveliest little stream:

All sorts of wildflowers were blooming in these woods, including dainty Starflower (Lysimachia borealis):

Tufts of floating Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia):

And several Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum), which I don't think I've ever seen in person before; this flower was such a wonderful surprise:

Lady slipper leaves were sprouting up nearby. I didn't see any flower buds, but I'll be sure to come back and visit these plants in a few weeks in case any blossoms do make an appearance:

It's been quite an eventful spring so far. And it's not over yet!

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