Friday, July 10, 2020

Spring and Early Summer Highlights: Part III

OK, here's one more post catching up with April, May, and June around our house!

Yet More Birds

The trail camera in the woods made several videos featuring cool birds this spring. The following video compiles a few especially exciting clips: First, some deer triggered the camera while a Barred Owl happened to be calling nearby -- I've heard a pair of Barred Owls calling individually and together a whole lot this year, and I suspect they've been nesting somewhere in the woods surrounding our property. Next is a video of a Wild Turkey foraging in the underbrush; it's always neat to see these big birds up close. Then, there's another deer-triggered video that captured a Wood Thrush's amazing song; I hear Wood Thrushes only occasionally around here, and getting to hear this song so clearly is such a treat. And finally, incredibly, there's a video of an adult Ruffed Grouse and two tiny chicks foraging at midday. I'd glimpsed Ruffed Grouse in our woods only a couple of times before, and then this family group wandered past the trail camera on three different days. I love Ruffed Grouse a whole lot, and I'm so happy to know that we have them as neighbors.

Amphibians and Others

I've known for a few years now that Gray Treefrogs live around here, and I suspect that they're fairly common, because I hear them trilling every year in May, June, and July. I'd never actually seen one of these mostly arboreal and well-camouflaged amphibians, however, until this year.... On the night of May 22, with warm temperatures and heavy rain -- wonder of wonders -- two Gray Treefrogs appeared right our front porch. Oh my goodness!

Paul was admiring these frogs with me, and he pointed out that their skin is all bumpy and mottled, a lot like a toad. But their shape is so treefrog-y, all low to the ground and spread out, and with those big round suction-cup toes.

These two treefrogs were very active -- we'd turn off the light and go inside, and then we'd look out onto the porch again a few minutes later and they'd be in entirely different spots. One of the treefrogs perched on top of our door frame, like the world's most adorable gargoyle:

The other treefrog ended up clinging to a window, which meant we got to see a treefrog belly. :)

The Gray Treefrogs were the stars of the show, but tons of other amphibians also kept showing up near our porch on that warm rainy night. This little Spring Peeper was adorable and bold:

And here's a Red Eft (juvenile Red-spotted Newt) with an American Toad hulking behind:

Amphibians are awesome!

I'll close this summary with a couple more sights. There have been many interesting insects around, but here's one that's entirely new to me: A male Glowworm Beetle (possibly Phengodes plumosa) who showed up in my garden on June 5. Apparently female Glowworm Beetles look like larvae, and both the females and the larvae are luminescent -- amazing. I'm really impressed by the antennae on this male. What a weird bug:

And finally, the Wild Lupine we planted in our meadow a few years ago put on a fantastic show in June. I love looking at these thick stands of purple and blue flowers:

Whew! OK, we're all caught up! Now onward to the rest of summer. :)

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