Saturday, July 16, 2011

Flowers Blooming and Critters Crawling in Naugatuck State Forest

Paul's parents are visiting for the weekend, and today I got to show off some of our local woods. :) First, Paul's father and I took a trip to Naugatuck State Forest in the morning, and then later in the afternoon we all trekked out to Southford Falls State Park. We saw a bunch of cool stuff -- in this post, I'll just share some highlights from the first trip, but look for another post later!

We were hoping to see birds at Naugatuck State Forest, but they were staying mostly in the treetops and out of sight. We did, however, find some other fun creatures, like this glorious Red-spotted Purple that was sunning itself in the middle of the path:

The undersides of this butterfly's wings are not as luminescent as the top, but I think they're still very pretty -- perhaps this is where the "red-spotted" part of the name comes from.

This fuzzy little Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar was crawling around next to the path:

And another of these caterpillars was performing aerial acrobatics nearby, hanging from a thread several feet above the path in the wide open air:

Of course, it wouldn't have been a woods walk without Eastern Chipmunks everywhere! Even though I see these guys all the time, I still haven't really gotten over how cute they are.

I learned some new flowers today, too. This adorable Rabbit-foot Clover (a visitor from Europe) was still bathed in dew when we found it:

This tiny flower is Indian-tobacco (Lobelia inflata), so pretty and very easy to miss:

I love this large patch of Green-headed Coneflower that we found growing on an open bank:

This thing isn't flowering right now, but it's probably one of the weirdest plants I've ever seen:

It's some sort of dodder (genus Cuscuta), a parasitic plant with no real leaves that absorbs its nutrients from the host plant it climbs all over. I love those neon-orange tendrils, thrown around haphazardly. Apparently there will be tiny flowers on this plant eventually, but not today.

Stay tuned for another post about today's adventures, featuring Southford Falls State Park (and salamanders and fungi)!


  1. What an exquisite butterfly! Such a brilliant blue! I will be keeping my out for the rabbit foot clover - just begging to be petted!

  2. Butterfly - wow! Chipmunk - really cute. Haresfoot clover is a welcome visitor from our side of pond I should think. Dodder is very cool - look forward to seeing the flowers. Mel