February 2020: Describe your walk by adding a comment below

Each time you go out and make observations for this project, describe your walk by adding a comment to this post. Include the date, distance walked, and categories that you used for this walk.

Suggested format:
Date. Place. Distance walked today. Total distance for this project.
Categories.
Brief description of the area, what you saw, what you learned, who was with you, or any other details you care to share.

Publicado por erikamitchell erikamitchell, 01 de fevereiro de 2020, 10:54 MANHÃ

Comentários

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2/1/20 East Montpelier Town Forest, Adamant, VT. 1.3 miles today
Categories: tracks, arthropods on snow

This morning I met up with one of my Saturday Morning Hike buddies for a hike through the town forest from Adamant. It was the first time through the forest for her. The snow was fairly deep, so I was on snow shoes. The two of us had a good time checking out tracks and snow arthropods. We found snow fleas, spiders,and several orange caterpillars. For tracks we found herds of turkeys, some fishers, mice, deer, snow shoe hare, ruffed grouse, coyote, and a few other mammals.

Publicado por erikamitchell 9 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/1/20 Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow, tracks

This afternoon I took my regular walk up Peck Hill. It was overcast and near 30F, so the arthropod hunting was good. I found snow fleas, some Trichocera flies, and 3 different kinds of spiders, one a new-to-me Tetragnatha.

Publicado por erikamitchell 9 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/2/20 Adamant, VT. 0.5 miles today
Categories: birds, arthropods on snow

This morning I returned to Adamant for my weekly bird walk. There were lots of cooperative birds today, including a large mixed flock of robins and cedar waxwings. They were making a mess of the highbush cranberries in the snow. I also saw a flock of American tree sparrows, I think the first time I have ever seen a group of them together. They were hanging out under the feeder across from the store. Other birds today were a purple finch, a northern cardinal, some blue jays, and a chickadee. Arthropods around the pond were a winter stonefly, an odd-black gnat with fluffy antennae, and a dragonfly skin.

Publicado por erikamitchell 9 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/2/20 Peck Hill Rd, Adamant, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

This afternoon I took another walk up Peck Hill looking for spiders. I found one, an orangish yellow one. Plus 2 Trichocera flies, another stonefly, and a snow fly. Tracks this afternoon were porcupine and ruffed grouse.

Publicado por erikamitchell 9 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/3/20 Peck Hill Rd, Adamant, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

This afternoon, I returned to Peck Hill for my spider hunt. I found 2 today, a red and black one that I've been seeing a lot, and an orange hairy one that might be a ghost spider. Also a Trichocera fly and a snow flea. And a large pile of fresh but frozen scat. As the road went up into the woods, there was a patch of bird feathers scattered about--ruffed grouse? Caught by a coyote? Very recently? I held my ruler like a rifle for the rest of the walk, in case the coyote was watching.

Publicado por erikamitchell 9 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/4/20 Peck Hill Rd, Adamant, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

This afternoon I went back up Peck Hill in hopes of finding more spiders. I found 2, both males of the orange and brown type I've been seeing, and some snow fleas. Plus 2 caddisflies hanging out near a little patch of visible grass due to a roadside stream in the ditch. I also found a set of mammal tracks.

Publicado por erikamitchell 9 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/5/20 Peck Hill Rd, Adamant, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

It was cold today when I set out for Peck Hill, low 20s and blowing. Still, I managed to find a lone snow fly, a 4-legged male. I read somewhere recently that the males often lose some of their legs during copulation. Yikes! This guy was creeping around rather slowly. I couldn't tell if his slow speed was due to the cold or his missing legs. I think maybe the cold. Some new scat today, orangish. (Sorry about the close-ups!).

Publicado por erikamitchell 9 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/6/20 Peck Hill Rd, Adamant, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

We had some new snow on the ground today, about 2-3". About time. The snow was really getting dirty. This project has given me new enthusiasm for winter and snow. I'm actually getting excited to hear a storm is coming. More snow, more bugs! A wintery mix was falling when I went out today, just lightly. Still, there were almost no bugs, even though it was plenty warm enough. I was grateful for my sole find, a Tetragnatha. She seemed to be struggling a bit, getting caught in the fluff.

Publicado por erikamitchell 9 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/6/20 Peck Hill Rd, Adamant, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

Today was a proper snowstorm, probably the biggest of the year so far. My walk time these days is right after lunch, so that put me out in the midst of the heaviest snowfall, with 4-5" already on the ground. I didn't think I'd have much luck with arthropods because the snow was falling so fast that they would just get covered right away. But still. It was certainly warm enough for them, about 30F. And while walking under some trees where the snow was a little less heavy, I found a Boreus. A half mile further along, I found a Trichocera. It paused for a photo, then flew off. Then another Trichocera, who walked away rather than flew. And 2 stoneflies. Quite a haul, even for a day without snow. No tracks today--there were a few, but they were already so covered with snow that I really couldn't guess what they were. The snow was wet and heavy, and I kept hearing branches cracking in the woods. Some folks have suggested that the spiders I see on snow are those that fell off in a storm. Well, no spiders today, despite the storm. I think the vast majority of arthropods I see on snow are there because they intend to be there. Maybe some caterpillars fall off trees. But I think even some of the caterpillars choose to crawl across the snow rather than just land there by accident.

Publicado por erikamitchell 9 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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I like discouraging the coyote by looking like you might be armed. It seems to me that spiders and most insects would be pretty able to stay in trees during storms, able to climb into small cracks where the wind is not an issue and even the branches moving around would not disturb them much. Aside from the whole branch coming down with them; I'd imagine most of the time if they land on snow they do it on purpose. Or escaping birds seems more likely than storms. Lots of things drop to the ground when I try to photograph them. I think it's a logical escape strategy.

Publicado por srall 9 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-1-20. Natirar Park, Gladstone, NJ. 2.75 miles today 715.75 miles total.
Categories: fruit, green in winter

This park is a former estate. I walked up a wooded hill along a tiny brook, then across an overgrown field, down another wooded slope, across a more recently mowed field, a lawn, along a wall and a lot of wooded riverbank, and back across the lawn to my car. There was a shed with barn swallow nests (obviously unoccupied), willowherb, watercress, pennyroyal, motherwort, virginia saxifrage, tree moss, japanese wisteria and lots more mosses and lichen that I don't know.

Publicado por srall 9 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-2-20. Watchung Reservation, Scotch Plains, NJ. 2 miles today, 717.75 miles total
Category: identifiable

My son Carl and I walked the ridge top here in this wooded county park on the top of the First Watchung "Mountain". It was not particularly diverse or interesting, but we had an interesting conversation about city planning. Things I don't see often included maple leaved viburnum fruit, pussytoes, mountain laurel, green stain fungus, and giraffe spot fungus

Publicado por srall 9 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-3-20. Old Dutch and Top of the World Ways in Warren and Green Brook, NJ. 1.75 miles today, 719.5 miles total
category: wild

I walked through this suburban development. I remember when they put it in in the 1990s. There was one little section that backed onto an old house that keeps chickens, but otherwise there was very little wild.

There were lawn mosses that I can't ID and a couple lichens on a rock that I don't know. The other interesting thing was a small, decorative hemlock shrub covered in both wooly adelgids and (even more so) hemlock scale. So much so that the scale's moldy excretions made the needles over the whole thing a much darker color than normal.

Publicado por srall 9 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-4-20. Cook Natural Area, Mercer County Park, TCNJ, in Kingston, West Windsor, and Ewing, NJ. 2.5 miles today, 722 miles total
Category: wild

Today Molly turned 21, so I drove to the college and took her out to lunch. But on the way down I stopped first at the Cook Natural Area, which was a mowed grassy road along a creek, and very slippery with mud. It must be fairly recently abandoned farmland, though some trees were over 8 inches across, because almost nothing there was not invasive. There were many mosses and some lichen I don't know, but my favorite was globular springtails on what I assume was fox scat (the right size with hair and cherry pits, on top of a rock).

Next stop was Mercer County Park, specifically at the edge of a wooded playground area on the lake, where a stream comes in. There was sweetgum here (the natural range of it seems to end just south of my house, down the hill from me), white campion in fruit (like little flasks with fringed rims, very pretty) and climbing hempvine, plus an aquatic plant I think might be Najas sp. water nymph.

After lunch Molly walked me around the campus so she could point at trees and shrubs and check what they were with me. She knew about 80% of them, except for Kousa dogwood and Zelkova (and she forgot the name of ginkgo). But I was looking mostly at the weeds and found groundsel, dandelion, bittercress and whitlow grass all blooming. That's over a month early for the bittercress and whitlow grass. We've had a really mild winter.

Publicado por srall 9 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-5-20. Lord Stirling Park, Basking Ridge, NJ. 1.5 miles today, 723.5 miles total
category: wild

I walked this wooded swampy trail along a river that I have never walked before. I've been to the park many times but never realized there was a 1.5 mile trail across the street. Interesting finds included maleberry, spotted wintergreen, beechdrops, highbush and blue ridge (probably) blueberries, clethra, fetterbush, and two tail feathers from what looked to me like a downy woodpecker.

Publicado por srall 9 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/8/20. North Calais, VT and Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 4 miles today
categories: scenic, tracks

This morning I drove to North Calais to meet up with my hiking buddies (5) for our weekly walk. We intended to hike Hayden Rd, but it's class 4 and only plowed to the first driveway. We decided to turn around when we came to the deep unplowed snow since only some of us had tall boots. Instead of Hayden, we walked a loop around North Calais. The weather was spectacularly scenic after yesterday's storm, very, very clear and brilliant blue skies, but rather cold (10F). Several of us hunted for arthropods, but no luck. No tracks near the road either. And it was even hard to recognize the trees from photos because of the snow loading. Still, I shot some white pines that perhaps Charlie can confirm.

When I got back from the walk, I headed up Peck Hill to verify that there were no bugs on the snow. Nope, no bugs. Too cold for them. I managed to find a few tracks, though, ruffed grouse, deer mouse, and snowshoe hare. Not deer, though. All the tracks I saw were surface critters. Maybe the heavier beasts are avoiding the deep stuff for a while.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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I like your idea about spiders dropping from branches to avoid predators. That makes more sense than getting blown off. Still, there's the temperature factor. They're hardier than many people think. But there are limits below which you just don't find them. And when you do find them, they're crawling. If they're dropping on purpose to avoid predators, they must only drop when it's warm enough for them to crawl once they land on the snow.

Glad you found some springtails! THAT was an accomplishment, without snow. It's hard to believe that you're having a warm winter. I guess we are, too, since it hasn't been truly cold much. But we've certainly had snow.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-8-20. Basilone and Duke Farms Parks, Raritan and Hillsborough, NJ. 2 miles today, 725.5 miles total
Category: wild

Today Katie and I parked in Raritan and walked along a brand new bike trail (across a very old metal trestle bridge) to the back entrance to Duke Farms, as someone had suggested checking out a pretty bridge there. The bridge is in a Japanese style meditation garden, that even in February with no snow was lovely. Even lovelier in my opinion was a sheltered spot with actual blooming snowdrops. They were not wide open, but clearly beyond just budding. I've not seen them earlier than the second half of February before.

Otherwise interesting things included lots of moss I don't know, a big flock of pretty tame robins, poison hemlock, stinging nettle, teasel, coralberry, steeplebush, virgin's bower, sheep sorrel, and a lovely gilled mushroom.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/9/20. Adamant, VT & Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 3 miles today
Categories: birds, snow-laden

This morning I dilly-dallyied a while waiting to get into positive territory. Finally, around 10AM, the thermometer read +1 so I headed down into Adamant for my bird walk. There were at least half a dozen blue jays under the feeder across from the store, and several chickadees as well. A little further along was a flock of American tree sparrows at the other feeder. No sign of the robins that had been in the marsh last week. It was a lot warmer then. Of course, no sign of arthropods on snow, either. I've been noting that recognizing trees that are covered with snow is a bit harder than I thought. So I also added some white pine photos, laden with snow.

By the afternoon, the temperature had warmed up considerably, into the 20sF. Warm enough for arthropods, except the temperature of the snow lags far behind the air temperature. So no arthropods. But I did find some snowshoe hare and deer tracks.

Snow drops? Yes, we have them, too. But not the blooming kind!

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/10/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

Great bug hunting weather today, temperatures in the upper 20s and snowing. But I had to go out for my walk early because of errands. Still, I managed to find a spider and a Boreus. They both seemed quite content with the weather conditions.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/11/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

Another good day for bugs, warm (30F) with light snow. I went around mid-day and found a goodly selection of spiders, including 2 Tetragnathas very close together right at the turn around of my trail. I also found some snow fleas and a fly.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/12/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

And yet another great hunting day. I thought at first it was almost too warm, 38F and sunny. When I found my first spider, it was moving so fast I nearly lost it before I got some good photos. But while it was running, it led me to the winter firefly, which was sunning on a south facing bank, the first firefly of the year for me. The snow fleas were out in abundance, and then I found what I'll have to call a fur fly, based on its antenna. No luck finding a proper scientific or common name for it yet. As the afternoon cooled off a bit, I found 3 different species of stoneflies. I wish I could find some source for identifying stoneflies.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/13/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

I delighted in new snow today, falling fast, with warm (30F) temperatures. I think that's the best aspect of this project--whatever falls from the sky, it's all good. New snow makes the arthropods easier to see. And I can't wait to get outside to see them. Today I found another fur fly, then 2 Tetragnatha spiders. One of the best places for hunting seems to be the edge between the steep south facing forested slope and the flat farm field. In one spot, I found a winter scorpionfly, a snowflea, and a snow fly.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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Winter scorpionfly? wow. I have a thing for scorpionflies, but I hardly ever see them. You make me very aware of our lack of snow (though I'm still happy not to be shoveling, so I'm not sure I can say I miss it...)

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-9-20. Wickecheoke Creek Preserve and Prallsville Mills, Delaware Twp., NJ. 2 miles today, 727.5 miles total
Category: identifiable

I have been taking photos of bridges (and waterfalls and graffiti) while I'm out walking, and I've been posting them on Facebook. A friend asked if I'd been out to the only historic covered bridge left in NJ (I hadn't). So Sunday I headed out there (it's about 45 minutes away). I checked out the bridge, then drove up the creek further into the preserve here and walked down a feeder brook and then through a field, then I drove down the creek to a pretty truss bridge and walked the field there, and finally headed to the creek mouth at a restored mill where I mostly just found weeds (and a pretty bridge over a weir). The last is on a section of the Delaware Raritan Canal that I'd never visited. All in all a fun day, and the weather was lovely.

Unusual things I found included: trumpet creeper fruit, fragrant sumac buds, greater celandine, organ pipe mud dauber nests in the roof of the bridge, and a whole field of blooming winter aconite! Earliest I've seen it.

By the feeder brook were a jumpseed still with fruit on it (I've not seen it since November), American tree mos, woodland stonecrop, brook stippleback lichen, and I finally figured out what tree skirt moss's Latin name is.

By the second bridge I found a winter stonefly walking up a tree. There was a pair of white ducks in the brook, the leaves of some spring ephemeral that I can't remember the name of, and a winterberry that turned out to be the smooth one (I finally took enough clear, close photos to get it to species).

Down by the mill I found wingstem and ivy leaved speedwell.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/14/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow, tracks

Today the temperature was 5F when I went out, so I didn't expect to find any arthropods. Still, I walked my route anyway, just to be very sure they weren't there. Along the way, I found some squirrel and snowshoe hare tracks. I haven't seen any deer tracks for a while, which is surprising. And then, almost as I got back, I spotted a green Tetragnatha viridis spider on the snow. Not moving, keeled over on its side, but still, not covered by snow. They aren't supposed to be there when it's this cold, but in my (limited) experience, out of all the arthropods, T. viridis is what is most common on the very coldest days.

I've been enjoying your bridge photos. What a terrific project! The winter stonefly was a great find, even not on snow. And the Stigmella villosella--wow!

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/14/20. Emslie Trails and Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT 4 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow, tracks, icy needles

This morning I met up with 2 friends for our weekly hike. When I left the house, it was -11F, but by the end of our walk it had warmed up to + digits. We walked a loop following the VAST trail through the woods. Quite scenic. We only had to clear the trail once for snowmobilers. We admired the iced up pine needles over the mostly frozen waterfall, and also found some cedar needles in all iced up over a seep. We found what I think were snowshoe hare tracks and some deer tracks.

After our walk, I headed up Peck Hill, just to be sure there were no spiders. Sure enough, I found one! This one was quite alive and crawling across the snow. Even though the air temperature at 1.5m was 15F, down on the snow surface, with the bright sun hitting the steep south facing slope, the snow surface temperature was 30F. And that's what matters to the spider. Plenty warm! I also found a cherry tree that is getting picked to pieces by a pileated woodpecker.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-10-20. Watchung Reservation near Sky Top, Scotch Plains, NJ. 1.75 miles today, 729.25 miles total
Category: identifiable

Today I parked at a turn off near what used to be a picnic area (but is now rarely used) and followed a trail through the woods , downhill through a pine and spruce wood that I think was probably a CCC project and is now nearly entirely dead, then back up the hill and along the crest, crossed a road and came back on the other side of the crest of the hill. In woods the whole way. The trail was muddy and sometimes slippery, but not too bad.

There were lots of mosses and fungi that I don't know the names of (and a few I do), indian pipes, linden viburnum. Lots of the familiar trees and bits of green that I've been seeing in these woods all winter.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/16/20. Adamant, Vt. 1 mile today
Category: birds

This morning I took my weekly bird walk in Adamant. Not many birds about, except for at least a dozen blue jays and about as many chickadees. I caught one chickadee eating frozen apples. A dog walker reported there was a porcupine a ways up the road. She was very glad that her dog was on its leash. Otherwise, it might have had the infamous porcupine lesson. I didn't feel in the mood for walking up the road to chase the porcupine, but I did manage to find a red squirrel.

A dead pine and spruce wood? Well, that has some potential interest...what grows in a dead planted woods?

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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I've never seen a porcupine (or a red squirrel) and would love to.

Not much grows in that dead pine wood: bittersweet, wineberry, blackberry, japanese stiltgrass, a little moss, a few fungi on the bark, bark beetles.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-11-20. Bridgewater Promenade, Finderne, NJ. 1.25 miles today, 730.5 miles total.
Category: identifiable

It was drizzling and about 40 degrees and I had errands to run. But I took some time out to walk a dirt road I'd spotted behind the strip mall. It was soggy. I assume this was "wetlands' which is why it wasn't built up, though it was pretty trashy. But that morning Sandy Wolkenberg had asked how to tell silver from red maples at this time of year, and here there were one of each right next to one another. So I waded through the underbrush to take photos only to then notice that it was pretty much entirely made up of waist-high poison ivy plants. Thank goodness for winter clothing; I didn't get a single welt.

Interesting finds included possible tent caterpillar eggs, a robin bathing in a puddle (despite the fact that it was raining), dog rose, some interesting fungi, moss, and lichens I don't know, shepherd's purse, carolina geranium, and a blooming bittercress that I suspect was nursery.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-12-20. Stoney Brook, Watchung, NJ. 1.75 miles today, 732.25 miles total
Category: identifiable.

today was lovely; dry and 40s. I parked by the dam that holds back Watchung Lake along Stoney Brook, which meant walking in the middle of the traffic circle here, which I've driven around for 28 years but never set foot inside of before. The only thing (other than a brook) here is a gas station (okay, I've gotten gas there before) and a historic building that has what I always assumed was an outhouse in the backyard. However, the side away from the street has a big window in it, so it must have been a remarkably scenic (and awkward to use) outhouse! more likely a shed. I continued down stream to the police station (well across the street from it) where there are falls that I've heard called Buttermilk Falls. But the falls in the next "gap" west are also called Buttermilk Falls, so who knows. Back up river and east on a tributary to the dam that holds back Best Lake, and back to my car.

Interesting finds included: a Stigmatella mine in a dewberry, an autumn clematis, hemlock adelgids and scale, what I'm pretty sure was black ash, a bittersweet that had tied itself into a noose at about eye level (thankfully much too small a one to snag unwary passersby), and both groundsel and dandelion in bloom.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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I need to take a look at your red and silver maple photos. The only way I can tell them apart is by habitat. We basically only see silver maples around here beside water or planted.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/16/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

This afternoon I walked up Peck Hill in search of bugs. At first, I hardly found any. Just a lone Tetragnatha not moving on a snow bank, together with some snow fleas. Up at the turn-around, my luck changed. I found another Tetragnatha, this one moving, and a Diasima fly (what I have been calling fur flies, but they are actually snow midges). Then back down the hill again, where I found several more Tetragnatha spiders, some moving, some frozen. All the Tetragnatha appeared to be the same species today. Then, towards the end of the route, lots of flies, several more snow midges, an acalyptrate fly, another midge, and a Trichocera. A good haul for the day!

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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The only definitive difference is fringe on the bud scales. But here in February silver buds are much larger than red because they bloom at least two weeks earlier. Generally the main way I tell them apart is the leaf litter. And if I find one in a dry location (not planted) then it's going to be red, right on the edge of a waterway will usually be silver. But most of the time habitat doesn't help me; they both like wet.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-14-20. Washington Valley Park, Martinsville, NJ. 0.5 miles today, 732.75 miles total
Categories: fungi, moss

I was on duty with the rescue squad today, so I parked in the main lot in this wooded park and intended to walk out five minutes and back five minutes down each of the paths here. I made it 13 minutes before I got a call. But I saw a green stain fungus and some tree moss, neither of which I'd seen here before, so that was neat.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-16-20. Fort Wadsworth, Eibs Pond, and Deere Park in Staten Island, NY. 2.5 miles today, 735.25 miles total.
Category: identifiable

Both Susan Hewitt and Sandy Wolkenburg messaged me this weekend and asked about my plans for the City Nature Challenge in April. I will probably host two walks, so I wanted to go check out more possible walk locations on Staten Island.

First was Fort Wadsworth which is right under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, and is part of Gateway National Recreation Area. I walked by the visitor's center (mostly to use the restroom) and found both bittercress and speedwell in bloom. Very early yet for both.

I drove down a bit near the beach and walked out to the water and back. There's not much a dune system here, but I found some beach grass. Mostly I found shells: slipper, blue mussel, surf clam, soft shell clam, razor clam, quahog, jingle, mud snail, sharkeye, an angelwing with a cool worm tube inside, horseshoe crab shells, a very worn whelk type shell covered in holes from boring bryozoans. On the way back up from the beach I found purple deadnettle in bloom.

Next I stopped at the scenic overlook here (which has a lovely view of the city and also of more crumbling buildings) but the best part was the crumbling fort wall by the parking lot. There I found smooth cliff brake (a NY threatened species) and a fern that I assumed was ebony spleenwort but most definitely is not. (maybe Bradley's? I'm terrible with ferns and it's a bit out of range). If I'm right both those species are quite rare (though I'm not the first to post the cliff brake from here).

After that I drove over to Eibs Pond Park. It's in a kind of iffy neighborhood and I was a little leery about setting off alone into the underbrush, but down the second path I tried I found a friendly Hispanic couple who wanted to tell me all about how wonderful the park is. And it was very pretty. Plus I found swamp loosestrife, cottonwood, swamp milkweed, winged (I think ) sumac, and a narrow-winged mantis ootheca.

After that I drove past both Silver and Clove Lake parks but did not get out. Silver is rather too groomed to look like a good choice, and the park service always does a walk at Clove for the City Nature Challenge, so I skipped both and instead got out at Deere Park.

On the way in to the island that morning, driving the Staten Island Expressway, I'd spotted an outcropping of what I'm pretty sure was serpentine. This was the closest blazed path I could find to the area, but though I passed a few green rocks this park was your basic upland forest and not terribly interesting. A lovey walk, though, and I found pinxter flower which I rarely see at home.

On the way home I drove by Reed's Basket Willow Park, which looks very promising but is in a rabbit warren of the most enormous and expensive houses on Staten Island, and right next door to the largest mansion-abandoned-during-construction I've ever seen. My leg was sore and I did not have much time so I didn't get out.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-17-20. Watchung Reservation, Mountainside, NJ. 1.75 miles today, 737 miles total
Category: identifiable.

Katie and I walked through these steep and muddy woods, mostly on trails I'd never walked before. We'd often hit a patch with a 4-foot section of boardwalk with 6 feet of mud at either end, wondering what the point of that boardwalk was. But it was a beautiful day, 50 and sunny. I've never seen so many people in this park, at least not in February.

Interesting finds included seedbox, beechdrops, American wintergreen, a lichen I don't remember seeing before, hemlock with adelgids, and a witchhazel with a few withered petals I assume are left over from December (rather than blooming now as the fancy ones do). There were also a lot of beech trees with initials carved from the early 1970s when I went to camp here (though I was too young to carve up trees).

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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Great finds on those ferns! It's always worth checking crumbling walls for ferns. Some ferns really go for that sort of location. And I can't believe all those great shells--what a great area to explore during the City Nature challenge. No City Nature challenge in Vermont in April. We'll probably still be covered with snow.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/17/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

I went for my walk up Peck Hill early this morning since I had errands in the afternoon. The temperature was in the low 20s F. The brown Tetragnatha spiders were swarming. Well, not exactly crawling all over the place, but on my 2 mile walk, I found 3 live ones and 1 shriveled up and moldy. Plus a snow midge and a snow fly, and some ruffed grouse tracks, the first since our big snow storm last week. I also found another large snow flea, with a red head and yellow legs.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-18-20. Hoffheimer Trail, Warren, NJ. 1.0 mile today, 738 miles total
Category: moss and fungi

I've walked this wooded trail many times so did not expect to find much new (especially since it's February) and indeed all I found of interest were some mosses I can't ID. Very much looking forward to spring.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/18/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

Today was colder than it looked. I guess that's because it was humid and windy. We had a few inches of snow in the morning. By the afternoon when I went out, the snow was tapering off, but the wind was picking up. It really seemed like I was going to find no arthropods today. And then, just as I was finishing up, a micro moth appeared at my feet, slowly shuffling along. My first Lep of the year! Followed closely by a spider all curled up and smooshed in some tire tracks.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-19-20. Lincoln Ave. Park, Manville, NJ. 1.0 mile today, 739 mile total
Category: every 100 (or so ) steps

I walked today at this sunny park (along the river) that I've never been to before. At first glance it looked like mown lawn, then mugwort, then a strip of poison ivy covered silver maples. It wasn't, in fact, a whole lot more complex than that, but it was still a nice walk. I'd forgotten to bring my camera, so I was using iNat on my phone, which is much slower (with lower picture quality) than my camera. And as I had to upload each photo, I decided to walk a bit while each was being processed and so ended up taking a photo about every 50-100 steps. But at the very start there was blooming groundsel and tons of whilowgrass in flower, even some with fruit. The silver maples were also blooming. And I found cocklebur (usually this is a seaside plant here), and what I think was cursed crowfoot along with a water starwort.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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Wow! silver maples in bloom? In February? Simply mind boggling!

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/19/20. Guthrie Ave, Kingston, ON. 0.7 miles today
Categories: trees

I'm on a road trip with my husband to Toronto. We are spending the night in Kingston, ON. Right after we arrived here in Kingston, we went out for a walk before the sun set. There is plenty of snow, so we went searching for snow spiders. No luck. Not even a single snow flea in the sun. Much more important than temperature ranges is the habitat. First, you must have good habitat. Then worry about the weather. With no arthropods to look at, we collected a few trees: a black cherry, a white ash (dying?), some staghorn sumac, and a brave little mullein growing through a residential stonewall by the sidewalk.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-20-20. Ellsworth Dr. Warren, NJ. 1.25 miles today, 740.25 miles total
Category: every 100 paces

I walked this development from the 1990s today, stopping about every 100 steps to find something to take a photo of. Sometimes I had to go another 100 before I found something identifiable and not planted. But it was fun and challenging. There was a forsythia bush with a single bloom open on it. I think I found an old potter wasp "pot". Carolina horsenettle and Japanese angelica tree were unexpected as well.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/21/20. College Park, Toronto, ON. 1.4 miles today
Category: wild

After our meetings got out this afternoon, I went for a walk with my husband in the park behind our building. For an urban center, it's a lovely little park with a free ice skating rink, a little bit of grass, and some small planted trees and shrubs. We also walked a block or so towards Allen Gardens (but didn't quite get there). I searched for anything not planted, like a weed. I found a couple of weeds growing in a seam in the pavement, but they were too far gone for me to recognize. Lots of dog poop, but no coyote scat. We managed to chase down a few pigeons and I found an oakleaf with oak shothole leaf holes. I'll try again tomorrow to find a weed or something wild and green. We checked every mound of snow for spiders, but found just grime, cigarette butts, and more dog poop.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/22/20. Allan Gardens, Toronto, ON. 1.2 miles today
Category: wild

This afternoon I went on a walk with my husband to the Allan Gardens. Before going, I checked the ratings online and found lots of comments that the place was full of homeless people and humanure. That almost deterred us from visiting. Fortunately, we went anyway. There was one obviously homeless person inside the conservatory buildings and no humanure--there are public restrooms. I've spent some time in Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, the United States Botanical Garden in DC, and a few other large greenhouses. This place was odd in comparison. Nice that it was free. But it is lacking...funding...leadership...organization? Hard to say what. Signage was limited. The large specimens were interesting, some were labelled, but they were surrounded by huge random clumps of bedding plants, impatiens, daffodils, amaryllises, etc. The daffodils were obviously being plucked by the bulb as souvenirs. I went searching for weeds and insects, and found a few, some moss, some ants, aphids, and a mature tiger swallowtail that the docents assured me was not supposed to be there. On our walk to and from the Gardens, we found a squirrel, some house sparrows, and some pigeons.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/23/20. Bondhead Parkette, Newcastle, ON. 0.2 miles today
Category: wild

This morning we headed back to Vermont. On our way, we pulled off the 401 to see Lake Ontario. We stopped at the Bondhead Parkette, described on its website as a parking lot beside the lake. Perfect for a quick stop! The lot was full of fishermen in camo (so as not to scare the fish?). But we got a nice parking space 20' from the water. We saw lots of birds, including mostly mallards and Canada geese, but also a few gulls and a pair of swans. There wasn't much besides planted grass between the parking lot and the beach, but I found some biting stonecrop right at the parking barriers.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/25/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

This afternoon I made my first trip up Peck Hill in almost a week. It's warm! Over 45F today, with lots of snow melting. And raining. I managed to find 2 arthropods on the snow today, both snow midges. We've still got plenty of snow on the ground, even with several days of melting. From here to Toronto, we have the most snow left, by far. With more arriving later this week, I don't think I'll run out of snow for the arthropods anytime soon..

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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I like the fisherman in camo for the fish. How strange to simply steal daffodils from a public garden (though my mother has been known to steal seeds from plants in fruit at public gardens now that I think of it). I was looking at snowpack temperatures in VT and up there in the northern kingdom you've been pretty darn steadily cold for a pretty long time now. Here in NJ I can't remember a milder winter.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-22-20. Elephant Beach, Margate, NJ. 0.25 miles today, 740.5 miles total.
Category: shells

Today was my husband's annual birthday plunge in the Atlantic. There were 23 of us there to watch him this time, and I went in up to my knees. The ocean was record-settingly warm at 42 degrees F. But while we were waiting for everyone to get organized, Molly and I looked for shells and found: surf clam, scallop, oyster, horseshoe crab, blood arc, jingle, moon snail, and blue crab, and some weird ropy looking plant.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-24-20. Delaware and Raritan Canal, Franklin and Rocky Hill, NJ. 1.25 miles today, 741.75 miles total
Category: wild

Molly was home to jump in the water with chuck, then headed back to school, but managed to leave her physics textbook and all her homework in her bedroom. So Monday I drove halfway down to her to hand it off. But in the meantime I walked along the canal. The first place I stopped was so not biodiverse that I resorted to walking 100 steps and then taking a picture, over and over. River birch was the only interesting item.

I didn't have much time so I drove down a bit to the next parking area, in Rocky Hill. It was packed with cars, but I squeezed in. Again not a lot of variety, but I worked my way off the path (through the poison ivy) to take a photo of the bridge and on the way found the largest freshwater mussel shells I've ever seen. They were as large as the largest surf or quahog shells I've found at the beach (but much thinner). Amazing.

I worked my way back to the path and read the signs about the ruined buildings in the area, then followed some stairs up a trail to a little wooded hillock between the road and the parking lot. And came round the corner to find a couple in flagrente delicto. Outside, in February! (granted it was in the 50s and sunny, but still...) I turned right around to head back and immediately spotted fasciated Chinese bush clover plants. Well, I had to stop to take some pictures, but was careful to keep my back to the couple (who were about 50 yards up the trail). After that I left.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/26/20. Montpelier, VT. 2 miles today
Category: arthropods on snow

Errands kept me in town today instead of hiking Peck Hill. Nevertheless, to my surprise, I found several arthropods on snow right in downtown Montpelier. Despite being a city, the habitat must be right. And there was plenty of snow. My first find of the day was a frozen and thawed quite dead western seed bug. But it was on the surface so it probably got there within the week. Then I came across my own couple in flagrente delicto, right on Main St in Montpelier, but they had 12 legs between the 2 of them, so no one else on the street even noticed and I took several photos. A pair of winter stoneflies, skittering across the surface of the snow. A bit further along I found a single winter stonefly.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/27/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Category: arthropods on snow

We had steady rain all morning. By afternoon, the rain turned into snow. I had no idea if I would find anything at all on my bug walk. It was warm enough for bugs, but what would their reaction to the rain be? As it turned out, I logged 42 arthropods on my route! There might have been more, but by the time I finally finished, it was so dark I was using a flashlight. I found 13 snow midges, both male (fluffy antennae) and female (straight antennae), 3 acalyptrate flies (same species?), and 1 snow fly (Chionea spp.). Then there were 6 winter stone flies (at least 2 species), 15 spiders (9 species), a caterpillar, and a big honking caddisfly (which was quite after dark). All of the arthropods were alive and lively, with the exception of one spider that revived when I picked it up. What a haul--I can't wait for more rainy days! I wonder if the rain forced them from their refuges, or enticed them.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/28/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Category: arthropods on snow

This afternoon the weather was "better". No snow, a little sun, a little wind. And hardly any bugs. I found live single snow midge on my route, and a single dead one. No spiders. No stone flies. Better luck tomorrow, I hope.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2/29/20. County Rd Trails, East Montpelier, VT. 1.4 miles today
Category: arthropods on snow

This morning I met up with my hiking buddies (6) for our Saturday morning hike. We met at a friend's house and then walked down County Rd a short ways to the trail head with our snow shoes. Snow shoes were a definite necessity to avoid post-holing through more than knee-deep snow across the fields. As we walked to the trail head I began to feel tired. Then when we headed up the trail on snow shoes my legs got heavier and heavier. By the time I realized I needed to turn around I couldn't summon the strength to shout "Hey, I'm heading back." I just stood still and waved my fingers. Finally one person saw me. She recognized immediately what was going on from last year, and one person accompanied me on the slow walk back. With one short detour 5' off the path for a snow spider, we eventually got back to the road and then my friend walked ahead so she could give me a ride back to my car. I think the culprit this time was chocolate, a food which used to be perfectly OK until Sunday, when I ate too much. So now I think I need to start following the rotation diet system so that I don't lose any more foods. No idea yet if I'll be able to walk tomorrow--probably not.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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Oh, geeze, Erika, that sucks! I hope the weakness/soreness/inflammation is short-lived this time. I'm glad you were hiking with friends who could help some. And how very like the both of us to be feeling poorly and still take a little detour to photograph something interesting!

I wonder what it was with the rain. I've heard that snow can be very dry, as far as insects are concerned, maybe everything was in search of the moisture, or just more able to be mobile because there was more moisture? Or that plus overcast skies? It seems such a poor survival strategy for so many different kinds of things to be knocked to the ground by something as common as rain, but then again, a raindrop is pretty huge and strong compared to a little arthropod. Hmm....

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-26-20. Ridge and Mundy Rds, Warren, NJ. 0.75 miles today, 742.5 miles total
Category: every 100 steps

I didn't have much time to walk today so went up the dead-end road across from me. I've walked here zillions of times so I just looked for something to photograph every 100 steps. and halfway along my battery died. I did find one lichen I'm not sure of the ID of, but that was it.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-27-20. Stangle Lane, Warren, NJ. 1.0 mile today, 743.5 miles total
Category: every 100 steps.

This was a new road for me to walk along, with some overgrown sections, but mostly houses. As I drove up there was a whole flock of black vultures eating something in the road, but by the time I got back down to where they'd been I didn't see a corpse, perhaps it was small, like a squirrel, and they carried it off with them.

Something had stashed a dead squirrel halfway in a tree hole (at least I assume it was stashed there, it did not look tight enough for him to have gotten stuck and died). But I have no idea what would do that. Other unsual finds included a hazel, early winter cress (not blooming yet) and pennyroyal, plus some Pachysandra with leaf spots that turned out to probably be alfalfa mosaic virus, the first record of it on iNat.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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2-29-20. Clay Pit Ponds, Conference House, Princes Bay, and Mt. Loretto, in Staten Island, NY. 1.75 miles today, 745.25 miles total
Category: whatever caught my eye

I spent the early afternoon checking out potential places to walk for the upcoming City Nature Challeng on Staten Island. First stop was the back side of Clay Pit Ponds State Park. I've been to the front end before, but this section was much prettier, with wooded ravines, unfortunately ravaged by deer. The most interesting thing I found was a stray chunk of eastern prickly pear cactus.

Next I stopped at Conference House, mostly to use the restroom, but I took a different path than I've tried before, down to the beach. The coolest thing here was a sandbur, I think beach sandbur. I must have brushed up against it without knowing, because hours later back at home, I went to put my feet up on the recliner and something pricked the back of my leg. It was one of these burs. I pulled it off and showed it to Becca, who must have then set it down on the living room table, as today I was cleaning and set my hand on the table and the dang bur stuck in me right at the base of my thumb, and now I've got a rash. Not my favorite plant, I have to say, but very cool nonetheless.

Next stop was a dock on the beach at Prince's Bay, where I saw brants, black ducks, and ring billed and herring gulls. I also found a number of shells and the most red beard sponge I've ever seen in one spot.

Final walk was at Mt. Loretto Unique Area, where I looked up at a "vulture" soaring only to realize it had wide wings and was kind of flappy...and a white tail, and a white head... it was a bald eagle and there was no one around to point it out to. Other than that the most interesting thing was some cut-leaved blackberry.

I drove past several other spots but did not get out, but did choose one of them for one of this year's walks.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)

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