August 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.
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 agosto de 2020, 03:38 TARDE



8/1/20. Lightening Ridge Rd, Calais VT, 0.2 miles today
Categories: birds, road kill
This morning I walked along Lightening Ridge Rd in search of birds. Unfortunately, I forgot to check my camera battery before I left home, and I also forgot my spare battery. I had just gotten started when the battery in my camera blinked out, so I ended up turning around almost right after I started. Nevertheless, I found an indigo bunting, some chickadees, some song sparrows, some yellowthroats, and a mysterious warbler that is probably not so mysterious to someone who really knows birds. This one was greenish yellow on top and light on the bottom with an eye ring and wing bars. I wonder if it’s actually a female blue-headed vireo. Road kill was a frog/toad and very large, very fresh garter snake.

8/1/20. #10 Pond, Calais VT, 1.8 miles today
Categories: bees, birds, road kill

Later in the morning I went out to #10 Pond to meet up with our Saturday morning hiking group. Except, I was the only one to show up. Still, I had a very pleasant walk around the edge of the pond. On my way back, I did the loop around the end of the pond through North Calais village to check out the gardens and invasive plants there to see what might be attracting bees. There were extremely few birds around the pond, especially mid-morning. Oddly, even though this is a pond, bird life here is quite sparse. I did see the loon on the pond, heard 8 red-eyed vireos, and saw a single song sparrow. Down in the village, I saw a robin, and then when I was standing beside a roadside flower garden checking the echinacea for bees, a hummer came right up beside me to inspect the bee balm. That was a thrill! It nearly made up for getting scolded for not wearing a mask. That happened as I walked the dirt road around the end of the pond on G.A.R. road. A beat-up cabin there got sold recently to some out of state folks who put a sign up on it that says “Magic Mirror Lake”. Mirror Lake is the state’s official name for the pond, but locals continue to call it #10 Pond. The new owners of the cabin don’t like the fact that locals keep coming by to swim at the tiny clearing across the road from their pond, as they have for generations. This morning as I walked by the cabin by myself, a bandana around my neck and mask in my pocket in case I actually encountered anyone else on the road, I noted huge piles of junk beside the cabin—apparently, the owners are ditching everything that was indoors. Just then, a woman came out of the cabin, 50’ away growling. She muttered under her breath, “I thought everyone was supposed to be wearing masks today.” Maybe she’s just bitter about vandalism to the cabin over the winter. Or maybe just a bitter person in general. Perhaps the woman lives in a state that has a much more strictly worded mask mandate. I guess I am a little more appreciative of the governor’s wording of the mask mandate that goes into effect today, which says that people must wear masks if they cannot avoid being 6’ away from others, but they don’t have to wear them while exercising outdoors. I thought I was strict about mask wearing, but I guess not strict enough for everyone. In any case, I was quite successful in my bee hunt, finding masked bees on Queen Anne’s lace, honeybees and bumblebees on those blue prickly pointed flowers, and lots of sweat bees and lasioglossum on fleabane. Lots of road kill around the pond: frog/toads, 2 small turtles, a small garter snake, and a short-tailed shrew.

Publicado por erikamitchell 3 meses antes (Sinalizar)

8/2/20 Marshfield Pond, Marshfield VT, 3 miles today
Categories: insects, birds, roadkill

I skipped my morning walk this morning because we kept having rain showers. In the afternoon I drove out to Marshfield Pond with my husband. While he rode up and down the old railroad bed that pretends to be a road on his unicycle, I did a combination bee and bird walk. Except, it was cloudy and barely 70F. The only bees out were a few bumbles. And most of the birds were asleep. I managed to shoot some cedar waxwings, a song sparrow, and a robin. I also found common eastern and tricolored bumblebees, plus a few wasps. The road kill, on the other hand, was quite plentiful, mostly toads, with a perhaps a flattened frog and a very flat garter snake.

Publicado por erikamitchell 3 meses antes (Sinalizar)

8/3/20. Lightening Ridge Rd, Calais VT
Categories: birds, roadkill
This morning I took a walk along Lightening Ridge Rd looking and listening for birds. The birds are markedly quieter now than they were just a few days ago. I didn’t even get 20 species for my ebird list, when just last week I had a day when I got 40. Birds that I saw included blue jays, song sparrows, and chickadees. The road kill today was light, just a single frog.

8/3/20. East Montpelier Town Trails, East Montpelier, VT
Categories: surprises
This afternoon I took my weather stations out along the East Montpelier trails in search of a sedge meadow and a hemlock forest. I wanted to collect some temperature and humidity profiles from these community types. I haven’t been to the sedge meadow in a few years, and my recollections of how to get there were hazy. The trail system is extremely confusing, even for someone who walks the trails often. In any case, the first trail I tried took me into a cornfield. Which was fine, since I also want to collect some weather data from anthropogenic habitats, and an industrial cornfield was on my list. After I left the cornfield, I took the next trail off to the right and found the sedge meadow. By the time I collected my data there, I was out of time, so I’ll return some other day to visit the hemlock forest. I found several dragonflies today, including some white-faces and spreadwings. At the sedge meadow I found some water hemlock and an emergent water plant that I didn’t recognize at all with tiny buds and no leaves, sort of rush-like but it appeared to be a dicot. I also found several tiny, tiny spring peepers, less than ½” long.

Publicado por erikamitchell 3 meses antes (Sinalizar)

8/5/20. Tucker Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: birds, caterpillars

I skipped my bird walk yesterday due to rain and never actually got outdoors at all, a first no-observation day in at least a year. But I took advantage of the rain to get some work done on my computer. This morning dawned bright and clear, so out I went to see what I could find on Tucker Rd. It was fairly quiet, but there were lots of hermit thrushes and red-eyed vireos calling, although I didn't manage to see any. I did see a raven, some chickadees and nuthatches, some young yellowthroats, song sparrows, and robins. And as I was walking up the road, there were Jim's horses again, chewing away at a neighbor's nicely manicured lawn. I briefly wondered if I should go back and knock on his door to let them know where the horses were. But last week when I did that, I felt bad about waking up Jim's young Filipina wife, who got the job of enticing the horses back. So I let the horses munch in peace and continued along my way. When I got to the turn-around point of my walk and started back, there were the horses again, now in the back yard of the neighbor's house. Just then, a friend from Adamant drove up, waving to me as she drove by. Her 2 dogs bounded out of her car and began to chase the horses through the neighbor's yard. I continued along my way. When I got back to Jim's house, Jim came out his front door and down to the road to greet me. He invited me to check out the birds near the pond in his field. He assured me that the electric fence is never on. As we were talking, his wife stuck her head out the door and told Jim the neighbors had called to say the horses were out. I told him they were right up the road, in the neighbor's yard. Jim's wife asked if he wanted some grain. He said "What?" She repeated herself. He said "What?" again. I repeated her question for him. He said "No, I'll go get the horses after I finish my breakfast." The wife grabbed her shoes and a bucket of grain and headed up the road. I went down to check out the pond, stepping over the hefty non-electrified fence. No birds around the pond. When I got back to the road, Jim's 6-year-old stepson was standing in the middle of the road in his PJs, fingers in his mouth. Jim was explaining to him that he can't turn the fence on because there are yellow jackets in the control box. The child looked up at him with wide wondering eyes that seemed to say "Whatever you say, Dad. I'll learn those big words someday." My Adamant friend came walking down the road with the neighbor's wife, out for some exercise with their 3 off-leash dogs. They wondered aloud if they would see a bear a little further along, the one I just missed a few weeks ago that hangs out in the darkest part of the wood near the waterfall. The two women had hardly gotten past Jim's house when the dogs at the other neighbor's kennel began greeting the off-leash dogs. I continued down the road, looking forward to getting some breakfast myself. No road kill today, but lots of caterpillars.

Publicado por erikamitchell 3 meses antes (Sinalizar)

I hate when I forget to charge my camera battery; there's inevitably something I really want to photograph just after it dies.

New Jersey is pretty strict about mask wearing; we cannot go in a public building without one. But even we don't have to wear them while exercising, except when 6 feet can't be maintained (like crossing a bridge by someone else, for instance). But perhaps your neighbor was just looking for something to complain about.

I remember in college in VT once hearing on the radio that horses were loose on Route 7 in Vergennes and then almost immediately coming upon them myself. They get out occasionally around here (though actually cattle are more commonly loose in Warren) and someone always sends the police after them. It's great fun to sit home and listen to the cops on the police band radio running after them through folks' backyards. But there are sure not a lot of roads around here where a 6 year old can hang out in the street in his pajamas!

Publicado por srall 2 meses antes (Sinalizar)

8-1-20. Finderne Wetlands, Bridgewater, NJ. 0.5 miles today 804.25 miles total
Categories: blooming, insects

I walked here behind my son's trucking home base, as I was interested in wetland plants, plus it was overcast and the area is very open and hot so I can't do it on a sunny day.

There were some odd teasel plants, smaller than usual an with all the flowers blooming at once. I saw a Eustichus stink bug and a small carpenter bee, a slant faced grasshopper, some white chicory, and sweet peas.

When I got back to the parking lot I noticed one of the trees was an Ailanthus. And I remembered that spotted lanternflies are coming up from Philly and like Ailanthus. I'd only seen them in Philly itself on the ground, but I'd heard they gather on the trunks, and lo and behold, there they were! About half a dozen on the trunk and branches of the Ailanthus there. They are horribly invasive, but I was still really excited to see them.

Publicado por srall 2 meses antes (Sinalizar)

8-8-20 Washington Valley Park, Martinsville, NJ. 0.25 miles today, 804.5 miles total
Category: insects

I took a quick walk at the local park today, just to get out of the house. I found an ambush bug eating a greenbottle fly, a spotted cucumber beetle, and a zabulon skipper. I had my eye out for ramp fruit as I'd seen a large patch of the leaves in the spring, but there was not a sign of them. I did find lesser celandine corms, though.

Publicado por srall 2 meses antes (Sinalizar)

8-9-20 The Meadows, Highland Park, and Chimney Rock Park, Martinsville, NJ. 1.0 miles today, 805.5 miles total
Category: blooming, insects

This afternoon I drove down to Highland Park to walk at two spots I'd not been to before: around the community gardens and in "the Meadows". At the gardens a woman walked up to me suspiciously and asked what the heck I was doing. I told her photographing lichen (at that moment). She thought I was spraying something. We then had the longest conversation I'd had yet about photographing species for iNat. But I did not find much unusual at the garden, just a very large wolf spider.

The Meadows is actually wet woods. Here I found bergamot and willow oak, but I suspect both were planted. There was also jetbead, some interesting sedges, a whole lot of fungi, and Kentucky coffee tree.

In the evening I walked with Molly at a local park. I was able to show her the viper's bugloss here, which she'd never seen before (though nearly all of it was dug up when someone was clearing the brush with a bulldozer in the past week or so). She spotted ebony jewelwings and some Jack in the pulpit fruit (not ripe yet, though).

Publicado por srall 2 meses antes (Sinalizar)

8-10-20 Edison Riverwalk, Edison, NJ. 0.5 miles today, 806 miles total
Category: blooming

Molly and I walked this boardwalk along the Raritan River. I'd been slowly working my way downstream, stopping in parks that border the river and this was the latest. It was very hot and sunny, with no shade (though there was a much-appreciated gazebo at the half-way point).

We found a new-to-me species: proliferous pink, Petrorhagia prolifera, I think. Very neat.

I had my eye out for lanternflies, but, though we did find a little Ailanthus we didn't see them.

The path went along the very brushy, 6-foot bank of the river. At one point I stepped a toe into the brush to photograph some mating Japanese beetles, and something "oinked" at me from the brush! I have no idea what it actually was; Molly guessed some bird, but we liked the idea of it actually being a feral pig. Never did see anything, though there was a rustling that sounded like something about the size of maybe a rabbit.

Publicado por srall 2 meses antes (Sinalizar)

8-11-20. Willowwood Arboretum, Chester, NJ. 0.75 miles today, 806.75 total
Categories: flowering, critters

I met up with Sandy (@sadawolk) today and we walked at Willowwood together. My favorite finds were queen of the prairie (in seed), a red headed bush cricket, thunberg's geranium, Japanese jack in the pulpit, a gnat ogre, a pair of zabulon skippers, some nearly-white bugle, a great spangled fritillary, shellbark hickory, and a baby bunny.

Publicado por srall 2 meses antes (Sinalizar)

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