|Snow Geese make their final approach|
Flocks of migrating Snow Geese flew over the preserve early last week. It was an impressive spectacle to behold, especially so far away from any sizable body of water. At least 5,000 were estimated to fly over at one point. I watched a few of the flocks landing in a nearby cornfield. From a distance they looked like large white balloons descending to the ground in formation. The conversion of most of the agricultural fields in our area to corn production has been a boom to a few species –like these geese, while it has also resulted in a loss of habitat for many breeding grassland species.
|A male Northern Shoveler|
|A male Northern Pintail|
|Bloodroot blooms for a very short time|
|The Scarlet Elf-Cup can collect water|
|Red Maple Blossoms are very small but worth a look|
Blue Cohosh is pushing up in many places in the old woods; its tiny brown to purple flowers with yellow centers are easy to overlook –but are worth the effort if you chance upon them. The aptly named Scarlet Elf Cup is also common in the old woods. This small cup-like fungus is low in the leaf litter, but its bright red color really makes it stand out among the dead leaves and ever-expanding colony of wild leeks.
The earliest butterflies are out. These species of Anglewing Butterflies spent the winter (what there was of it) in tree crevices and other similar shelters. Mostly what I’m seeing so far are the Mourning Cloak and the Eastern Comma. We had a glut of the latter species last year and after such a mild winter, many of them have survived to flutter once more. I expect to see a Compton’s Tortoiseshell by the end of the week. They too are Anglewing butterflies which can overwinter as adults.