Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mid-October Observations in Nature

Dreamy Wood-nymph Moth Caterpillar feeds on Hairy Willowherb
There are still a lot of things happening in our woods and other habitats in October. I've been finding quite a few caterpillars. Probably one of my favorites is the Dreamy Wood-nymph Moth caterpillar. Its black and orange striped pattern is bold and so they are pretty easy to pick out as they feed on Willowherb plants near the stream sides. Interestingly, the moth that they become is not nearly so easy to find. They are camouflaged to look like bird-droppings (they are bird-droppings mimics). This is the species' ingenious way of not being eaten by birds.

Quaking Aspen leaves
Right now much of the color in the woods is provided by American Beech Trees
A carpet of freshly fallen leaves around the base of a Sugar Maple Tree
A very bleached out Narrow-leaf Spleenwort fern
A White-tailed Deer spent the night here
One of several Winter Wrens skulking about in the gorge
They always stay close to the ground and are rarely found far from water
Palm Warblers are one of the last of their clan to migrate through the region
Black-throated Green Warbler - most have already come through
Kinglet migration is in full swing right now - This is a Ruby-crowned Kinglet playing hide-and-seek in a buckthorn tree
You can just make out the ruby crown on the top of this kinglet's head
Nashville Warbler - It had just been feeding on the aphids that cover this goldenrod stem
White-throated Sparrow migration is also in high gear - dozens and dozens of them can be seen with little effort
This female Rufous-sided Towhee will probably be departing for the south soon
Our most numerous migrant warbler is the Yellow-rumped Warbler - AKA the Myrtle Warbler
There are still a few Lincoln's Sparrows to be found around the forest edges and in brushy meadows
Long after blooming, now gone to seed, Pearly Everlasting still  remains a focal-point in the meadow
The leaves and stems of Tall Coreopsis turn a light red-ish color

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