Ant Manna

Pear bee

Bright yellow prickly pear flowers are blooming all over the sandy-soiled sections of Weltz Park. A tiny, ant-sized bee was enjoying one of the sweet cactus cups. Might be Eastern prickly pear (Opuntia humifusa).

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Cuckoo camp-out

Slim pickin’s

Since the park revamp took down most of the cherry trees — and thus the tent caterpillars that used to set up camp on them — this Black-billed cuckoo parked itself by one of the few remaining nests for a filling if short-lived meal.

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Little prairie on the bough house

Pure prairie see

A couple of Prairie warblers (Setophaga discolor) investigated some flowering bushes for bugs. This one had a definite gleam in its eye.

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Pink drapefruit

Delight bulb

A small treasure to come upon in the woods, this Pink lady’s slipper (Cypripedium acaule) brightened the walk otherwise dominated by browns & greens.

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Woods show Wilson’s

Black-capped but no chick(adee)

Hadn’t seen a Wilson’s warbler (Cardellina pusilla) in a few years, but must’ve just been looking in the wrong places. Jackson Woods in Long Branch seemed to have several, a couple of which were polite about sitting for portraits.

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Mama and the Seven Woods


The ducks didn’t stop here, at least not for very long.

A little family of Wood ducks appeared briefly in a forest stream. At least seven ducklings swam into view (there may have been nine altogether) before their vigilant mother ushered them in a different direction. A real treat to see and completely unexpected.

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The Adventures of Bobbin’ Hood


As Svengoolie says: “Lookin’ goody…”

Not too far from where we saw him a couple of years ago, a male Hooded warbler popped up on a windy day and casually skipped around the leaf litter before crossing the path.

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It Might As Well Be Springbeauty

Light pink petal pushers

A loose carpet of pale pink wildflowers lined some of the wooded paths of Bayonet Farm. I think these lightly striped examples are Virginia springbeauty (Claytonia virginica).

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Dressed to thrill

A flash in the pond

Sporting some of the finest finery around, this male wood duck couldn’t have been more dapper as he paddled around Lake Takanassee.

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It’s the Great Orb Weaver, Charlie Brown

“Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.”

Just in time for Halloween, a bright orange, pumpkin-like spider was forthrightly making its way across a paved path. I think it’s a female Marbled orb weaver (Araneus marmoreus).

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