A Pate of Blue

With an eye to the sky

In a thick stand of trees, this Blue-headed vireo (Vireo solitarius) was probably searching for buggy treats among the branches.

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Crunchy crew-cut clusters

Pink bellies

The Softness Unto Death

Where the boardwalk returns to grassy path at one end of Little Silver Nature Trail, Sweetscent flowers (Pluchea odorata) in various stages of decline still managed to add small splotches of color next to the beige-gray walls of phragmites that otherwise dominate that area of the park.

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Big Eyes

Magic Man

Falcon Rest

Perched between the water and the woods at Sandy Hook, this smallish falcon may be a Merlin (Falco columbarius).

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Gold Digger of 2017

Bor-ing!

Rather than drilling into its namesake plant, this Locust borer (Megacyllene robiniae) was digging for goldenrod. Looked like beetle cousin to the yellowjacket.

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Migrate expectations

Cape May . . .

. . . crusader

Flitting around on a seaside cedar tree, this Cape May warbler (Setophaga tigrina) was more intent on finding insects than tempted by berries. While there, he raided a spider web for its ready-made prey (or perhaps the spider itself).

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Prickly royal intrigue

Monarch vs. Mantis

As a Monarch butterfly was sipping nectar from the thready head of a Field thistle (Cirsium discolor), some type of mantis lay in wait among the thorny leaves. Luckily for the Monarch, it decided to fly off before it became the mantid’s breakfast. Might be a Chinese mantis (Tenodera sinensis).

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Brown out (and about)

Mindful eyeful

Curled into something like an Om symbol turned on its side, this small snake had the opposite of a calming effect — but only because of its sudden & unexpected appearance practically underfoot. This little slitherer may be a Northern Brown (DeKay’s) Snake (Storeria dekayi dekayi).

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