Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea has been very hot and humid until today, Monday. It was cloudy and threatening rain yesterday afternoon. But it did not rain around here. Today was sunny but after front moved through it was less humid and about 10 degrees cooler making it like winter around here. I have still been feeding the fish the last few days at the spillway and last Saturday I took these photos. The 2 showing the insect with the solid black wings is a Ebony Jewellwing Damselfly. It was by the Beaver Dam Trail Bridge. I actually saw one a few weeks ago at the Spillway. Don't think I have seen these before. When they spread their 4 wings, which they do every few seconds, they are really beautiful. It was getting dark when I took these photos. On Swinging Bridge Trail, I saw 2 very small butterflies. The photo showing the middle size butterfly with the small spots and yellow splotch is a Little Yellow and also known as a Little Sulphur Butterfly. The smallest butterfly of the 3 shown in a Southern Slipperling Butterfly. It is the smallest of the Skippers. I have started to notice the Skippers coming out right now. They are supposed to be the most numerous of the butterfly types. Since the buttonbush blooms are coming on right now in the water ponds and by the spillway, the butterflies are coming around more. The Largest butterfly shown is another Tiger Swallowtail and I took the photo on Waldon Way Trail. This showing the top view, but now showing the true beautiful yellow color like the ones shown in a recent post below. The 2 photos showing a plant is a Trumpetweed or also known as a Joe-Pyed-weed plant. The one photo showing the whole plant shows it to be over 5 feet tall and you can see it has just started to bloom and many other buds ready to open. It will be very pretty when fully in bloom if someone don't walk down the tail and pick them or tear the plant down as probably will happen. So I wanted to get that first bloom before it might be too late. May take other photos if it makes it to maturity. The photo shows the bloom to be a pretty dark pink and lavender.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea was again very hot and humid today. There were some clouds and just a sprinkle or two but nothing else in this area. Before I went to the park, I was at a restaurant close to the park and saw a hot dog on wheels at a nearby hotel. I haven't seen one that big. Here is a photo. I remember that it was about time to check out the Wild Muscadine Grapes at the park. I walked along Old Shorty Trail by the main parking area and sure enough there were some ripe ones on the ground at their usual place. The vines here are up high in the trees there. The photo shows where I picked some up and placed on the bench to photo. Then I walked along the Rabbit Run Trail not far from the parking area and there is a really big vine closer to the ground where there are bigger fruit. These photos shows the vine and one shows the unripe fruit still on the vine. There were also some downy woodpeckers chasing each other around and some Heron wading birds in the private ponds across the trail from this big vine. Also there were flocks of Robin birds flying in the trees close by. They usually leave the park and nest in town closer to residences for some reason. They must be leaving and grouping together again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea has been really hot, over 100 degrees F., and sunny and humid the last few days. It rained a couple of days ago that helped some. The last couple of days has, for some reason, brought in the birds. Some Eastern Phoebes and Green Herons. Also some smaller warblers or vireos have been flying around. Also same some ducks for the first time in a long time yesterday, Tuesday. They may have been the brown Grebes. August is usually the last month you will see the Alligator at the park. However I have not seen it in a couple of months. It probably is no longer there or alive. That was really the feature of the park to a lot of people. Also the butterflies and dragonflies have been out in force in this heat. have been still feeding the fish at the Spillway and the flathead catfish have really been tearing it up. I have a photo here of a Musk Turtle holding its head out of the water to breathe but it looks like it is asking for more food pellets which I have it after taking its picture. Have not seen snakes as of late. This heat is really keeping things quite. I did see something that to me was unusual. This was on Old Shorty Trail. It was a Green Lacewing insect larvae. The Lacewings are flying insects sorta like May flies. They lay eggs which hatch into larva and go around eating the tender vegetation. But this particular larvae will coat itself with fine material that it finds along the way and sticks it to its entire body just hiding it completely. These are 2 photos of this very small thing with the white covering. This covering is called debris by experts. Today, Wednesday, I saw a yellow Tiger Swallowtail butterfly and a Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly at the Spillway. The Tiger is the yellow one. The photos shows the top and bottom view of both butterflies.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea the last few days have been very hot, over 100 degrees F., and humid and sunny. You really bake out there and most birds have been staying inside with the air conditioning. The fish however have been eating pretty well at the spillway. Also the dragonflies and butterflies are plentiful. The photo showing the smaller butterfly on a leaf is a Silver-spotted Skipper. The skippers have the smaller sail shaped wings and are small in size. I also saw a really beautiful Tiger Swallowtail yellow butterfly on Old Shorty Trail and it landed on my leg. Also at the Gazebo I saw a Red-admiral butterfly. It has the orange border and a black body.It is strange but it too landed on my leg. I must smell really sweet. Today, Saturday, I took these photos of a Black Cherry Tree. There are 2 of them right next to the main parking area of the park. The fruit in this photo looks red but when they ripen they will be black. You can eat them and make jelly and wine. Also a photo of the tree. I also saw a web holding several Fall Webworms. They are actually larva/caterpillars of a very small white moth. They eat the leaves on the trees and can strip a whole tree. These were in a Shellbark Hickory tree. In the coseup photo of the worms you can see 2 of the hickory nuts just coming on. While I was tracking down butterflies, I stumbled upon a Southern Yellow Jacket Wasp nest in the ground around an old tree stump. I am really happy about not stepping on the nest. See the video posted below showing these going in and out of the nest. Sorry for the poor quality of the video.

Video of Southern Yellow Jacket Wasps at nest

I just happened to stumble upon these Southern Yellow Jacket Wasps at their nest around an old tree stump at the picnic area of the park. I wall actually tracking butterflies and almost stepped on this nest. I have run over these nests before with a lawnmower. I ran away swatting the wasps that were chasing me and let the lawnmower roll down a steep hill.