Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bona Dea butterfly, turtle Update

Bona Dea was sunny, hot and humid today. It started to rain lightly in the late afternoon. Day before yesterday it had rained over an inch and then I went to the park. I was walking down the steep dike by the parking area and yep I slipped down on my can and slid some of the way down. I was more worried about my camera around my neck than my can. That is when I saw the turtle in the previous post. Yesterday I stayed around the main parking area on Old Shorty Trail. They had cleared up the down trees and limbs that I had photoed earlier but as I was walking around a big limb fell at the exact same spot as the other limbs. It was scary hearing the sound and seeing the limb falling to the ground. Glad I was not under it. Today at the spillway, I fed the fish and saw a Belted Kingfisher bird flying around Waldon Pond. Also a Great Blue Heron wading bird flew over head as well as some American Crows. The Northern Cardinals were all over singing away. Also the butterflies were out. I finally managed to see a Red-spotted Purple Butterfly land on a low hanging limb and finally decide to stay there awhile. Actually a long while and took 47 photos just to get these 2 better ones. I believe it must have been laying her eggs there as she would just spread her wings from time to time and not move around like it was feeding.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bona Dea turtle, traffic accident, Update

Bona Dea was wet in the late afternoon as a rain shower came over the park with a little over an inch of rain. It was really nice to be out there after the rain. This is an update regarding the traffic accident that occurred at a parking area off dike road by the park. Photos of the aftermath is on the June 17th. blog post. The local newspaper shows that an elderly gentleman was reaching for this cell phone and in the process swerved into oncoming traffic. He looked up and over corrected to the right and was going to fast to stop and ran through the traffic guards and ended up sideways by the water below. So we all need to be careful using cell phone while driving. I fed the fish and catfish and musk turtles at the spillway and noticed that Prairie Creek and the water ponds were refreshed by the rain. The Northern Cardinals were really expressing their appreciation for the rain by singing away. A really strange thing happened. I had walked down the steep dike after parking and went onto the trail. There was no turtle there when I went down. However when I came back about an hour later, a Red-eared Slider turtle had already dug her nest and was in the process of laying her eggs right where I had walked before. That was really fast work. These photos shows her on the nest and then a closeup showing the hole where she was laying her eggs. The ground was soft and muddy there due to the rain which probably prompted her to start laying.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bona Dea, plants Update

Bona Dea was very hot and humid and sunny. Heat index over 100 degrees. Took a closeup photo of a Crape Myrtle shrub blooms. Pretty redish pink in color and they are really starting to pop out now. On Swinging Bridge Trail, I observed a Trumpet Creeper Wildflower. It was actually very well hidden in the heavy overgrowth of weeds of the trail. They grow in vines and are related to the Cross Vines that I took photos of earlier in the year. The photo of the flower showing more red and orange and close to the ground is the Creeper and the other trumpet looking more yellow type flower is the Cross Vine. At the spillway I fed the fish consisting of the numerous Blue Gill Bream and a few Musk Turtles and ole Mr. Flathead Catfish was there for a taste. Also a flock of Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee birds came for a visit. Also on the trail were a pair of really big and really black American Crows. They took off when I approached them.

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea was very hot and humid today, Tuesday. Yesterday I fed the fish at the spillway and some Musk Turtles. Not much happening in the bird world the last few days. I did take some photos of some unusual plants on Old Shorty Trail by the main parking area. The photo showing the numerous redish or pink blooms is a Crape Myrtle Tree. It was by the gazebo and several have been planted in this area of the park. There are 2 photos of an American beautyberry shrub and they are the ones showing the very small lavender blooms with the yellow stamens sticking out and then one showing the leaf pattern. The last 2 photos shows an Canadian Germander wildflower. Showing the tube like white blooms and then one showing more leaves. I suppose new plants will be blooming until late fall. I did see a Downy Woodpecker on a tree yesterday at the spillway while feeding the fish. The water pools are starting to get lower due to the excessive heat and no rain.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bona Dea, turtle, mushrooms, Update

Bona Dea was sunny and hot and humid in the late afternoon. It had rained about .05 in. earlier in the day. Just a short shower. First off while entering Swinging Bridge Trail I saw this turtle just walking along in the grass by the trail. I noticed that it was heading for the water after having been doing something with her nest. You can see by the photos that the lower back of her shell was very muddy. She had been doing some serious digging. Speaking of digging. See the photo showing the powerful hind leg she uses to do this. Another photo shows the smaller front feet.This is a Eastern River Cooter, Aquatic turtle. In a previous post, I showed some photos of a turtle nest on Swinging Bridge Trail. I have again shown them here to show it could have been this same type of turtle. You will notice the hole and the empty egg shells laying close by. At the Spillway, I fed the fish and the Musk turtles. I noticed some new brownish mushrooms that had just popped up. These are a variety of Russula. Blue Jay birds were flying around and on Old Shorty Trail earlier on I heard Northern Cardinals and Tufted Titmouse singing away.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bona Dea insect, plant, Update

Bona Dea was hot and humid as usual today. I went to Old Shorty Trail next to the main parking lot. I saw a mature May Apple. I took some photos of the plants and blooms in early Spring. They are again shown here. They show the white May Apple blooms and then the plants. Today I saw the mature May Apple seed pod that the white blooms turn in to. You can see why they are named apple as the seed pod looks like the green apple fruit. Also, I saw something rather interesting and wanted to share it with you. I saw a Cicada insect exo-skeleton or dry shell. This is shown here as the brown shell is split open as you can see. The mature Cicada emerges or molts from this shell. Another picture shows what the emerged insect looks like. These insects start to make a unified singing sound all around the place when it gets dark this time of year. This is the life cycle explanation of this insect: "After mating, the female cuts slits into the bark of a twig, and into these she deposits her eggs. She may do so repeatedly, until she has laid several hundred eggs. When the eggs hatch, the newborn nymphs drop to the ground, where they burrow. Most cicadas go through a life cycle that lasts from two to five years. Some species have much longer life cycles, such as the North American genus, Magicicada, which has a number of distinct "broods" that go through either a 17-year or, in the South of the USA, a 13-year life cycle. These long life cycles both happen to be prime numbers, perhaps developed as a response to predators such as the cicada killer wasp and praying mantis.[11][12][13] A predator with a shorter life cycle of at least 2 years could not reliably prey upon the cicadas.[14]

Cicadas live underground as nymphs for most of their lives, at depths ranging from about 30 cm (1 ft) down to 2.5 m (about 8½ ft). The nymphs feed on root juice and have strong front legs for digging.

In the final nymphal instar, they construct an exit tunnel to the surface and emerge. They then molt (shed their skins), on a nearby plant for the last time and emerge as adults. The abandoned skins remain, still clinging to the bark of trees." I hope you found this as interesting as I did.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bona Dea traffic accident Update

Bona Dea has been sunny and hot and humid over the past several days. Rain has been threatened in the late afternoons but no rain. Sometime in the last few hours to current time, there was a traffic accident at the parking area where I usually park. This is on the Dike road between Bona Dea and Lake Dardanelle. These 5 photos shows the site of the accident as a vehicle went through the iron railings along the dike and the parking area and then down the embankment and close to or into the lake. There was a gasoline slick in the water near the bank. I fed the fish at the spillway and went on Swinging Bridge Trail and down by old Swinging Bridge and then over to Beaver Trail. There were some Blue Jay and Redwing Blackbirds and Eastern King birds around the park as well as several Northern Cardinals. A few single Wood Ducks in the water ponds. Also the past few days, Belted Kingfisher birds were hunting for fish.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bona Dea Update

Bona Dea was sunny, hot and humid. Nothing new there these days. Yesterday on Old Shorty Trail, I took this photo of a Silver Maple Tree. What is unique about this type tree is that when the wind blows you can see the silver color on the bottom side of the leaves. Also saw a Brown Creeper bird. They sorta look like a wren but they stay real close to the bark of trees. This one was working real hard at the bottom of a tree trunk. Today, Tuesday, I went on Swinging Bridge Trail and at the spillway fed the fish and Mr. Flathead Catfish came back for a snack. And one Musk Turtle got its share. The Green Herons must have left their nest by the spillway. Some predator may have gotten the eggs or scared them off. Me going there all the time may not have helped. Also saw this Yellow Bellied Water snake at the bottom of the spillway. Did not feel like doing trees today. I am getting tired of that. Dragonflies were flying all over the place. Looked like Blue Darters or Pondhawks. Really have a lot of chigger bites from walking in the dense vegetation at the park.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bona Dea storm,trees, squirrel Update

Bona Dea was sunny and very hot and humid. So much so that the mosquitoes were not around. On Old Shorty Trail by the main parking area, I noticed some tree storm damage. One had large limbs blown down and another was broken off at the ground. Photos shows the damage. Also on the same trail was a young Gray Squirrel enjoying a late lunch. The tree blown down appeared to be a Camphor Tree but not really sure about that. Over on Swinging Bridge Trail and by the Spillway, I just arrived and noticed that something had jumped across the spillway. I looked up and noticed a big Cottonmouth snake scrambling trying to get away. I mean it was really and big around and long one.It just kept going toward Prairie Creek and could not get a photo. I fed the fish and noticed that the Green Heron was not on her nest and never came back as long as I was there. I took a photo of a Crack Willow Tree which was growing in the water right below the Spillway. There was a female Wood Duck swimming close to the bank on Waldon Pond. Some Tufted Titmouse birds were around the same area. Also a Red Headed woodpecker was on a tree pecking away on Old Shorty Trail.

Bona Dea,snake,insect and duck Update

Bona Dea was sunny and warm and humid today,Saturday. The water had receded quite a bit today. I walked on the previously flooded Prairie Creek bottoms by the Old Swinging Bridge. And guess what??? I almost stepped on a Cottonmouth snake. Yes, they are Poisonous. Here are 3 photos of it. I looked at me as if to dare me to step on it. Really glad I didn't. I went to the spillway and fed the fish and the water was still real muddy. While there I looked on some leaves and saw this strange bug walking around on them. I took these 2 photos of an Assassin Bug-nymphal Sinea. I am also glad it did not assassinate me. That was 2 close calls today. Over on Beaver Trail I saw this female Wood Duck standing on a log. I thought she might have babies near by but did not see any. The vegetation at the park is really getting lush. It looks tropical. The Blue Jay birds were around a lot. Also Northern Cardinals. I saw a Brown Thrasher down low in the bushes but could not photo it. That was the type of bird that was singing like a mockingbird I talked about and photoed in previous posts. I also jumped a deer on Beaver Trail yesterday and took a photo that turned out bad. That is probably because it actually jumped me. They tend to do that a lot. They don't give you warning. They just jump and run and scare you to death when it is so close.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bona Dea tree Update

For the last few days I have taken some more photos of trees. Here are some and the order from bottom to top: Weeping Willow Tree, Shortleaf Pine Tree, Horsechestnut Tree, Black Willow Tree, and Baldcypress Tree.

Bona Dea, deer, wood duck, Update

Thursday night into Friday morning, it rained 3 inches in a short period of time. When I went to the park today, Friday, the park ponds and Prairie Creek was filled to the brim. The Spillway was running very full and fast. I have posted 2 videos below showing this and also showing the Green Heron on her nest and 2 Yellow Bellied Water snakes. I took a photo of a male Wood Duck on Waldon Pond spreading in wings on the water. Yesterday I took these 2 photos of a Whitetail Deer on the new road to the pumping station along the Dike. Also have a photo of a White Mushroom growing out of a dead piece of wood. Also saw today a pretty yellow Prothonatary Warbler by the spillway. Also at the gazebo by the parking lot, there were some Tufted Titmouse birds actually playing around inside the gazebo. They were not afraid of anyone. A mother wood duck and her babies were swimming around in Black Water Swamp.