Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Peepers and Polygonia

When you work slowly through the woods you have an opportunity for some chance encounters with its residents.  Birds of course are plentiful near the swamp, and I often see a Pileated woodpecker in the area.  A few weeks ago I had a white tailed deer trot past quite close while I sat on a log taking a break, and last week a Barred owl hooted twice from very near.

This day though the visitors where quite a bit smaller.  As I worked though the area between the swamp and the marsh I noticed quick movement out of the corner of my eye.  I stopped and looked closely, finally finding this spring peeper.  I was surprised by its light gray color.  I haven't read that they change color based on their surroundings but...

Spring peeper--no bigger than my thumb nail.

...when I came across another in the leaf litter that was very brown I had to wonder.

Spring peeper--notice the "X" on its back.

So many of the spring flowers were in bloom it was difficult to make note of them all.  The tiny flowers of this miterwort (or Bishop's Cap) was back lit by the sun.


Fiddleheads were everywhere too, and I saw many interrupted ferns emerging.

Interrupted fern

The delicate bloom of the bellwort swayed in the wind.

Bellwort (or wild oats)

Not sure why but there has been an explosion of red admiral butterflies this spring.  They are literally everywhere, even at home.  I had one bounce off my forehead when I went out to the van late one evening last week.  I must have seen a hundred along the path.

Red admiral

I was very excited to catch this question mark butterfly.  I haven't seen one in quite some time.  While a bit tattered, it's still a beauty.

This butterfly has a great Latin name: Polygonia interrogationis

I need to get back out to the woods to do some more garlic mustard pulling, but it has been quite windy, and I tend to stay out of wooded areas in high winds.  There have been a lot of trees down, especially in that area, and I don't want to chance getting bonked on the head!

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