Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Belleplain, Early June.

Tarkiln Pond: a very pretty location as well as productive for all sorts of flora and fauna. Located along the northern border of Cape May County in Belleplain State Forest.

Veggin' the edge. Botanizing the blacktop… A large percentage of roadside plants are non-native, but they are numerous and beautiful. (And fearless leader Mike Crewe knows them all. As he should--for him, they are natives!)

Forget flowers; this onion (your everyday oniongrass, the non-native common wild onion) just clones more baby onions that will simply drop off and, hopefully, take root. (Mike has dubbed it the "Rasta Onion"… Walks with Mike are always amusing as well as educational.)

Deptford pink. A non-native but very lovely little flower.

Tony really gets into this birds and bugs and botany stuff…

It might be some species of tiger moth caterpillar. As thorough as my huge (nearly 2 inch thick) caterpillar guide is, it has a photo of a near-identical cat titled "Agreeable Tiger Moth" but with little info beyond that.

I'm not even going to try for an id on this "inchworm" (more like inch-and-a-half worm) but a closer look by Mike at a haphazardly nibbled bush along the roadside turned up the culprit and it cooperated for its portrait.

Where's a Peterson's Eastern Moths Guide when you need one???

Nearly the smallest example of its order (damselflies), a Fragile Forktail. It's little more than an inch long in real life--the inchworm was considerably bigger.

American Lady. She looks large in this photo, but she was actually a very small representative of her species.

American Copper. This is as wee a little butterfly as it appears.

Much to my surprise, I'm very quickly falling in love with waterlilies… (With Photoshop's "Ink Outline" filter this time.)

This web's maker was nowhere to be found. Some orb weavers are more nocturnal than not, so she may have been hiding under the sluice. With my vertigo, I certainly was not going to lean over to look for her, guard rail or no guard rail.

Wow! Blue and violet together on a damselfly; my favorite colors on a favorite critter. ("Variable Dancer"--who comes up with these names?!)

A quite striking female Spangled Skimmer. (Note that dragonflies hold their wings out flat, for the most part. Damselflies hold their wings over their backs, for the most part. There are always exceptions.)

And a more subtle but just as striking female Ebony Jewelwing.

This male Sparkling Jewelwing is even more impressive a creature. A rather appropriate name, too, as these particular damselflies (there were four males flitting about in the sun alongside the Tuckahoe River) were so iridescent that they really did appear to sparkle!

What trip leaders do after a walk while waiting for sandwiches at a local custard-stand-type eatery. It appeared to be some kind of football (not soccer--Mike is a Brit) crossed with volleyball…

(Sparkling Jewelwing male again)