Black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
I've seen a lot of black swallowtails around FWG this year, as well as more caterpillars than I usually see. On this day I also saw an eastern tailed blue butterfly, a monarch, a couple of ringlets and a handful of clouded sulphurs and cabbage whites.
Treehoppers (Enchenopa ) all in a row
These little thorn-like treehoppers are good at imitating thorns or buds on trees.
The old swimming hole
This temporary puddle was well visited by many birds this morning. There were, at various times, rose-breasted grosbeaks, eastern kingbirds, song sparrows, house finches and of course, many goldfinches.
Black-capped chickadee on hackberry leaf
There were three chickadees pecking away on the hackberry leaves. I finally realized that they were pecking open the tiny galls of which there were many, on the leaves, to get at the larvae inside. The sound of the claws and beaks on the rough, sandpapery leaves was creating a loud rasping sound that was quite unusual and odd.
Galls on hackberry leaf (Celtis occidentalis)
This is a closer view of the galls that the chickadees were pecking at. As you can see, they are very tiny, so they needed to pry open many to get a meal!
House finch and American goldfinch
It looks like the goldfinch is telling the house finch to buzz off! Song Sparrows and Chipping Sparrows were also sharing this spot.
Spittlebug, perhaps an Alder spittlebug
This was quite a robust spittlebug, much larger than one usually sees. But the markings are cryptic and many species look similar.
Northern Cardinal, male
A lovely, bright male cardinal who was hanging out in the BYG with a couple of juveniles, all of them making plenty of commotion.
I took a quick look in the ravine to check on some plants that I'd found there last year. They were thriving. We discourage people from going into this area as it is slippery, full of downed branches and trees, and most importantly, a quiet wildlife habitat.
Red squirrel looking quizzical
As fall draws ever closer, all the squirrels (chipmunks, greys, reds and groundhogs) are becoming much more noticeable, storing up fat if they hibernate (groundhogs), or food to see them through the winter (the rest). Chipmunks head underground once winter sets in. They maintain a separate storeroom of food to which they will go periodically through the winter, from their cosy sleeping quarters. Thus, they are not true hibernators as groundhogs are. The reds and the greys will remain active throughout the winter except on the coldest of days.
Tear-thumb (Polygonum persicaria) flower
A native plant that inhabits wet sites. It is a weakly twining vine, clambering over other vegetation. It derives its name from the fact that when people inadvertently grab hold of it or walk through it (especially in shorts!) they get a nasty surprise. The stems are full of tiny thorns.
Tear-thumb (Polygonum persicaria) stem
You can see the prickly stem well here!