Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Out and About: It's September Isn't It?

Right now I am wrapping my head around the fact that September is already here. I really enjoyed July and August and spent many days gardening, watching wildlife, hiking, camping and kayaking. It was another great summer for Monarch butterflies in the village. Many gardens have milkweed which supports the life cycle of this butterfly. Hummingbirds and a variety of butterflies also have generous flower plantings around town to take nectar from, as well as, supplemental feeders. Bald Eagles were sighted flying through town and above the lake. They hold their wings straight out without a curve. Their head and tail protrude out from their body and are white in adults. Juveniles have dark heads and tails. I love seeing Great Blue Herons flying and fishing. They look prehistoric to me. The Children's Taco Garden at the Round Lake Library was well tended by the two to five year old gardeners and some older siblings. We harvested lettuce, tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, garlic chives, herbs and several mint varieties. At the end of the program we enjoyed a taco bar with homemade salsa and all the fixings. Well done gardeners!!! I have started to hear Great-horned owls hooting to mark their territory reminding me Autumn is coming. Hopefully, no frost for awhile as there are still tomatoes on the vine. Happy Back to School Everyone!
Monarch on Joe-Pye Weed. Sometimes there have been three on it at once.

Cabbage White Butterfly Blending in with Mountain Mint

Monarchs Love the Purple Coneflower Too

New Resident: Margined Leatherwing Beetle

Northern Catbird. I swear he calls out the name "Eric"

Lovely Lilies

Hanging in the Apple Tree

Bald Eagle Over Round Lake. Can You See It? It was high up.

Male Widow Skimmer on Liatrus

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Butterfly Bush

Got to see the whole Monarch life cycle in my garden starting with the egg

Monarch Caterpillar and a Milkweed Bug on a Milkweed Plant

Monarch Chrysalis. An Hour Later...

Out Came a New Monarch. It dried off for several hours before flying away

Great Blue Heron Fishing at Putnam Pond

Sunflower House at Fort Ticonderoga

Why hadn't squirrels munched it down like in Round Lake? Look to the right.

AHA! An Osprey nest was just steps away. Although they mainly eat fish a squirrel would do in a pinch

Out on a Limb at Gull Bay Preserve

Too Crowded

Indian Pipe at Putnam Pond. No chlorophyll

Loon Family on Rollins Pond

This Loon came in to shore creating the waves and caught the fish

Black Duck visiting my campsite

Feel the Calm. Early Morning on Rollins Pond

Friday, July 12, 2019

Out and About: I Turned Around and June was Gone!

June is always a whirlwind of a month for me with gardening and gatherings. Then it fast slips away and July is usually calmer. Vegetable gardens are in at my house and the children's garden. This season the two to five year old gardeners planted a Taco Garden. They put in tomatoes, lettuce, peppers,(both hot and sweet), cilantro and different peppermints. We will have a taco party at the end of August. We already had a lettuce tasting and then clear cut the lettuce. It grew back well and another tasting will happen this week. Our cherry tomatoes are ripening so we will give them a taste along with edible nasturiums and garlic chives. During gardening the children saw birds going into the nest box we put up. The birds were Tufted Titmice. I was at the garden watering one afternoon when the last baby was fledging. The parents were nearby in a tree calling to it. Finally it made the jump and crossed the street. Mama came down to feed it and then it walked and flew away. I wish the children had gotten to see this. We cleaned out the box the next week and looked at how the nest was constructed. Bits of cellophane and paper were included in it.
I was invited to The Round Lake School for the Painted Lady Butterfly release party. The students raised the butterflies from caterpillars. Some were sad to let them go. It always seems that one butterfly is reluctant to leave. The students had planted zinnias and hoped to see the butterflies visiting.
I have seen several Monarch butterflies in the children's and my garden and there are some eggs on the underside of milkweed leaves. An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail has been at the milkweed too. The milkweed flower is extremely fragrant. Look for bees before taking a sniff! Make sure to take a look at the firefly display as it gets dark They are amazing this year! Enjoy these great summer days. And tell July to take it slow.
Painted Lady Butterfly Release

Looking at the empty Chrysalises

Reluctant to Leave

About to Fledge

Should I stay or should I go now?

Stepping Out!

Nest that was in the box

Zinnia

Lupine Field at Wilton Wildlife Preserve. Host Plant for Karner Blue Butterflies

Peas Please! (They must be planted out of reach of rabbits)

Open Sesame

Butterfly Weed

Blue Mud Dauber

Swallowtail at Milkweed

Monarch

Garden Phlox

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Out and About: I Love the Month of May!!!

I really do love the month of May. There's so much to see and do. Migratory birds come back to the area and wildflowers pop up in the woods and along trails. It's time to play in the dirt and plant vegetables and flowers. Although temperatures were up and down, many days were rainy and cloudy, and there was some thunder and hail, I still had to get out to see what and who was around. Besides Baltimore Orioles coming to my feeders, I also had a pair of Indigo Bunting for the very first time visit my yard. I didn't run for my camera because I just wanted to watch them and see what they were doing. The male disappeared in the garden while the female stayed on the honeysuckle bush. He probably was looking for insects to eat. After a few minutes they left together. A little later I saw a male Indigo in Pat's field at the end of Cleveland Avenue. The field is a good spot to see Eastern Bluebirds and catch Red-tailed Hawks perched up in tree tops. I saw a first of the season sighting of a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird on the evening of May fourth. Two males have been fighting over exclusive rights to the porch feeder most of the month. One chases after the other and then puppy guards the feeder by watching from a close by apple tree branch. In our parks, woods, and trails, we  have many warblers and woodland birds. I have heard and/or seen, Wood Thrushes, Ovenbirds, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Northern Catbirds, Veery Thrushes, Eastern Wood Pewees, Common Yellow-throat Warblers, Great-crested Flycatchers, and Red-eyed Vireos. Many wildflowers are also around in the Peck Avenue woods and trail edges such as, Wild Geranium, Woodland Phlox, Trout Lilies, Red Trilliums, Jack-in-the-Pulpits, May Apples, and False Soloman's Seal.
I got back to the Ballston Creek Preserve on May eleventh and there were still just three Great Blue Heron nests. One heron was sitting in a nest. Two were standing together in a nest, while the third nest was empty. Two herons stood in trees near the nests. I will go back again to check on this now small colony. It is the smallest I've seen here.
I made a first time visit to Coldspring Preserve in Northumberland. It's a Saratoga Plan Preserve. There were a lot of wildflowers at the trail's beginning and a Hermit Thrush back in the woods. I was hoping to see a Blanding's Turtle which is a threatened species in the area but didn't come across one.
A return trip to OK Slip Falls in Indian Lake was wonderful. The falls were twice as big as when I saw them four years ago. Painted Trilliums lined the trail along with flowering Hobblebushes. We followed moose tracks on the way out for over a mile but no sighting. Enjoy the rest of Spring!
Yellow-rumped Warbler in South Lawn

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Bill Cleaning

Puppy Guarding the Feeder

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on my Apple Tree

Northern Catbird Mimics Other Bird Songs

Gaywings at Coldbrook Preserve

A Hermit Thrush at Coldspring Preserve Serenaded me with its Lovely Song

Flowering Hobblebush on the OK Slip Fall Trail

OK Slip Falls Indian Lake

Painted Trillium on OK Slip Falls Trail

Moose Track on OK Slip Trail

Meeting of the Jacks in Peck Avenue Woods

Jack-In-The-Pulpit

False Soloman's Seal Peck Avenue Woods

Wild Geranium on Zim-Smith Trail

Woodland Phlox

Woodland Phlox on Zim-Smith Trail