Friday, December 21, 2018

Out and About: November and December 2018

There are only a couple of hours left until winter officially begins. November seemed more like winter than December does as there was more snow last month and some bitter temperatures too. The day after Thanksgiving I took a walk around the village as Black Friday shopping is not my thing. There was snow on the ground and I began seeing turkey tracks as I walked south over Morris Road. I haven't seen a turkey flock in the village for a couple of years so I was excited. Then up ahead of me, crossing the trail into the woods, was a huge flock. They did a U turn and came through the woods back towards me. The turkeys were headed for Morris Road. I thought it was funny that they were a day late for the turkey trot which does go down Morris Road but they were a lot safer appearing the day after Thanksgiving! I counted around twenty birds. I also got a recent sighting of the Barred Owl which I haven't seen for a year and a half. Before Griffin's Ridge was built I would see it in a pine tree which was about where Sue and Tim's front yard is. Now the owl hangs out a stone's throw away behind their house between the trail and Herlihy Road. Enjoy the holidays everyone and a Very Happy New Year to you all!
Round Lake Turkeys show up a day late for the Turkey Trot

Headed Towards Morris Road

Skim of Ice on Lake November Twenty-third

Sleepy Barred Owl

Turkey tail Fungus Zim Smith Trail

Fallen Nest

Wild Cucumber Vine

Wild Cucumber Seed Pod

Puffed Puffballs Peck Avenue Woods


Friday, November 16, 2018

Out and About: I was Waiting for Indian Summer

I have been hoping we would still get a few days of Indian Summer. Temperatures in the sixties, lots of sunshine and blue skies is what I was waiting to see. A nor'easter is what we got instead bringing us about a half a foot of snow last night through this morning. Looking back at last year's notes, I was reminded that we got a dusting of snow on November twentieth. On December ninth it snowed a couple of inches and then again
on December twelfth. I forgot that in 2016 it snowed two inches before Halloween on October twenty-seventh. I forced myself out of the house this afternoon with my camera to take some photos. The village is always so beautiful after it snows! Take a look.
Capped Coneflower


Schoolhouse Park
Sycamore Sisters on South Lawn


The Grass is Always Greener

Sledding Hill

Fly and Be Free

South Lawn

Peck Avenue Woods


Shark Attack

Snow Stream

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Out and About: Good-bye to my Garden

Every Fall I have a difficult time adjusting to the weather changes, the shorter days, the Monarch butterflies and hummingbirds leaving, and my vegetable garden dying. This past October had so many rainy, dreary, and chilly days that I found myself inside looking out, checking my weather apps for a break in the rain and a spike in the temperatures. I brought my pot of purple sweet peppers in and out of the house to try to save them until they were big enough to eat. I covered herbs and tomatoes with sheets when there was a danger of frost. I  picked green tomatoes and ripened them on the windowsill and also stuffed some in a cardboard box to hopefully ripen and not rot and possibly eat at Thanksgiving. A couple of asters and phlox flowers have lingered in my garden. Around the village puffball mushrooms and many other kinds were prolific in October. Here and there some flowers defied the first frost. I finally pulled up my tomato plants, emptied my flower pots, and ate my underripe peppers. I will wait several months before looking at  garden catalogs so I don't get depressed. Meanwhile, I'll start Project Feeder Watch and keep track of the Monarchs and Hummers on Journey North.
Tomatoes Still Cranking in Early October

Purple Peppers with Lots of Blossoms

October 18th Freeze

Tomatoes Cranky

Late October Rose

Peck Avenue Woods

Assortment on South Lawn

Turtlehead Flower at Orient Park

Windowsill Ripening

Ali Gibney's Dinnerplate Dahlia

Puff O'Lantern (borrowed a stem from a pumpkin)

Friday, September 21, 2018

Out and About: A Great Summer for Monarch Butterflies

As summer ends today, I have to say that this has been a great season for Monarch Butterflies! I have kept track of first of the season sightings of Monarchs since 2013. That year my FOS was 9/3/13. I only saw five Monarchs for the season. I had in my notes that they were not doing well due to a very cold and late spring with lots of rain. The season before, in 2012, was very hot and dry through to Mexico and there was little water and flowers for them during migration. In 2014 my first sighting was August seventh and I didn't see one in my garden until September first. I had Lots of milkweed plants both years and other garden flowers. FOS for the following years: 6/26/15, 7/28/16, 5/19/17, 6/11/18. This year was incredible. From July fifth until I went on vacation on September Ninth, I had one, two and one day, three Monarchs in my garden each and every day! Many neighbors and friends reported seeing them too. The butterflies were constantly egg laying. Caterpillars were spotted and new Monarchs were born. I never found a chrysalis but I did find a shiny new butterfly on the ground. It didn't seem able to fly yet and I know they have to dry their wings for a bit before flying. However, the next day it was still on the ground. I carefully picked it up and brought it to a Purple Coneflower thinking it might need nectar. It immediately uncurled its proboscis(a mouthpart used for sucking) and drank nectar for a minute or so and then flew off. Hurrah!!! is a great site to see how the butterflies are doing on their migration and wintering over in Mexico.
Monarch Butterfly on a Milkweed Flower

Monarch Caterpillar on Milkweed Leaf-the only leaf it eats!

Caterpillar Poop Called Frass

Brand New Monarch Butterfly Which Needed Help to get to a Nectar Source

Monarch Cat on Milkweed Flower at Moxham Mountain Trailhead Minerva,N.Y.

Sitting to Dine

Hummer and Yellow Jacket Attracted to Sugar Water

Coneflower Seeds are Adored by Goldfinches. Leave them up!

Pileated Woodpecker Looks for a Nibble

But of Course!!! A Squirrel eats a Sunflower

Fall Crop of Kale Devoured by Cabbage White Caterpillars

White-breasted Nuthatch snatches a sunflower seed

Carolina Wren had a May Brood at my Garden, September Brood at Galloway's

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Out and About: Summer Sightings

I really did not enjoy the heatwave that stretched from June thirtieth to July fifth. Six over ninety degree days was just too much. I watched my garden and bird feeders from my kitchen and was very thankful when it finally cooled off on the evening of July sixth. Back outside I have seen a lot of Monarch butterfly activity at my milkweed plants. Today is the eleventh day straight of seeing a Monarch in my garden. This morning there were two of them laying eggs and taking nectar from flowers. I haven't found a Monarch caterpillar yet though a very hairy and hungry caterpillar, that I'm not familiar with, is doing a lot of chomping. Dragonflies have been darting around, hummers are visiting the sugar water feeders and flowers and of course, chipmunks and squirrels are in the garden every day and every hour. Enjoy!
Monarch Butterfly at Milkweed Flower

Monarch Butterfly Egg on Underside of Milkweed Leaf

Milkweed Flower-So Fragrant


Milkweed Pods


Mr. Green

Swallowtail Leaving Lily

Red Admiral Butterfly