Friday, June 25, 2010

A broken record...

I've said it before, and will say it again. In fact, I'm saying right now. You just never know what you will see out here.

I just took a quick call from my husband. I went outside to get a better signal and sat down in the shade in the front yard. As we were talking, I see a deer walk out of the wetland area near the bench at the top of the driveway. Wow! She is beautiful! She stops near the culvert area on the driveway, but something is still moving. I look very hard at this deer and say to my husband, I think there is a fawn there too! In fact, I think it is a very small fawn and it appears to by nursing! Wow again! I have never seen this before! It reminded my of a little lamb - the tail wagging in happiness, the head butting in impatience. This went on only for a few minutes then the doe started to walk off. Then everything became clear. Not just one tiny fawn, but two.

I have the best job in the whole world.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sizzleing Summertime

Boy, it's been hot, hasn't it? So hot it just makes you want to stay in the air conditioning, right? I really can't blame you. I like to stay in the cool nature center, and one can often find Tom in the even cooler basement! Many of the animals we like to see at the preserve cannot be seen when it is this hot. Turtles, snakes, and frogs are staying in the water to keep cool. Many of our feathered friends are done nesting and are pretty quiet.

There are a few animals that LOVE the hot weather. They are particularly colorful and engaging too. Dragonflies and damselflies are the most active during the hottest part of the day, and we cannot forget the butterflies.

The best place right now to observe all of these animals is the boardwalk. The button bush has just begun to bloom, and it is one of the best butterfly attracting plants that I have come across. Also on the boardwalk trail are tons of dragonflies and damselflies.

Adjacent to the boardwalk trail is the wet meadow. Although the best is yet to come (in terms of flowers) it is still an interesting place. Just the other day I observed a Monarch Butterfly laying eggs on some Swamp Milkweed.

It's a little early this year, but our native Rhododendron is blooming now. This is not a blow-out year, but there are many very nice clusters of blossoms.

Here is my list of current bloomers:
Lizard's Tail
Trumpet Creeper
Swamp Rose
Monkey Flower
Swamp Milkweed
Button bush
Enchanter's Nightshade
Great Laural Rhododendron
Red and Pink Bee Balm
Purple Coneflower (just starting)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Guided Programs

A quick word on our guided walks and other programs. At the very bottom of the page you'll see a list of upcoming programs. I have this set up so the next 8 programs will be listed. There are a couple of errors with this, and I have no idea why they are occurring or how to fix it. So here is the info you need to know.

1. All of our Discovery Walks start at 1:00pm. They usually last an hour and a half to two hours.

2. The upcoming Reptile Workshop starts at 11:00am and goes until 3:00pm. For this program you can bring a sack lunch with you.

3. "Nature's Bug Zappers", a program all about bats, is in the evening from 6:00pm until 8:00pm.

4. Our programs are in 2010 and 2011, not 3910 and 3911. (obviously)

As always if you have any questions, you can call us!

Friday, June 11, 2010


It has been confirmed! Our newly found fern species is..........Botryichium matricariifolium! It looks like the accepted common name is matricary grapefern. Here are some pics. By the way, it is not very big only a few inches tall.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Nature Walk

Sometimes you just want to hike. Go fast. Just be outside. There are other times when you have to force yourself to slow down and look at what's around you. That's what I did yesterday. I hadn't been out on the trails in a while and I wanted to to see what what going on. Sometimes we get in the mindset that not much in happening in the woods in the summer. I think that is just because the plants are so dominant. We can't see the forest for the trees sort of speak. The lesson is no matter what season, the slower you go and the more focused you are, the more you will see!

I ended up seeing and hearing a lot more than I thought I would by doing just that. I waited until the rain had stopped and set out. The birds had the same idea - they were everywhere and loud too! Lots of Wood Thrushes and Red-eyed Vireos. I also heard the Black and White Warbler, Wood Pee-wees, and Ovenbirds.

The main flower in bloom right now is Ghost Pipe. And I mean there are gobs of it everywhere! Really, everywhere. There was a spot along the Cassa Burro Trail where the ground was literally dotted with white! Actually, for a plant that is just white, it looked really awesome yesterday. When I was walking, everything was so dark and misty and green. The pure white color really stood out.

All this rain we've had has brought out a lot of interesting mushrooms too. I saw puffballs and some coral fungus among others. Fungus is a world I have yet to delve into.

I found a snail, spiders, and of course the ever present deer flies. There are a couple of places along the trails where there are newer canopy openings, and on sunny days they are great places to see dragonflies like the Gray Petaltail.

Speaking of dragonflies, the next couple of days will be great for seeing those guys. Nice and warm and lots of sunshine will bring them out. Already today I've seen a bunch, and even had the Swamp Darner land on me! Ebony Jewelwing damselflies are a real treat to see along the trail.

Oh, a few more things in bloom:
Orange Butterflyweed
Purple Milkweed
Poke Milkweed
Lizard's Tail

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"Blooms" Update

Thanks to a phone call and a curious visitor, I realized there were quite a few things in bloom that may prove interesting to you. Although we are still in that "green and white" period, there is a splash of color here and there.

Venus's Looking-Glass
Smooth Penstemon
Green Dragon
Sweet-scented Water Lily
Mock Orange
Deptford Pink

Just for fun, here's a pic of Lake Odonata in the summer.