What are You Looking at?

The black squirrels are common along the riverbank.  But they’re rarely near enough that I bother to take their picture.  I must admit that there are a number of things – squirrels, robins, dandelions – that I don’t bother to memorialize here.  One of the things I’ve noticed is how selective I can be and ignore the plants or creatures I don’t really find interesting!  But this one got into a tree and, when I stood next to it, was too frightened to go back to where he’d come from.

black-squirrel

Blue Skimmer

We found an area with a lot of frogs and I was down there investigating the other afternoon, the dog patiently standing by.  This blue creature flew past and I eventually tracked it down to the nearby goldenrod stalks.  It happily sat there in the sun, not bothered at all by either the dog or my approach.  It is a Twelve Spotted Skimmer ( Libellula pulchella ) and the picture doesn’t do justice to the blue color of its back and wings.  It’s a large dragonfly, probably 6″ from tip to tip.

twleve-spotted-skimmer-dragonfly-summer-blue-black-spots

Raspberries

The raspberries are almost irresistable now.  They are just ripening and these black raspberries ( Rubus occidentalis ) aren’t going to last long.  If we didn’t grow red raspberries at home, I would be tempted to stop and have some.  I suppose its better to leave them for the animals.

black-raspberries-red-raspberries-summer

Diseased Limb

This repulsive object was growing around a stick and caught my attention.  It looks like a dog turd, in color and rounded shape.  At first I wondered if it might have been applied by someone, like mud.  But it appears to be called Black Knot ( Dibotryon morbosum ) and is a disease that grows in these black lumps.

black-knot-diseased-branch-black-lump-tree-summer

Damsels and Dragons

I am not certain what this is.  The damsel fly and dragon fly are similar insects and the nuances of the wings escape me.  If I were to guess, I’d say a dragon fly because of the broadening at the wing tip.  I will have to do some more reading!

In any event, this one alit on a leaf nearby and waited long enough for me to snap its photo.

black-dragonfly-damselfly-spring-green-leaf

Blackbird in Tree Top

Perhaps singing a song of sixpence but definitely not in a pie.  This fellow was high up in a blue sky, chirping away.  It looks like a run of the mill blackbird but I admit I didn’t spend much time watching it.  The song caught my attention and then I listened as we kept along the path.

blackbird-singing-top-of-tree-spring

Gathering Nectar

Someone mentioned they’d also seen Baltimore orioles along the path, and that they were hovering around the fruit tree blossom and honeysuckles, looking for nectar.  I have only seen one oriole, underway, but the bees are out already.  It seems a bit early, as we have had very cold nights and frost but there were large bumblebees and smaller ones busying visiting the honeysuckles.

bumblebee-honeysuckle-spring

Moth Larvae in a Tent

The tent caterpillar is actually moth larvae.  It is one of the things I find rather disgusting along the river.  It’s not the individual caterpillars but the writhing mass that I always seem to find them in.  These seem to have just appeared out of nowhere.

tent-worms-caterpillars-tree-nest-spring

Goose on Guard

The nesting goose has disappeared and I hope it’s because the gosling hatched and not because it was chased off.  A goose was further upriver, standing on one leg on a stone in the middle of the water.  It raised its head momentarily but seemed to realize it was pretty safe from any predator.

canada-goose-standing-one-leg-spring-stone-river

Blown Up Blackbird

I am a big fan of the red-winged blackbird ( Agelaius phoeniceus ).  The yellow and red wing stripes are pretty, they have a unique call, and herald the long-awaited spring.  There’s something a bit jaunty about them.  Their call is distinctive and a bit jarring.  This one was sitting on a tree branch, and I tried to capture him in mid-puff, with his chest out, head up, shoulders back, and his colored plumage showing a bit of how round he was.

red-winged-blackbird-in-mid-call-spring

Weekend Sleep In

The Canada geese have started nesting.  I noticed this one soon after it started sitting, and have now seen another one along the railway further south.  This bird was still in a restful pose although the sun had been up for an hour and many joggers would have passed by on the bridge.  There was a lone goose further up river and I wonder if that is the mate of this.

canada-gooose-on-nest-morning-spring-late-riser