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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Maryland and a Ridgewood Reservoir update


My wife and I were out of town for a few days. We went down to Maryland, mostly for business, but we had a little down time.

Where we stayed, near Annapolis, is a county park called Quiet Waters. I've posted about it in the past. It's mostly a place where people go to run, skate or cycle as there is a very nice system of paths throughout the park. We'll always pay a visit to the park because it's close by, has nice facilities and is scenic. When my wife and brother-in-law going running in the morning, I usually do some exploring along, what is called, "The Compost Demonstration Area". Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

It's a short loop that isn't used very often by runners or anyone else, but it's great for wildlife and plants. The path is mostly wooded but creates a small loop where it deadends. There is an opening where the park displays different methods of composting. Wildflowers are abundant as are dragonflies, butterflies, bees and other insects. One corner of the loop is a small swamp that's probably manmade, but it works well as there were dozens of dragonflies present. A large thicket of wild bergamot had attracted Tiger Swallowtails and several other, much faster, butterflies.

Tiger Swallowtail on Wild Bergamot

Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Near the parking lot were several blooming Southern Magnolias. Being from New York it's an unfamiliar tree to me. Most of the magnolias around New York City are non-native "Japanese" magnolias. I usually go to Annapolis earlier and later in the year, so I haven't seen them bloom before this trip. Some of the lower flowers that I examined had an odd, elongated type of insect on the petals. It took a bit of research, but they turned out to be in the longhorn family of beetles.

Flower Longhorn (leptura obliterata)

Ospreys seemed to still be multiplying around the rivers that lead into the Chesapeake Bay. If you own a dock along your shoreline, or even rent a mooring, if an Osprey decides to build a nest on it...let's just say you'll be using another dock for a few weeks. And their nests are huge. I would imagine that, after the breeding season, they'd weigh several hundred pounds.

Great Blue Skimmer

Goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus)

While we were away, I missed one day of the Ridgewood Reservoir survey. I came back to a bird photo in my inbox sent to me by Steve. It was unlabelled but I had a good idea of the identity and was very excited. I wrote back with my guess.

Here's Heidi's reply:

"It IS a Redstart fledgling!

We actually saw the father come in and feed it!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing! Also, we had a Yellow Warbler fledgling following one of its parents around so that also confirms Yellow Warblers nesting at the reservoir! [...] We also confirmed Cedar Waxwing. We found a nest with a parent bird coming out."

Despite missing the discovery, I'm really happy that we're finding such an abundance of breeding birds at the reservoir. Now we just have to convince the city not to come in with chainsaws and level the place.

Adult male American Redstart

Fledgling redstart at reservoir

I just found another good source for insect photographs. The name of the website is Whispers in Nature. The site is primarily just images, but they are really nice, plus they have websites for other families of animals. What's That Bug? is more useful in that they cover a huge array of species. I sometimes get sucked up into subject unexpectedly and spend an inordinate amount of time studying it. While looking through the beetles on What's That Bug? I came across an insect that didn't look real, but more like something Timothy Leary hallucinated. It's called the Locust Borer. Check out these images.

Coelioxys Bee

Golden Bumble Bee

Sandhill Hornet

Thread-waisted Wasp species

Horse Nettle (solanum carolinense) and Ground Beetle (chlaenius sericeus)

1 comment:

Pamela said...

great pictures - and better yet... identified!!!

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