Saturday, May 30, 2015

Butterflies and Bobolinks

A short walk around the meadows at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land yielded the following birds and butterflies:

Peck's Skipper

Baltimore Oriole

Clouded Sulphur

Eastern Tailed-Blue

Dreamy Duskywing
Thanks to Sue C. for confirmation of ID.

Little Wood Satyr

Dusted Skipper
(Thanks to Sue C. for providing the ID)

Tree Swallow

In the evening, I took a short walk at Chestnut Hill Farm.

Dame's Rocket

I thought this was wild phlox, but I have since learned that phlox has five petals (like the number of letters in its name), and Dame's Rocket has four petals.  Learned something new yet again!

Bobolink (female)

Bobolink (male)

Common Ringlet

Butterflies at Hopkinton State Park

Hoping for some baby ducks or geese, I headed to Hopkinton State Park yesterday for my lunch break.  Boy, were there a lot of people there swimming, hiking, walking dogs and pushing baby carriages.  It was noisy, and I did not find a single baby duck.  There were about 12 Canada geese, all adults, and they are not very interesting to me.

I did see the following butterflies and dragonflies:

Not sure about the ID on this one

 American Copper

 Eastern Tailed-Blue

 Common Ringlet

 Pearl Crescent and Peck's Skipper

This is the little stream bed I walk around, down one side and up the other.  It's a good spot for wildlife.

 Blue-Eyed Grass

 Common Whitetail (female)

 Stream Cruiser


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Viceroy at BHCL

Breakneck Hill Conservation Land has two types of vetch:  cow vetch and common vetch.

Cow Vetch

Common Vetch

I learned something really neat on Facebook this week.  Cow Vetch has another common name, Bird Vetch.  And look at a close up of the flower -- it looks like birds (hummingbirds, in my opinion) nectaring along the stem of the plant.  How cool is that?  I am amazed at what I don't see when I look at things.  I am grateful for the other people who possess greater powers of observation and point out these interesting features!

"Bird" Vetch (aka Cow Vetch closeup)

Sulphur Cinquefoil

 Dwarf Cinquefoil

 Common Ringlet on Spotted Cranesbill


 Peck's Skipper on Buttercup


Turtles at Waseeka Wildlife Sanctuary

I took a morning (pre-work) hike at Waseeka Wildlife Sanctuary in Hopkinton.

Common Pondhawk (female)

There were three turtles along the path on the dam this morning.  One was actively digging; another was still; and a third ran back to the water as I walked towards it.  Two were Eastern Painted Turtles and one was a Snapping Turtle.  This is the first time I have come across this behavior, and I was fascinated.  The hole was quite deep beneath the rear legs of the turtle that was digging.  I wish I could have set up a time lapse and recorded the whole thing!

 Turtle #1 - Eastern Painted


White-Spotted Sable Moth

 Turtle #2 - Eastern Painted
Definitely preparing to lay eggs

Common Yarrow

possible Eastern Forktail 
(older female)

Turtle #3 - Snapping Turtle
with a face only a mother could love

 Eastern Forktail (male)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak (and more!) at BHCL

Some days stand out more than others.  Today was one of those days.  It was warm (already in the low 70s at 6:30AM and well into the 80s by lunchtime), mostly sunny and breezy today.  Here are the gorgeous highlights, all from Breakneck Hill Conservation Land:

 Eastern Bluebird

 Belties at the pond

 Baltimore Oriole

 Is that a baby bunch of grapes?

 American Goldfinch

I was standing still, watching a pair of Baltimore Orioles flit from tree to tree, hoping that one would stop in an open spot so I could get a photo.  While I was standing there, a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak popped up out of the thicket, stopped on this open branch, with the morning sun lighting it up perfectly and posed for me, while it sang a few beautiful, crystal clear notes.  Made my walk.  This bird has always escaped me in the past, offering only glimpses, or backlit photos.  I love this photo!!

 Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

I never had time to notice the brown on the wings before.  What a beautiful bird!

 Eastern Kingbird

 Golden Alexander

 Eastern Wood-Peewee

Meadow Goat's Beard aka Jack-Go-to-Bed-at-Noon
(thanks to Josh again for correcting my ID)

I went back and double-checked which hike I had photographed this flower (a species introduced from Europe) because as the second name indicates, it only bloom for a couple hours in the morning and closes up tight by noon.  I had photographed it during my morning hike (prior to 8AM).  Interesting!  I like both of its common names!

 Indigo Bunting
He was working on that troublesome feather in between songs!

Dwarf Bluestar

 Eastern Bluebird with nesting materials

 Peck's Skipper (first of year)

 Barn Swallow (in the community gardens)

 Cedar Waxwing (one of several in the orchard)


 Silvery Blue

 Spotted Cranesbill

American Crow
just dive-bombed by a Northern Mockingbird

Those are some pretty amazing birds in two short walks!  Don't you just love Breakneck Hill Conservation Land?

Species list:

  1. American Crow
  2. American Goldfinch
  3. American Robin
  4. Baltimore Oriole
  5. Barn Swallow
  6. Black-Capped Chickadee
  7. Blue Jay
  8. Brown-Headed Cowbird
  9. Cedar Waxwing
  10. Chipping Sparrow
  11. Eastern Bluebird
  12. Eastern Kingbird
  13. Eastern Wood-Peewee
  14. European Starling
  15. Gray Catbird
  16. Great Blue Heron (flyover)
  17. House Sparrow
  18. Indigo Bunting
  19. Mourning Dove
  20. Northern Mockingbird
  21. Red-Tailed Hawk
  22. Red-Winged Blackbird
  23. Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
  24. Song Sparrow
  25. Tree Swallow
  26. Warbling Vireo (song only)
  1. American Copper
  2. Black Swallowtail
  3. Cabbage White
  4. Clouded Sulphur
  5. Common Ringlet
  6. Little Wood Satyr
  7. Orange Sulphur
  8. Pearl Crescent
  9. Peck's Skipper
  10. Silvery Blue