Tuesday, July 30, 2013

White-Tailed Deer at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land

I was awake at 5:30 AM, so I headed over to Breakneck Hill Conservation Land to see what might be moving around at that time of day.   I knew there'd be great dew in the meadow after last evening's heavy rain and was hoping for some photos with bokeh.

I had just taken a macro photo, and the click of my camera brought me face to face with a doe who lifted her head up from the deep meadow grasses.  She made a grunting warning call, and a sweet little fawn went racing away from me down the path.  So cute and such a big tail!  I couldn't get a photo of Mama at this point, because I had to change my camera settings and by then, she was in the woods.

I did catch up with her and auntie a little bit later.

Because it's hilly, much of the meadow was in shadow until the sun was up a while.  Very pretty scene!

a little sparkle

Eastern Phoebe

American Goldfinch (see all three?)
finding seeds among the meadow grasses

How can you not love this place when you see beautiful golden birds in the grasses, beautiful brilliant bluebirds in the air and trees, deer romping in the meadow and butterflies flitting among the blooms?  It makes me want to write poetry!

Small Flowered Evening Primrose
(also a favorite in fall with the goldfinches)

I didn't have as much luck with sparkling dew as I had hoped (too much shade), and I also learned that my waterproof hiking shoes are no longer waterproof!  Still, it was a beautiful start to the day!

I went back at noon to check on butterflies and tabulated the following in 45 minutes:

Cabbage white 3
Common ringlet 22
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 1
Clouded Sulphur 5
Eastern Tailed Blue 18
Pecks Skipper 2
Orange Sulphur 6
Common Wood Nymph 5
Northern Broken Dash 1
Gray Hairstreak 2
Pearl Crescent 6
Spicebush Swallowtail 2
Black Swallowtail 1
Horace's Duskywing 1
Least Skipper 1
Dun Skipper 1

Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillar (something new!)

 Pearl Crescent
(you can run, but you can't hide)

Horace's Duskywing (one of the prettier skippers)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Butterflying in Southboro

The sun finally came out around 10AM so I headed over to Southboro to take a walk.

Sudbury Reservoir Trail (near entrance to Beals Preserve)

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird on barbed wire fence

Pearl Crescent

Least Skipper

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Clouded Sulphur

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Black-Eyed Susan with Fasciation

Red-Spotted Purple 
in the mud near the cows' drinking area


Pearl Crescent

Common Ringlet

In the afternoon, I stopped at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land.

Great Spangled Fritillary

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Eastern Tailed Blue on Cow Vetch

American Goldfinch

Fighting off a pushy male who tried to get on the same thistle.

Mating Eastern-Tailed Blues

Snowberry Clearwing Moth

Spicebush Swallowtail

Spicebush Swallowtail on phlox

This last photo shows a particularly pretty section of the meadow.  You can see Goldenrod, Blue Vervain, Joe Pye Weed, Fleabane, and Queen Anne's Lace among the blooming wildflowers.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Metrowest Birds and Butterflies

Finally, some sunshine!  I knew it would be good butterflying once the sun came out, so I headed over to Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southboro first to check out what was flying in the meadows (8:30 - 10:30 AM).

Eastern Bluebird (juvenile)

White Campion

Pearl Crescent

Black Swallowtails enjoying the thistle

Spotted Knapweed

Common Ringlet

Eastern Tailed Blue

Eastern Tailed Blue

Common Wood Nymph

Black Raspberries ripening!

Downy Woodpecker

Field Bindweed or Common Morning Glory?

Gray Hairstreak (my old favorite - what a beauty!)

Eastern Tailed Blue
(another with open wings - was it because it was early morning after 2 days of rain?
  I don't know, but I love seeing the blue!)

Fruit in the orchard

Spicebush Swallowtail

Common Raven
(hanging out near the parking lot and making a really neat knocking sound)

Northern Broken Dash

Halloween Pennant

Peck's Skipper

Next, I checked in at Ashland Community Gardens in Ashland, MA.

 Cabbage White


From here, I moved on to Stearns Farm in Framingham to check the Pick-Your-Own Flower field.

Common Sootywing

Black Swallowtail

Snowberry Clearwing Moth (actually at rest)

American Goldfinch enjoying fresh sunflower seeds

On the way home, I stopped to photograph a couple of things that caught my eye.

 A patch of Large Yellow Loosestrife
at the side of the road near the Framingham/Southboro line


American Lady

And sometimes nectaring on a beautiful flower can be hazardous to your health.  These two (in my home garden) certainly are.

Around 5PM, I went back to Breakneck Hill for a 2nd, shorter hike.

Wild Indigo Duskywing on Cow Vetch

Suppertime for a fledgling Chipping Sparrow

Common Ringlet

Sometimes, the most common, plain-colored butterfly can be a thing of beauty.  In the evening light and against the muted grasses of the meadow, this Common Ringlet looked just beautiful!


One of three rabbits seen on this evening hike

Blue Dasher

Bobolink (male)
my first sighting of this species at this location!

just a few House Sparrows
(near the parking lot)

All in all, a great nature day.  Thank you for returning, Mr. Sun!  Hope to see you again tomorrow!

P.S.  I did stop at Farm Pond in Framingham and was disgusted to find that not only had they mowed the trail next to the pond, they mowed the banks and the butterfly habitat was completely destroyed.  They had beautiful blooming milkweed all along the water there.  Very sad.

Also, the morning hike at BHCL was the first time I actually kept a written count of what butterflies I was seeing.  Here is the official list that I provided to Mass Butterfly Club:

Common Ringlet  32
Spicebush Swallowtail 2
Common Wood Nymph 10
Cabbage White 10
Peck Skipper 5
Eastern Tailed Blue 11
Black Swallowtail 9
Great Spangled Fritillary 1
Orange Sulphur 4
Pearl Crescent 7
Gray Hairstreak 1
Clouded Sulphur 6
Northern Broken Dash Skipper 2
Little Glassywing 1
Silver Spotted Skipper 1
Wild Indigo Duskywing 1

And for bird species (although not numbers):

American Goldfinch
American Robin
Barn Swallow
Black-Capped Chickadee
Chipping Sparrow
Common Raven
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Bluebird
House Finch
House Sparrow
House Wren
Northern Flicker
Northern Mockingbird
Red-Tailed Hawk
Red-Winged Blackbird
Song Sparrow
Tufted Titmouse