Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy Fourth of July!

A holiday meal of grapes for the red cardinal. He took every one of them home.
An elegant egret, white and sleek. Click to enlarge.
And a blue jay. (There's a color coded message here.)
Remember when the Grinch stole Christmas but it came anyway? Happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Turkey Vulture

A turkey vulture showing off its good side.
The other side is pretty much the same. Notice how you can see right through the nose. It has no septum! The big nostrils plus a big olfactory lobe contribute to the turkey vulture's good sense of smell, which is uncommon among birds; it helps them locate the carrion they eat. Click to enlarge.
Grooming a feather. Keeping clean.
The red featherless face might not look great to us, but it makes it easier to clean up after sticking one's head inside carrion.
The turkey vulture. Well designed.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Father's Day and Happy Solstice

It's a two holiday weekend. Here is a handsome male mallard to wish everyone a happy father's day. Click to enlarge.
And a summer flower for the solstice that marks the longest day of the year. Remember in December when the sun was setting before 5:00? Around here, it's setting just after 8:30 these days. Yay! 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Puddling Butterflies

Two of many spicebush swallowtail butterflies that I saw during a socially distanced walk in a park this week. Click to enlarge.
I was at this lovely spot in the New Jersey pine barrens.
When I noticed little dark things fluttering on the shore of the lake.
They turned out to be spicebush swallowtail butterflies congregating on the mud to suck up minerals. The behavior is called mud-puddling or just puddling. Other insects puddle, but it is conspicuous and cool when big butterflies like this do it.
They flew up when I got too close.
But settled back down again.
I love stumbling upon things like this!
So pretty.
And there were dozens more butterflies around. Sometimes you are just lucky and end up in a park on a spicebush swallowtail puddling day.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Pitcher Plant Flowers

I found purple pitcher plants flowering in the rain last week on the edge of a bog in the New Jersey pine barrens.
Downward facing flowers with thick red petals.
I had to crawl underneath to see a face.
Gracefully curving stems.
A strange pterodactyl of a flower.
Click on the photos to enlarge. 
The insect-trapping pitchers at the base of the flowers are well developed, too. Note the new little ball of a flower beginning to rise on a red stem in the left rear of the photo.  Pitcher plants -- one of many great things to see in the Jersey pine barrens.

Sunday, May 31, 2020


I visited a park in the New Jersey pine barrens this week, planning for a picnic lunch. I'd forgotten that although the parks are open, the picnic areas are closed. This picnic pavilion was festooned with caution tape. Click to enlarge.
I peeked inside one of the closed buildings and took this picture of the roof. It's pretty, right? Nicely built by an anonymous carpenter. And the wood patterns are lovely. Frank Lloyd Wright once said: "Wood is universally beautiful to man. It is the most humanly intimate of all materials."
And with a little tweak from Photoshop...
It turns into twisty designs.
So I spent most of a rainy day twirling and flipping to make images like this.
Here's another series. Looks carved, doesn't it?
And one more...
All from this. By the way, had a picnic in the car and it was fun. I hope everything starts to look up everywhere soon. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Memorial Day

Beverly National Cemetery in Burlington County, New Jersey.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

from For the Fallen (1914)
by Laurence Binyon

I will be back to nature blogging next week. Have a safe holiday.