Sunday, May 19, 2019

Dragon's Mouth Orchid

In honor of tonight's Game of Thrones finale, I give you the dragon's mouth orchid, Arethusa bulbosa. I found this one growing on the edge of a pine barrens bog a few days ago. GOT is ending but South Jersey's wild orchid season has just begun. Click to enlarge.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day!

 A crowded nest of great egrets, Ardea alba.
The kids are acting up. 
Click to enlarge. 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

My Favorite Bee

The Golden Northern Bumble Bee, Bombus fervidus. Ta Da!
Big and fuzzy with a lot of yellow -- the teddy bear of bees.
It is also called the Yellow Bumble Bee. I look for them all summer long, but rarely see them, even though I live within their range across the northern states of the U.S. The USDA Forest Service and Pollinator Partnership publication Bumble Bees of the Eastern United States (click on the title to see it) says Bombus fervidus is uncommon, so maybe it's not just me. That's one fine looking bumble bee. Click to enlarge.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Favorite Vulture Quotes

Black vultures, Coragyps atratus, are dramatic looking birds. They're big, with just over a five foot wingspan, and have creepy looking featherless skin heads, the better to eat carrion with. Click to enlarge for a closer look.
A couple of vulture quotes: 

"Fear the vulture, and the vulture will come. Fear nothing, and you are the vulture." Suzy Kassem

"Don't play dead with the vulture. That's exactly what they want." Kevin Nealon

And a couple of vulture jokes: 

Two vultures eating a dead clown. First vulture says to the other, "does this taste funny to you?"

A vulture boards a plane with three dead mice. The flight attendant says,"I'm sorry, only two carrions per passenger." 


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Spring Colors

I have the most remarkable palette of colors among the photos in my camera right now, of things I've photographed this week. First there was a peach orchard along a road near Hammonton, NJ. Click to enlarge.
Then a "blue hole" at Winslow, New Jersey, a tropical-looking lake in a abandoned quarry fringed with pines.
Then I picked a bowl of fresh spring violets.
And made jelly with them!

Lovely colors, aren't they? Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote this about spring:

Everything is blooming most recklessly; If it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night. 


Sunday, April 7, 2019

Onion Mystery Solved

I was planting wildflower seedlings outside and I kept smelling onions. I looked around for onion grass, you know, those clumps of slender hollow green stems that grow everywhere and smell like onions when you step on them? Found none. There were just some simple pale lavender flowers like the one above. I didn't recognize this flower, but was able to identify it as a spring starflower, Ipheion uniflorum. Click to enlarge.
Guess what made the identification easy -- the grassy leaves of spring starflowers smell like onions when crushed.
So I'm adding this to the list of flowers I know. I read that spring starflowers are native to Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile, but planted here as ornamentals. The ones around my place seem to have become established in the grass. They are short lived and will be gone by summer.