Sunday, September 20, 2020

Autumnal Equinox on Tuesday

Meteorologists consider September first the beginning of autumn. Astronomically, autumn begins at the autumnal equinox; that's will happen this coming Tuesday. Either way you look at it, it's autumn. Let's hope for a season like the poet John Keats called "a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" with all the peace and harmony that image evokes. Click to enlarge the photo.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Praying Mantis


My pot of begonias is looking good. Click to enlarge.

Wait. What's that?

A trap! There's a mantis lurking in there!

This Chinese mantis picked a lovely spot to sit and wait for unsuspecting begonia-visiting inset prey.

I didn’t notice the mantis until AFTER I watered the flowers. Oops. Sorry. See the water drops on its face and back? Does it look mad?

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Poison Ivy


I've had an annoying case of poison ivy through most of August. During weeks slathered with salves and lotions, I learned a few things about it, which I will relate. To begin with, as shown in the photo above, poison ivy has a compound leaf with three leaflets, giving rise to the warning: Leaves of Three -- Let it Be!

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Silver-spotted Skipper Butterfly


The silver-spotted skipper is a fast-moving little butterfly that ranges over most of the United States. They are abundant right now near me in southern New Jersey near Philadelphia, PA. The mostly brown butterfly has a white patch on the underside of the rear wing that makes it easy to recognize. Also look for gold spots on the forewing, peeking out in the photo above. They typically hold their wings folded up except when flying. The wingspan is about two inches. Click to enlarge.

According to the website Butterflies and Moths of North America (click here to visit the site), silver-spotted skippers rarely visit yellow flowers, going more for the pink, purple, red and blue ones. Having heard that, I'll be keeping my eyes open for rogue silver-spotted skippers defying expectations to dine on yellow flowers. Watch here for photo documentation if I find any.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Wild Orchids


I found this wild rose pogonia orchid on the shore of a lake where the water reflects white clouds. I'm just now getting around to bragging about my sightings of these summer orchids. They bloom in the New Jersey pine barrens from mid-June through early July.

Here's one close up. The lower lip is bearded with a colorful fringe. It is easy to understand its common name of snake mouth orchid.

Sunday, August 9, 2020



I was up early yesterday. Apparently earlier than raccoons settle down to sleep for the day, as I spotted this one gazing out of a tree near me. After taking this picture, I ducked away to watch, and then...