Sunday, September 29, 2019

Pine Barrens Gentians

I am feeling smug about having found rare pine barrens gentians. These blue autumn flowers are natives of North American coastal pine barrens from South Carolina to New Jersey. This patch was growing beside a bog near Chatsworth, New Jersey.
Some people think the pine barrens gentian is the most beautiful native flower in New Jersey.  Click to enlarge.
Love the dots on the petals like fairy dust.
The flower bud looks to me like an Art Nouveau vase. 
I found an even more rare pink one!
This one is being visited by a common branded skipper moth, Hesperia comma.
Pine barrens gentians bloom from September through early November. They are likely to sprout up in areas that have been disturbed by fire or other things.
Gentian hunting is a great excuse to take a walk in the pine barrens. It's time.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Praying Mantis

Here are some of the praying mantises of the summer of 2019.
This one is doing a good job of blending in.
Watching me. Click to enlarge.
A poem by Ogden Nash: 

From whence arrived the praying mantis? 
From outer space or lost Atlantis?
glimpse the grin, green metal mug
at masks the pseudo-saintly bug,
Orthropterous, also carnivorous,
And faintly whisper, Lord deliver us. 

The other day a mantis appeared on one of my windows. I took its picture, just a silhouette without the usual tangled background of leaves. It was easy to isolate with Photoshop to make graphics like this one. Reminds me of the Karate Kid in this pose.
And this. Gotta love a little mantis art, right?

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Yellow-Collared Scape Moth

I've seen a few of these while watching butterflies this week. It's a little moth with the scientific name Cisseps fulvicollis. They're hard to miss because of the bright collar. Some have orange collars like this one. Click to enlarge.
Here's one with a yellow collar. The moth's common name is the yellow-collared scape moth. Ironically, there are more orange than yellow ones. Luckily, an alternative common name is sometimes used. Did you guess orange-collared scape moth? Correct! I wrote a blog about this one years ago. You can read it by clicking here.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Peach Season

I went peach picking this week in southern New Jersey. It was cool in the shade and hot in the sun with a light refreshing breeze. A perfect day for picking peaches. Click to enlarge.
The orchard was full of lovely twisted trees covered with ripe easy-to-reach fruit. 
I learned that picking peaches is much easier than picking blueberries. Click here to read about my blueberry adventure in July.
I came home with about 20 pounds of peaches.
I made peach jam that tastes like summer in a jar.
It's delicious.
And I saw this lovely orange variegated fritillary butterfly, Euptoieta claudia
... and an orange flower that looks like a harbinger of autumn.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Happy Labor Day!

A black swallowtail caterpillar eating dill. Click to enlarge. It's posing like the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland.
A black swallowtail butterfly. It is the official state butterfly of New Jersey.
Nature blogs are so easy in summer.