Sunday, October 25, 2020



It's Halloween week!

An excellent time for long leaf-kicking walks.

Wildlife raids on decorations. Click to enlarge.

Suburban turkey sightings.

And other fun stuff.

Celebrate safely, my friends!

Sunday, October 18, 2020

2020 Amphibian and Reptile Review


I don't have the well developed sensitivity for spotting reptiles and amphibians that I have for birds, so I don't see nearly as many. Their ability to evade detection by sitting still and the use of outright camouflage probably also helps them avoid me. Exhibit one is the above photo of a deftly concealed leopard frog. Click to enlarge.

Then there are Fowler's toads that are abundant in New Jersey and that I suspect see me much more often than I see them. They blend in and sit still. Do you see one in this photo?

See it now?

Well played, hidden toad!

Adding to my roundup of amphibians and reptiles I've seen this year that haven't yet made it into a blog, I give you the red eared slider turtle. I often see them basking in the sun like those above. Basking is good for them: it helps them regulate their body temperature; make vitamin D; and dry their shells, which wards off problems with fungi, algae, and parasites.

Here's a painted turtle that I met on a sandy path in the pine barrens. I've been known to pull off a road when I see one of these trying to cross, and go back to pick it up and carry it safely to the other side.

Lastly, this week I was working in the yard on a sunny day and made a pile a leaves. When I picked up the pile later this little garden snake had crawled underneath. What a perfect spot for a snake: concealed, damp, and warmed by the sun.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Autumn Leaves

"How beautiful the leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days." ------- John Burroughs

Autumn is awesome. Click to enlarge.

What the heck -- one more. :-)

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Pine Barrens Gentian

This week I made my yearly September trip to the New Jersey pine barrens to look for rare and beautiful pine barrens gentians. Found them.

The buds remind me of Tiffany vases.

Click to enlarge.

There's a caterpillar on this one. I think it's a yellow-striped armyworm. It was not eating and seemed to be trying to get down. Here's hoping it dislikes gentians and goes off and finds itself a tasty invasive plant.

Pine barrens gentians bloom from September through mid-October in New Jersey, depending on local conditions. One more reason to take a long walk in the pinelands.