Sunday, June 27, 2021

Raccoon This Morning


I woke up early today. So early that not all the creatures of the night had settled down to sleep. Like this raccoon lounging in the maple tree in my yard.

Looks very relaxed, right? I was going to blog about something else today but raccoons in the yard take precedence over everything.

I went out to take a closer look and the raccoon pulled its arm in, backed up, sat still, and did a raccoon mind trick: "This is not the raccoon you are looking for.You can go about your business. Move along." Then it turned around, curled up with its back to the door and disappeared. Click on the photos to enlarge.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Suummer Is Here

Today marks the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Let the easy season begin. 

It's time for bees in flowers. Here is a golden northern bumble bee in a rose. It's a favorite bee of mine for which I obsessively search all summer long. Click to enlarge.  

And a haiku for the occasion by Kobayashi Issa:     
the sky colors
of dawn have changed
to summer clothes

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Meet Brood X


The 17-year periodical cicadas we were expecting are here. I saw lots of them this week in Central New Jersey at Sourland Mountain, Skillman, and all over Princeton. If you'd like to see them, head to any park in those areas. Or maybe visit Grovers Mill in West Windsor Township. (The town in which the imaginary alien invasion was set in the War of the Worlds.) Click to enlarge.

After spending 17 years underground in dark quiet, the cicadas have these few weeks in the sun to sing, and fly, and mate. I am thrilled to witness the spectacle.

You hear them before you see them. At first they sound like the familiar cicadas of August, but as you get close, they get loud, really loud, because there are so many of them. At full volume the high whirring song makes me think of spaceships landing.

For South Jersey people who would like to search for Brood X locally, they were reported during the last emergence in 2004 in Stockton, Marlton, and Browns Mills. 

Here's to Brood X. See you in 2038.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Baby Snapper!


It's a baby snapping turtle on a bed of sphagnum moss. Cute, right? I found it yesterday in a shady spot near a shallow stream in the New Jersey pine barrens. Click to enlarge.

It was small enough to pick up without risking a bite. We took a look and then put it back where we found it, no doubt causing it to wonder what the heck had just happened. 

It will grow up like this. According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, adult common snapping turtles range from 8 to 35 pounds and can live up to 30 or 40 years.

Here's hoping the little one makes it to the year 2061 and becomes a wise old turtle.