Sunday, July 25, 2021



I saw this northern water snake lounging on a tangle of branches on the shore of a pond in a park in Evesham Township, New Jersey. It was about four feet long. Big! The northern water snake feeds on fish and amphibians, which it swallows alive. These snakes are supposed to be common in the eastern United States, especially in the north -- but I rarely see them. I think it's draped nicely over the branches, like the pose of a snake on a caduceus. Click to enlarge the photo and follow its long twining tail through the twigs. Blends in, doesn't it?

And a nice zinnia for color. Zinnias are having their moment right now.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Golden Northern Bumblebee

One of the great things about summer -- golden northern bumblebees on red zinnias.

This is my favorite bee: so fluffy, so pretty, so eye-catchingly yellow-all-over. The golden northern bumblebee is an American native, found mainly in the northern states and particularly in the northeast.

 Click to enlarge.

It's just as pretty on pink zinnias.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Eastern Eyed Click Beetle


Sometimes all I have to do it sit still outside and a blog subject lands next to me. Like this eastern eyed  click beetle. It's about an inch and a half long. It has spots on top that look like eyes. They aren't, although they might fool a would-be predator into thinking the beetle is much larger, like proportionate to the big eye spots. (Which are just spots.) This is known as "self mimicry' wherein a body part mimics another. And the click? That part of the beetle's common name comes from its trick of snapping itself upright with an audible clicking sound if it has been turned on its back or just needs to get away fast. The click and the snap can startle -- long enough for a beetle in danger to escape. Click to enlarge.

With a pink zinnia for color.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Happy 4th of July


No blog today, just some holiday-appropriate red, white, and blue local birds. Like this perky northern cardinal gathering a gift of grapes. Click to enlarge.

A great egret in a sultry summer pond.

And a handsome insouciant blue jay. Have a great holiday! Click to enlarge.