Sunday, July 14, 2024

Sunday Morning Walk in the Pine Barrens


I took a walk in the pine barrens near Chatsworth, NJ, this morning. It was hot but lovely.

Some of the old cranberry bogs were full of fragrant white water lilies. Thousands of them. Click to enlarge.

Some of the bogs were full of clouds.

 The sky is twice as pretty that way, but it feels a little topsy-turvy. Like going through the pine barrens looking glass. 

Dead trees loom from some bogs, like the masts of sunken ships.

The working cranberry farms have red pumping stations and wide open spaces.
This gnarly old tree was up to its knees in a blue bog. Like an Ent on vacation.
Fabulous scenery.

More fabulous scenery.

And a tiny toad. I think it's a fowler's toad, one of many that were hopping along the paths today. This one is so small that it could sit on a dime and not hang over the edges!

Here's a picture with a ballpoint pen for scale. The cutest tiny toad ever, right?

And here's an eastern painted turtle. Check out its pretty orange trim. 

The New Jersey pine barrens. Close. Free. Full of beautiful and interesting things.

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Harvester Butterfly


Behold the Harvester butterfly! Click to enlarge. Its wingspan is just over an inch. It has black and white ringed antennae and white-ringed eyes. It sits with its wings closed over its back, so we see the underside, which is orange-brown with darker spots edged in faint white. This is the first Harvester I've ever seen, although I have been looking for years. The small, uncommon butterfly is famous for being the only strictly carnivorous butterfly we know of. In its caterpillar stage it eats aphids, scale insects, and treehoppers. Female Harvesters lay eggs in colonies of these insects, so when a little Harvester caterpillar hatches, it is surrounded by tasty prey. 

The Harvester was sitting on a low branch overhanging this pretty pond. Nice place he's got there, eh?