Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Beautiful Saturday with Friends

So what if the lawn needs to be mowed and the floors need to be swept and the bills need to be paid? It's a beautiful Saturday morning in July; a crisp, cool morning with a touch of fog, and the promise of a high of 81 and low humidity. This is a rarity not to be wasted. Housework and yard work be damned - I'm going birding!

I arrived at the Cincinnati Nature Center just before 8am to find several old bird club friends - Lola and Jim and John - already there, and Bob Foppe serving as trip leader. I met a new friend, too - Nina, of Nature Remains. Meeting Susan Gets Native in real life worked out so well, I invited Nina to meet me and Susan for Second Saturday at CNC. Unfortunately, 8:00am does not exist on Susan's clock (big wink!) but Nina and I had a good day out anyway. Maybe next time, Susan. And, Nina, it was nice to meet you.

Lotuses, at Lotus Pond, CNC

Summer birding is notoriously difficult. The lush canopy and dense undergrowth makes it hard to see birds, and since many species are busy feeding young, territorial singing drops off, so you can't even bird by ear. Even deer can be hard to see in the deep woods.

We did see and hear some good birds, including a pair of Summer Tanagers, the female with a bill full of nesting material. We had 3 flycatcher species - an Eastern Phoebe, an Eastern Wood-pewee, and an Acadian Flycatcher, one of those Empid species that you can only identify by voice. Babies abounded, from a juvenile Indigo Bunting to a phoebe feeding a cowbird chick to a family of Common Yellowthroats and best of all, a Wood Thrush nest complete with a youngster. Probably the most interesting sighting was a Belted Kingfisher flying over a field, of all things.

After the group walk broke up, around 10 o'clock, I went across the road to do my weekly field survey. Nothing much different there, except for a Yellow-breasted Chat. As usual, I have no bird photos, but I did get a few flower and butterfly photos. I am going to break one of my own rules, and post pictures of things I think I know. Usually, I wait to post till I have confirmed my ID's, so if something is mislabeled, please sing out and correct me.

I think this is Tall Bellflower. It was in a shady patch of deciduous woods, which is why I needed a flash to get a decent picture. Unfortunately, the flash washed out the color a bit.

I'm almost certain this is Common Fleabane, a member of the Asteraceae (Sunflower) family.

I'm pretty sure these butterflies are Pearl Crescents. My Golden Guide to Butterflies and Moths says they are one of the most common of butterflies, but I don't mind. I just like the orange-on-orange look of the Pearl Crescents on this Butterfly Weed.

This butterfly has to be a Spicebush Swallowtail, but it is missing its namesake feature, the "swallow tails."

All in all, it was a wonderful morning to be out enjoying all that Nature has to offer.


KGMom said...

Oh Katdoc, if I lived in Ohio and not central PA, I would have gotten up early to join you all. I am not wild about 8 a.m. myself, but your day sounds grand.
And you said it--it is SO hard to see birds in all the lush growth. I heard a mocking bird singing awahy today, and I looked 10 minutes before I could see it.

nina said...

I agree with your philosophy--grab the pretty days when you're able--those muggy/rainy ones are perfect for vacuuming and laundry!
I enjoyed so much having others (you) to bird with. As much as I wander around out here, on my own, its so much more helpful to go with others. (especially "others" with more experience) And 10 pairs of eyes can catch so much more! That was fun. This year will be "my summer of the wood thrushes".

Susan Gets Native said...

Hurrumph. You guys saw way more than the two of us did that one day, huh Kath? I have never seen a tanager of any kind. Damn.
An 8 am meeting time means getting up at 6:00 or 6:30, and on a day I don't have a program, that's against my religion.
Next time, though, and I want to meet Nina!