Foliose lichen on birch -- Parmelia, probably P. sulcata (thanks to GORGEous nature for the ID).
A nice cooperative bird. Not the best shot, but I was pleased s/he let me get close enough to get this.
Just another friendly bug. I think I'm getting the hang of this!
"Polymorphism," huh? We always just called it plain old ... oh, never mind.
Sandy got a good shot of these guys too: www.flickr.com/photos/sandybird/17142281/
Looking a little the worse for the wear, but still a beautiful butterfly.
I love the colors in the hindwing. Macro here. Wingspan ~6 cm.
I'm actually not sure if this is a Clouded or an Orange Sulphur, but I think such an orangy ventral forewing, especially on a female, probably indicates Orange. Wingspan ~5 cm.
Tiny! (~2.5 cm wingspan). The top surface is blue; the bottom is this beautifully patterned pale grey.
Tiny little guys (~3 cm). Female (left) & male (right). They were definitely going about together. The female was slowly fanning her wings when I took this, while the male was just sitting there.
For Pearl vs Northern Crescent, I think these would be considered Pearl. The orange area in the hindwing here has some black lines, rather than being more open like a typical Northern. The only Northern records in NJ are in the NW highlands (this is SW lowlands). And Pearl usually have black antennal clubs (unlike the female here), but not always.
However, the plot thickens: turns out "Pearl Crescent" may actually be 2 species. Apparently some of the "Pearl Crescents" with orange club tips may actually be a separate species, called variously the Pearl Crescent Intermediate Form or the Summer Crescent. So the female here might be an example of one of these.
See excellent detailed discussion here from outdoors2magic.
But the male has black club tips, & thus looks like a bona fide Pearl. So if these individuals are different species, shouldn't somebody tell them that? (Granted, I didn't actually see them mating, just keeping company.) And if they have separate flight times, why am I seeing them together?
Lots of these around -- finally got a decent shot. They seemed to favor this white Butterfly Bush -- I wonder if they have an instinct to go for white flowers so their white spot works as camouflage? Much larger than the grass skippers (altho still much smaller than the swallowtails & larger brushfoots; wing ~3 cm long), and very aggressive. In fact, I believe I saw one chase away a Monarch 5X its size.
Not a great shot, but posting it to JerseyBirders because it came from Mike Britt's Owl Prowl. I got the only saw-whet of the entire state-wide effort. No whitewash or pellets; just looked up into a bazillion trees, & there was a ball of fluff in the bazillion-&-1st. Sound asleep; barely stirred even with 5 people traipsing around under his tree. Uniform 2nd-growth E Juniper, ~25'' hi.
Taken with an Olympus C3040Z handheld thru an 8x40 binocular lens. ("The amazing thing about a dancing bear is not how gracefully it dances, but that it dances at all." Actually, the technique often gives surprisingly good results, but not this time.)
Had a pair of black vultures at Great Swamp on Sun 3/27/05, along the White Bridge Rd/Pleasant Plains Rd entrance. And this one could not possibly have chosen a more picturesque perch! Seems to be a favorite spot, too, judging from the whitewash. Wish I'd gotten a better shot. Life bird for me, too (I'm new to NJ). Was surprised to see them here -- figured I'd have to get out to the Delaware.
E Phoebes are back. It's spring!
The Stateline Hawkwatch is in N NJ at the highest point along the Palisades (the very impressive basalt-column cliffs lining the lower Hudson River). It is one of several hawkwatches in the state that are manned during migration season; their counts of raptors and other birds supply valuable conservation data. They are positioned on strategic corridors favored by migrating raptors where the local topography creates updrafts or thermals that the birds use to gain altitude. The birds often circle up within a thermal, then glide down until they catch the next one, thus conserving energy.
All that being said, this is nothing as exciting as a migrating hawk -- just one of the local Turkey Vultures, which are extremely fond of soaring on thermals (flapping is practically against their religion). But they were soaring very close to the overlook, affording excellent looks (including views from above).
At Seeley's Pond, Watchung. Digiscoped thru binocs.
Also a shot of the hawk being mobbed by a pair of blue jays: www.flickr.com/photos/anitagould/7995152/
Field Guide group:
Posted as a placeholder; will gladly withdraw it in favor of a decent shot!
Voices in the Wilderness group:
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead
Technique-wise this photo leaves a lot to be desired -- ok, let's be honest, it leaves everything to be desired. :-) But I am posting it to the Voices in the Wilderness pool to remind us all that Success Happens, too. This species was brought back from the brink of extinction, & is now coexisting well with man -- even finding a new niche controlling pigeon populations in our cities.
Thank you to NJ PSE&G for allowing our Christmas Bird Count team to access their Sewaren Generating Station property on a Sunday -- and for having an escort there (Michael Stipula) who was knowledgeable enough to tell us that there was "a big falcon -- no, definitely not a hawk" in residence. We found it at extreme range, sitting atop a 20KV high tension tower. (These towers are also easily viewed from State St. & from the rd into Williams Park. The bird also favors perches on the upper galleries of the power plant itself.)
Taken hurriedly with an Olympus C3040Z handheld thru a very old, not very good spotting scope, and Photoshopped within an inch of its life. (For the morbidly curious: I extracted the green channel & discarded the red & blue, both to reduce chromatic aberration and because the detector is most sensitive to green wavelengths, so the signal/noise ratio was best. This was acceptable because there wasn't much color to the bird to begin with, just a bit of buffiness on the breast. Then the image was median filtered to reduce graininess. Finally, I adjusted white/black/grey levels.)
These osprey were just sitting and communing quietly together on their nest in early spring at Sandy Hook. Digiscoped thru binocs.
This nest was built in the rafters of 1 of the bird observation blinds at Great Swamp. I was expecting to observe birds from the blind, not in the blind! But I saw some droppings on the floor, looked up, & saw these. I'm pretty sure they are Eastern Phoebes, since those love nesting in human structures, & there was an adult hanging around right outside the blind. The adult didn't seem agitated -- I thought it was just going about its business catching flies, until I discovered the nest. And the nestlings were quiet as a mouse while we were there. However, as I lifted the camera towards the nest to take the picture, they started to gape for me! Apparently it's a pretty general reflex towards anything approaching.
Lives up to both Latin & common names. Early Goldenrod & Late Goldenrod seem to be the 2 common species around here, with Late blooming (surprise, surprise) later of the 2 (although they overlap quite a bit). And it's certainly gigantic -- a good 6' tall, with broad, spreading flower plumes. Leaves of the main stem are all about the same size & are 3-veined (see inset).
Took this shot last month. Had been hoping to get a better one of this species, since it's abundant around here. But I never did, & now my camera is out of commission, so this one will have to do.
This is a normal Black-eyed Susan. This is not! These were growing in a residential area, probably planted.
Tiny little guy -- only 1.5 cm across. Growing in a wet area near a pool in the Pine Barrens.
I think this is a white variant (or hybrid) of Common Blue Violet, Viola sororia, but honestly, I'm ready to give up on identifying violets! Pretty, whatever it is.
Common Blue Violet, whatever that's going by. Looks like there may have been a lot of lumping going on recently in violet taxonomy -- if there's a botanist out there who can shed light, by all means do! My old Golden Guide says "lots of species, ID difficult because lots of hybridization." And it gives this one as V. sororia, Woolly Blue Violet. But my flower looked distinctly, suspiciously unwoolly, so I did a search. biology.smsu.edu/Herbarium/Plants of the Interior Highlands/Flowers/Viola sororia.jpg shows a plant that is comparably glabrous, so I think I've got the right animal. But www.nps.gov/plants/pubs/chesapeake/plant/2039.htm suggests that that species was lumped with V. papilionacea. plants.usda.gov also lumps them under V. sororia. So that's what I'm going with.
Viola cucullata, I think. Looks like there may have been a lot of lumping going on recently in violet taxonomy -- if there's a botanist out there who can shed light, by all means do! My old Golden Guide said "lots of species, ID difficult because lots of hybridization." And it gave this one as Triangle-leaf violet, Viola emarginata, with a separate listing for V. adunca, Hooked-spur Violet. Then my newer Audubon guide gave it as a single species: V. adunca, Blue Violet. In Newcomb's, however, it seems to key out as V. cucullata, Marsh Blue Violet. Newcomb's, while a more detailed and locally authoritative source, is also an older source, so don't want to go by that alone re a taxon that has undergone recent revision; however, wisplants.uwsp.edu/scripts/detail.asp?SpCode=VIOCUC also supports V. cucullata. See 2nd photo below for leaves etc: leaf stalks seem distinctly longer than leaf blades, petals seem darker blue towards center, flower stalk definitely taller than leaves, keel petal smooth, wing petals with short, dense, toothbrushy hairs.
Thanks to Ophis for the ID!