Not listed for Middlesex County on NJOdes, but IDed by Jim Bangma -- Z-shaped thoracic stripe, among other things. Apparently he doesn't update the range maps on the basis of photo submissions, though, because it's still not listed in Middlesex County.
I thought I posted this a long time ago, but apparently it slipped through the cracks.
24 mm. Found crawling around our bathroom, transported outside on this piece of paper. Watch, it'll be called a House Katydid or somesuch. EDIT: Pine Tree Cricket -- Thank you to Martytdx for the ID.
This ladybug seemed like it might be doing some sort of display behavior. It kept spreading its wings several times, then refolding them.
This Red Admiral had seen better days & its wings were quite tattered, so I decided to use it for a headshot instead.
Finally got a shot of the top surface of one of these! It was basking in the sun.
First raptor of the day on our Christmas Bird Count. Unfortunately, we called this a Cooper's! It's actually a much scarcer bird -- a Merlin. Not a great shot, but the ID seems solid -- opinions welcome. Thank you to CNYBirder for catching the mis-ID! EDIT: The count-circle compiler was able to revise our count accordingly. That gave us, for the count circle as a whole, no fewer than 5 Merlins -- a bird that has only been seen on this count in 7 of the past 20 years.
A pine barrens specialty here in NJ. This is my attempt to salvage something from a commando-raid photo shoot on the way to visit my in-laws in S Jersey. The flowers were past peak, & this is not really what I wanted, but it will have to do until next year.
Read Mizzbee's comment below to learn about the function served by this flower's unusual form.
Spotted this tiny violet (12 mm long) growing in a lawn on the walk home from the train & came back with my camera the following day.
Cannot look at these guys without thinking about Martytdx's appellation: the flying shrimp.
Bokeh enhancement courtesy of Photoshop -- not much, just enough to take the rough edges off.
Boletus campestris looks like a possibility, given the habitat (lawn). Not sure, though -- this one has awfully big pores.
For the Life on the Japanese Knotweed study. There was a distinct dearth of life on these relatively young sprouts, as it happens. Come to think of it, I think that's what I found last year 1 or 2 times when I found a patch & went looking. Is that the general pattern -- one of the problems is that nothing eats it (or otherwise interacts)? Anyway, I did find this pair of ants. If anyone can pin down their ID further, I'm sure it would be greatly appreciated.
S. squalidus, I think.
Here's a partial ventral shot: www.flickr.com/photos/anitagould/2771296304/.
Godawful invasive -- originally used as an ornamental shrub & a windbreak, but escaped and widespread, in successional clearings. Covered with showy masses of little yellow flowers in spring.
Not a trophy shot, but the best one I got.
I knew that these were introduced to the US as game birds, but I had always assumed they were native to Europe, like most of our introduced species. Was surprised to learn that they are originally native to Asia & were introduced to Europe as game birds.
Flash shot at dusk for ID purposes, but I liked the way it came out. Who'd'a thunk? Little suburban weed.
Feverfew has been used for migraine prevention, and there is some evidence that it may be effective.
Found along a canal in London. Plant ~20 cm tall, flowers ~1.5 cm across; small, densely packed leaves. Thanks to Dave Appleton for the ID: Mexican Fleabane (Erigeron karvinskianus).
European Paper Wasp (Polistes dominula). These were first found in the US in 1978 and have spread quickly.
One of those dandelion-like things. ~1' high; basal leaves only, gnarly & hairy.
I thought this one was pretty cool. Hopefully Mizzbee will be along sometime soon & will be able to ID it. EDIT: Patrick beat her to it! :-) Dorsal view here.
Oooh, another new wildflower.
Oh, another garden escapee.
I got several new bona fide native wildflowers on this trip, so I can't complain. Besides, it's one of those oddball families, which is kinda cool.
Silvery Cinquefoil (Potentilla argentea). Low plant, flowers 1 cm across, roadside in an upland barrier-beach forest.
Well, trees, anyway -- probably more of a tree plantation than a forest. The foliage in the background is larch (Larix sp.). It's one of the few deciduous conifers, and we caught the foliage at its bright autumn-gold peak. It's an introduced species, but it was nice to see some trees regardless. Forested areas were few and far between. Most of the native forest was converted to producing land long ago in Great Britain -- and, by and large, people seem to think that's a good thing. I got a dose of culture shock when one of our B&B hosts, a wonderfully hospitable older Scottish woman who bustled around serving us tea when we arrived and sat and chatted with us, told us, "Och, it's such a pity. People aren't working or grazing their land properly any more; you see it getting all overgrown. Pretty soon it will be gone back to forest!"
But that was nothing compared to the shock I got when a naturalist at an environmental center in the chalk downs of southern England echoed those sentiments practically word for word. I commented that it had been nice to see some forest there, & he said, "Oh, that's really just a tree plantation -- that watershed gathers drinking water for the town, so those trees were planted to protect it from runoff. Our grasslands, now, those are a model ecosystem. Properly managed sheep pasture has a much higher biodiversity than forest -- you can get dozens of species of flora in a square meter. We've imported hardy heirloom breeds of sheep that can keep the gorse and other nasty plants in check, and we make sure the land is neither over- nor undergrazed. Sheep are very eco-friendly because they're raised by low-density grazing rather than factory farming."
There's a quote (can someone help me with the source?), something to the effect of, "In the eighteenth century, nature was something to be feared. In the nineteenth, it was something to be conquered. In the twentieth, it was something to be cherished and preserved." Maybe it's my imagination, but I almost feel like this was a visit to the home of those eighteenth-century Grimm's fairy tale days, when forests were dark and dangerous, and evil lurked therein.
True Forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides). Flowers 9.5 mm (just under 1/2") across. With itty-bitty blue bonus bugs that I didn't see until I got the photo home.
The pink one is a female Gyponana octolineata; the dark guy is Fieberiella florii -- the Privet Leafhopper, introduced along with privet. Thanks to Tristan for the ID.
Cypress Spurge. Very pretty; unfortunately, an invasive weed. Haven't seen it many places, come to think of it; this is the same site where I photographed it last year, but the flowers are further along here; the leafy bracts are turning red.
A nice fresh individual found resting on my porch during the day -- first one this year, and in a docile mood. Couldn't resist. Abundant hereabouts.
No, that's not its real common name, just what the pattern reminds me of (Leonardo Da Vinci's uniforms for the pope's Swiss Guard). I think it's just called the Polyhymno Moth.
Anyway, it seems my penchant for snapping pictures of things that, realistically speaking, are just plain too small for my camera (5.2 mm long, in this case) has really paid off. This is probably my best micro to date. Not only is it an incredibly gorgeous little creature, but it is also very uncommon here. Bob Patterson of MPG tells me he knows of a single specimen observed in Maryland (I presume by Bob himself), but an internet search did not turn up any documentation for this species east of the Mississippi and north of FL.