September, 2019: Describe your walk by adding a comment below

Each time you go out and make observations for this project, describe your walk by adding a comment to this post. Include the date, distance walked, and categories that you used for this walk.

Suggested format:
Date. Place. Distance walked today. Total distance for this project.
Categories.
Brief description of the area, what you saw, what you learned, who was with you, or any other details you care to share.

Posted by erikamitchell erikamitchell, September 01, 2019 11:57

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9-1-19 Rutgers Forest Preserve, Piscataway, NJ. 0.5 miles today 540.25 miles total
Category: whatever caught our eye

I walked in the Rutgers University forest preserve which is on the edge of one of their campuses with my daughter Molly. I was surprised by how heavily used the trails here were, with all the dirt around them beaten down as well, as least in the first section we walked in.

Things I don't see often included: stringy stonecrop, beach nuts still in their hulls (though on the ground), a dead shrew (with no obvious cause of death, just lying in the path), forked nailwort, a leafmine in poison ivy, a redbanded hairstreak, an elephant mosquito (Molly was impressed with the size of the thing), and a whole bunch of Datana caterpillars eating oak leaves.

Posted by srall 6 months ago (Flag)
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9-2-19 Eastfields Park, Martinsville, NJ. 0.25 miles today 540.5 miles total
Categories: flowering, fruiting, ferns, fall color

I walked at this path, probably the closest trail to my home, in a few spare minutes, just as it started to drizzle, but I had an umbrella. First I walked the road edge down to the brook, then took the trail into the woods. Where it promptly started to thunder threateningly. So the last bit I did at quite a quick pace, stopping only for a lovely bunch of winterberries I'd missed on the way in.

Somewhat unusual things I found included fruiting Japanese aralia tree, fullers teasel, water hemlock, a monarch caterpillar, what I'm pretty sure was narrow leaved (rather than Virginia) mountain mint, marsh fern, and a big black wasp with yellow antennae.

Posted by srall 6 months ago (Flag)
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9-3-19 Miller Lane south, Washington Valley Park, Martinsville, NJ 0.5 miles today 541 total
categories: flowering, fruiting, ferns, fall color

This is a wooded ridgetop, partly on a trail, part paved road. It looks like nothing is blooming and nothing has turned, but in fact there were a fair amount.

Flowering I found: fleabane, indian tobacco, low smartweed, dotted smartweed, what I think is waterpepper, pilewort, bull thistle, and angelica tree.

Fruiting were: dogwood, spicebush, bittercress, stickseed, plantain, healall, mullein, witch hazel, poison ivy, black cherry, angelica tree, black walnut, and most obviously linden viburnum. Rose, bittersweet, blackhaw, and barberry had green fruit.

Beginning to turn color were dogwood, sassafras, wineberry, bittersweet, jack in the pulpet (I've never noticed its fall color before), elm, smartweed, angelica tree, barberry, witch hazel, tulip tree, and sugar maple.

Posted by srall 6 months ago (Flag)
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9-4-19 Miller Lane east, Washington Vly Park, Martinsville, NJ. 0.75 miles today. 541.75 miles total
Categories: flowering, fruiting, fall color, ferns

A year and a half ago there was a controlled burn here. They chose fairly wet weather and mostly burned about 4 feet on either side of all the trails. Everywhere they did so is now nearly a monoculture of Japanese stiltgrass. Of course this is peak stiltgrass season, but still, very annoying, particularly as I think they meant to burn to reduce the dead fuel and stiltgrass is the most conspicuous component of that.

This was a wooded hilltop trail, with one little damp meadow and one even littler rock outcropping. It seemed like nothing at all was blooming, but in fact I found: white snakeroot (just starting), low and dotted smartweeds, horseweed, white vervain, white wood aster, heal all, Indian tobacco, and white avens. In the meadow were flat topped goldenrod, tearthumb, purple gerardia, heath aster, panicled tick trefoil, and stonecrop. The outcropping had pennyroyal.

Ferns were just sensitive and what I think was northern lady fern (I'm just learning to sort out those lacy ones).

Lots of things are fruiting, though many are still green. Ripe were: linden viburnum, stickseed, jumpseed, garlic mustard, mullein, climbing false buckwheat, foxglove beardtonge, virginia mountain mint, red oak, hackberry, hemp dogbane, heal all, white avens, angelica tree. Unripe added barberry, sweet birch, multiflora rose, privet, blackhaw, black walnut, and pignut and shagbark hickories.

Lots of plants are starting to change colors, too many really to do here, but nothing is even at 50 percent turned yet. And most of the asters and goldenrods have not started flowering. I suppose it's still actually summer.

Posted by srall 6 months ago (Flag)
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9/1/19. Sodom Pond, Adamant VT. 0.1 miles today
Categories: birds, butterflies

This morning I went for my regular bird walk around Sodom Pond, but since I wasn’t up for walking, I took my chair along for several sits along the northern shore of the pond, driving in between locations. I started off across from the Adamant store, where I saw a great blue heron fly over. I also saw some cedar waxwings in the trees and a goldfinch. At my next stop, I got a fun photo of a cedar waxwing in flight trying to catch a bug. Also, a large flock of Canada geese, and some wood ducks. For butterflies today, I saw an American painted lady, a viceroy, and a monarch (eating dog poop).

Posted by erikamitchell 6 months ago (Flag)
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9/4/19. Montpelier, VT. 1 mile today
Categories: galls, insects

This afternoon I took a leisurely stroll through town from Hunger Mt Co-op to the pharmacy on Main St. and back. While waiting for my prescription, I wandered through the back of the parking lot across the street to see what I could find. I found some weedy ashes at the back of the rec center with all their top leaves curled up. I uncurled some leaves and found tiny white larvae inside. Larvae of what? I also found some aphids on the end of a sumac branch. I managed to catch several house sparrows downtown and a few yellow jackets. Plus a goldenrod bug of some sort and a box elder bug. Galls included a jewelweed gall, a goldenrod flower gall, and some box elder leaf galls. The walk back to the car at Hunger Mt was a struggle and I thought about hitching, but step by step, I made it back at last.

Posted by erikamitchell 6 months ago (Flag)
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I never see cedar waxwings; it's been twice in the 27 years I've lived here, plus once down the shore and once as a kid. When I was a teen I had a coloring book of the common birds and cedar waxwing was my favorite. I also never see jewelweed galls. I remember not being able to walk at all far while my torn tendon in my foot was recovering and again when I strained my IT band, and again when I injured my hip. It's so frustrating, and so easy to go farther than you can get back from without pain. Good luck with the healing. I love the idea of going out and sitting, looking for critters. I learned lawn weeds originally because I was stuck sitting in one place on a nice weedy lawn over and over, and eventually took the time to figure out what every plant I could reach was (though I was wrong about several, actually).

Posted by srall 6 months ago (Flag)
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Yeah, I'm a great fan of lawn weeds! And I think I can just as much walking slowly or sitting still than walking fast for the same amount of time. Going slow can be a real advantage for observing details.

Posted by erikamitchell 6 months ago (Flag)
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9/5/19. Averill Rd, Barre Town. 1.8 miles today
Categories: fruit, galls, insects, birds, trees

This afternoon I took advantage of the beautiful weather to go exploring the neighborhood near the Barre Gun Club, an area with no iNaturalist observations at all. I had considered parking at the Gun Club and walking from there, but the parking lot was practically empty, and my Prius just wouldn’t fit in there, especially since I’m not a member. So I drove around the corner and parked by the side of the road. I was delighted to find that the area is actually extremely scenic, gorgeous farmland. It just has a constant background of canon and automatic weapons fire. But on the bright side, there were no loose dogs, even by the scruffy-looking houses. I’m guessing that dogs don’t withstand the gunfire noise very well.

I had great fun search for fruits and galls, finding buckthorn, autumn olive, hop hornbeam, white cedar, gray dogwood, hawthorn, grapes, burdock, alternate-leaved dogwood, highbush cranberry, honeysuckle, red oak, sumac, common barberry, milkweed, sugar maple, basswood, wild cucumber, arrowleaf, jewelweed, helleborine all in fruit. For galls, I found Paraclemensia acerifolia, Eriophyes tilia, poplar leaf gall, poplar petiole gall, goldenrod stem gall, honeysuckle gall, and jewelweed gall. I saw several honeybees, several bumblebees, and several monarch butterflies. Also, some Carolina grasshoppers, a common ringlet, a cabbage white, and an American painted lady butterfly. Birds today were a starling, a brown-headed cowbird, an American crow, and a cedar waxwing. The road had just been freshly graded, probably this morning, so there was no visible roadkill.

Posted by erikamitchell 6 months ago (Flag)
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9/6/19. North Branch Nature Center. 0.5 miles today
Categories: birds

This morning I joined Chip Darmstadt and 8 other birders for a bird walk through the Nature Center property. Just as the walk began, I started feeling weak, so I had to carry my stool so that I could sit down during pauses to watch birds. The birds were a little slow this morning, but still, I managed to catch a song sparrow, catbird, blue jay, goldfinch and a white-throated sparrow near the garden. A while later we came to a large willow tree that was full of small fast birds, including some white-breasted nuthatches, a downy woodpecker, chickadees, an American redstart, a black-throated green warbler, and a Wilson’s warbler. While checking a poplar for galls, I noticed a cool yellow, white and black striped caterpillar (that was probably parasitized). I found a goldenrod stem gall, a goldenrod flower gall, a jewelweed gall, a gall in the stem of a parasol whitetop, and what appeared to be a blackberry leaf gall. We also got some good views of a pair of deer across the river. Then my camera battery died and I was out of energy myself, so I left the walk early.

Posted by erikamitchell 6 months ago (Flag)
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Probably a very good idea to bring your stool along. I've always wanted a walking stick/stool combo I saw once while hiking, I think it would come in so handy. My camera battery dies often enough that I keep a spare in my purse, and the other day I went to switch them again only to find I'd forgotten to charge the spare. So I used my phone, but then I can't do anything little or poorly lit, which always frustrates me.

Posted by srall 6 months ago (Flag)
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9-5-19. Glenhurst Nature Trails, Warren, NJ. 1.5 miles today 543.25 miles total
Categories: flowering, fruiting, ferns, fall color

Becca (grade 10) left her computer at home this morning, so I went for a walk after I dropped it off. It had rained the day before, the dew was extremely heavy, but the ground here, which is often amazingly muddy, was not too bad. This was the first day in weeks (months?) where the high was to barely make it into the 70s and I was actually wearing long pants, which was excellent, as the paths were not mowed and I trudged through a lot of tearthumb. Then again the pants got soaked to mid-thigh in dew, and my feet squelched when I walked. Really I should probably have worn hip waders!

Flowering I found: mugwort, early goldenrod, hedge bindweed, jewelweed, chicory (both the regular color and several magenta ones, which were exciting), queen anne's lace, both ragweeds, purple loosestrife, tearthumb, low smartweed, dotted smartweed, pinkweed, waterpepper (I think), beggarticks, horsenettle, mountain mint, ironweed, willowherb, pilewort, gerardia, agrimony, flattopped goldenrod, joe pye, blue vervain, New England aster (just starting), calico aster, heal all, trefoil, bugleweed, red clover, field thistle, late boneset, tick trefoil, sneezeweed, fleabane, evening primrose, swamp rose mallow, indian hemp, dogbane, and arrowhead.

Fruiting were: silky dogwood, monkey flower, rose, beardtongue, pear, gray dogwood, jumpseed, cattail, false buckwheat, lots of sedges, steeplebush, winterberry, canada lettuce, stickseed, autumn olive, bittersweet, ditch stonecrop, fringed loosestrife, milkweed, and water plantain.

The best of the fall color included smooth sumac, Virginia creeper, autumn olive, wineberry, and dewberry.

and critters I came upon: an amber snail, a flatid planthopper, a pearl crescent, a sawfly larva covered in white wax, a monarch caterpillar, a coppery leafhopper, an American lady, thistle stem galls, a long jawed orbweaver, a transverse flower fly, and a leopard frog.

Posted by srall 6 months ago (Flag)
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9-5-19 Chimney Rock Park, Watchung, NJ, 0.5 miles today 543.75 miles total
Categories: flowering, fruiting, fall color

I stopped on the way home from running errands at this ridgetop state park. There's a lawn between the parking lot and the scenic overlook, and it's mowed fairly often but never fertilized or weeded, which was wonderful as it was full of stuff, including yellow stargrass, which I knew was here but had no idea it bloomed all summer, a hawkweed I rarely see, and a whorled milkwort of all things.

I also walked in the woods behind the parking lot, over to and abandoned picnic area and finally to a path down the side of the mountain that I had no idea was there. As I was wearing flip flops I didn't go far down it, but am intrigued.

I found an agrimony I don't recognize, some wild comfrey (rarely see it), and a European hornet, as well as lots of more familiar plants and polinators.

Posted by srall 6 months ago (Flag)
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9/7/19. Montpelier bike path, Montpelier, VT. 0.6 miles today
Categories: galls, insects, unexpected plants

This afternoon I accompanied my husband to the Montpelier bike trail. While he went out unicycling, I took a stroll down the trail. The Japanese knotweed is in full bloom here, so I had high hopes for finding lots of pollinators. I was surprised, though, the that only a few patches of the knotweed had pollinators--most were empty. Still, I found some yellow jackets, some bumblebees and honeybees, a paper wasp, a bald-faced hornet, and one of those orange flies with the black spikes whose name I can't remember. Also, an amber snail, an American dagger moth caterpillar, a small green caterpillar, and a black ichneumon wasp. I searched for all my favorite common galls, starting right off with maple leaf tar spot (which isn't really a gall). I also found goldenrod flower galls, a goldenrod stem gall, some jewelweed galls, and some box elder leaf galls. I checked every patch of sumac and finally found some sumac apple galls. I also checked every patch of grapes for galls. Finally I found some grape leaf galls. I also checked the poison ivy, but couldn't spot any galls there. Unexpected plants today were a seedling red oak, a burr oak (planted?), a green ash, some hazelnut, some zigzag goldenrod, and some purple loosestrife--I don't recall seeing loosestrife here before.

Your trip to the Glenhurst Nature trails sounds delightful, even if you did get a bit wet. And find beggarticks!

Posted by erikamitchell 6 months ago (Flag)
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9/8/19. Sodom Pond, Adamant, VT. 0.7 miles today
Categories: birds, insects, flower surprises
This morning I went for my weekly bird walk in Adamant. This week I was at least able to walk a little, from the store to the north shore of Sodom Pond, and also up to the edge of Adamant Pond. I had my cane stool along and took some extended sits at either end of the walk. I didn't find as many birds as I had expected, no warblers. Sodom Pond was full of wood ducks, as well as a cormorant. Adamant Pond was full of mallards, but it also had 2 great blue herons and a cormorant. Other birds for the day were a blue jay and some morning doves.

For insects, I found some yellow jackets, bumblebees, a bald-faced hornet mimic, a bumblebee mimic, a cabbage white, an American dagger moth caterpillar, and a monarch caterpillar. I also found a fresh willow cone gall, a willow flower gall, and Paraclemensia acerifolia. No road kill at all today. It's no fun finding road kill, but even worse when the expected road kill is simply missing.

Posted by erikamitchell 6 months ago (Flag)
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9/9/19. LePage Rd, Barre, VT. 0.5 miles today
Categories: fruit, insects, trees
This afternoon I returned to the neighborhood of the Barre Gun Club to continue exploring the dirt roads there. My latest idea was to try to walk no matter how I feel, just walk for an hour and see how far I get. Or even see if I can stand for an hour. I took baby steps today and managed to walk 0.5 miles in my hour. When I sat back down in the car, I had chest pains, so maybe forcing myself to walk wasn't such a good idea. But it was so beautiful out, so in the end, I'm glad I did get out for a walk. I found a lot of cool bugs today, including a Carolina grasshopper, a seed bug, a monarch butterfly, a painted lady butterfly, 2 comma butterflies, a vice roy, a purple spotted caterpillar on a grape leaf, a bee mimic, some bumblebees, a yellow jacket, an ichneumon wasp, and a thread-waisted wasp with an orange and black striped abdomen.

My first flower of the day was a pink yarrow. Other flowers were New York aster and a Campanula. Fruits today were alternate-leaved dogwood, highbush cranberry, buckthorn, apple, grape, enchanter's nightshade, mountain maple, jewelweed, basswood, and Joe Pye weed. Trees were sugar maple, white ash, black ash, yellow birch, hemlock, white birch, balsam poplar, trembling aspen, red maple (red), elm (dead), and a willow. No roadkill. Not even a dead grasshopper.

Posted by erikamitchell 6 months ago (Flag)
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Always tough to find the balance between challenging yourself and overdoing it. Good luck with the healing. An hour on my feet is something I've only recently been able to manage without pain, and I average about 3/4 of a mile in that time. Of course, when I don't bring my camera I do manage to go a bit faster.

I rarely see New York asters, and they are very pretty. Mountain maple, yellow and white birches, balsam poplar, and trembling aspen are all also very unusual and exciting finds for me. And your roadkill situation sounds much more like I typically find. Though I have passed two dead raccoons in the past two days.

Posted by srall 6 months ago (Flag)
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9-8-19 Dock Watch Hollow Brook, Warren, NJ 0.75 miles today, 544.5 miles total
Categories: flowering, fruiting, fungi, ferns, and critters

Katie and I walked to the brook behind our house today, but for the first time ever went upstream, under the main road that we live on, and up to the next cross street. We'd walked upstream from that cross street before but in the 27 years I've lived here I never did the bit from our house up. The first house past our street that backs onto the brook has dammed the brook a little and made a swimming hole. Not sure how clean the water is, with cattle living upstream, but a neat idea. Several other houses had steps leading down to the stream, which was also neat.

Growing out of the cliff I found white wood aster and wineberry (both common) but also maple leaved viburnum (somewhat rare) and both purple flowering raspberry (which I've only seen in town once before, 20 years ago) and spikenard (which I've never seen in NJ at all)

Beeches are fruiting and we even found some nuts the squirrels and deer missed, and we saw what I think were brown trout in the brook, about 5 inches long, and a ringed assassin bug and a pale beauty moth.

Posted by srall 6 months ago (Flag)
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9/10/19. Montpelier, VT. 0.9 miles today
Categories: insects, unexpected plants

This afternoon I went for a leisurely stroll through Montpelier in between errands. I started with a few roadkill wasps today, or at least moribund ones, the first in the drive through area at the bank, and the second in front of the State House. I went into the State House to use the bathroom, and as I walked down the hall, I fantasized over finding signs of life inside the building. Sure enough, in the bathroom I lucked upon a large spider on the wall. I was very pleased! Good thing no one else was in the restroom, wondering why I was taking photos in a restroom and not freaking about the big spider. Other insects for the day included a darner dragonfly, a honeybee, a sweat bee, a hoverfly, a large black wasp, a yellow jacket, a painted lady butterfly, a digging wasp, and some ladybug larvae (shedding skin?).

My unexpected plants today included a new-to-me patch of Japanese knotweed, and some sensitive ferns and catnip growing in the window pit of City Hall.

Posted by erikamitchell 6 months ago (Flag)
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9/11/19. Drake Rd, East Montpelier, VT. 2.7 miles today
Categories: insects, trees, galls, invasives

This afternoon I walked a road in on the south end of East Montpelier that I haven't walked before. I was feeling much better today and actually walked at a good clip for a change. I saw a monarch, some crickets, a blue butterfly, a Carolina grasshopper, some bumblebees, a Japanese beetle, some other beetles, a large brown cranefly, and an American dagger moth caterpillar. A sawfly larva was the road kill of the day. I hunted and hunted, but the only galls today were a jewelweed gall and Paraclemensia acerifolia, which is everywhere right now. I took note of trees today since this was my first time walking this road. I found trembling aspen, butternut, black cherry, elm, basswood, white pine, black ash, white birch, hawthorn, yellow birch, balsam poplar, beech, hickory, hemlock, sugar maple, apple, fir, mountain maple, ginko (planted), white cedar, red oak (planted), gray birch, willow sp, and lots of American ash including a grand old tree and one felled this morning in a yard, but forgot to shoot any. Invasives today were honeysuckle, purple loosestrife, buckthorn, Japanese barberry, Oriental bittersweet, bishop’s weed, 2 kinds of burdock. The bittersweet was a bit of a surprise since I rarely find it around here.

Posted by erikamitchell 6 months ago (Flag)
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9/12/19. Central Vermont Hospital Trails, Berlin, VT. 1.3 miles today
Categories: trees, fungi, ferns

This afternoon I explored the fitness trails behind the Central Vermont Hospital. The trails led into a deep dark hemlock forest with very little besides ferns and fungi growing on the ground, so that was my focus for the day. For trees, I found hemlock, beech, yellow birch, balsam fir, sugar maple, white ash, red spruce, red maple, balsam fir, white cedar, gray birch, white pine, apple, quaking aspen, black cherry. I also found a hemlock and yellow birch deeply embracing. Wrestling or true love?

Ferns today were some wood ferns, beech fern, oak fern, and bracken fern. I found several kinds of yellow Amanitas, what I think is artists' conk, some Russula, a Hygrocybes, a coral mushroom, and a cool gilled mushroom that was white op top and had deep purple wide gills underneath. I also found plenty of mosses today: Thuidium delicatulum, Hylocomium splendans, Leucobryum glauca, Rhytidiadelphus, Bazzania trilobata, and Pleurozium schreberi. There were lots more, but this is what I could ID on sight.

Posted by erikamitchell 6 months ago (Flag)
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9/13/19. North Branch Nature Center, Montpelier, VT. 0.8 miles today
Categories: birds, insects

This morning I joined Chip Darmstadt and 12 other birders for the weekly fall migration birdwalk at the Nature Center. To my great delight, I was able to walk today and didn't need to rely on my cane seat like last week. It was foggy and cool, however, so there wasn't much bird action. We started down by the community garden where we were scolded by a banded house wren. A northern flicker and a blue jay also checked us out, and a red squirrel gave us a thorough tongue lashing from a branch above the trail. I managed to catch a glimpse of a robin through a hawthorn bush, and a red-breasted nuthatch on a dead tree limb. Just as we were tallying up the day's meager findings, a ring-billed seagull flew overhead, not an expected sight this far inland, but there are some seagulls living at the mall, so you never know.

Beyond birds, I found a new-to-me goldenrod gall on the end of a flowering stem, a brown bug, a red-humped caterpillar, an Olethreutes moth, an American dagger moth caterpillar, a grasshopper missing a leg (that doesn't help the ID!), and a beautiful orb weaver in a mist covered net.

Posted by erikamitchell 6 months ago (Flag)
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I've never knowingly seen a red squirrel, and red breasted nuthatches only a few times in my life. Even flickers and house wrens are unusual for me, though there's a whole flock of ring billed gulls at the grocery store, and most of the nearby ponds have them as well.

Posted by srall 6 months ago (Flag)
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9/14/19. Goddard College Trails, Plainfield, VT. 1 mile today
Categories: non-natives, fungi

This morning our Saturday walking group met for the first walk of the season. I was delighted to be able to join them and walk the entire distance. We gathered at the edge of a parking lot on the Goddard College campus to admire some fireweed, probably planted. Apparently, this particular specimen is creating a stir in the botanical world since it has not been reported in Vermont before. iNaturalist has one specimen reported in Vermont, from a garden near Burlington. The one we looked at today is in an untamed meadow, but beside the parking lot and a walking path, so it was probably planted. There are a lot of odd plants around the Goddard campus in the woods, including seedling white oaks and new-to-me mystery geranium that is spreading from a clearing in the woods. Other non-natives for the day were hawthorn, Japanese barberry, red oak, Scots pine, and both kinds of burdock.

We also found plenty of fungi, including a Lactarius, some chanterelles (which went home for dinner), plenty of gilled mushrooms, a large bolete that stained blue, a polypore, a Scutellaria, and poison pigskin.

And for animals today, we had crickets, grasshoppers, bear poop, and a pair of mating slugs.

That's funny about the squirrels--I guess I never saw red ones either until we moved here. The red ones seem more aggressive than the greys, but they only seem to thrive in rural rather than urban habitats. I don't think I've seen them in downtown Montpelier, but they are common up at the Nature Center.

Posted by erikamitchell 6 months ago (Flag)
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9/15/19. Sodom Pond, Adamant, VT. 0.5 miles today
Categories: birds, insects

This morning I went to Adamant for my weekly birdwalk around Sodom Pond. I hoped to walk my regular route from last fall, but I had another low energy day, so I did a mixture of walking short distances and sitting for a while. It was a little cool and foggy, and the birds were quiet. The lack of birds helped me notice all the insects flying around. I saw bumblebees, honeybees, a monarch, a painted lady, lots of autumn meadowhawks (many doing the wheel), a pair of spreadwings, a Carolina grasshopper, a brown stinkbug, a cabbage white, and quite a few Polistes fuscatum. Out on Sodom Pond there were about 40 wood ducks, a few mallards, and a pied-billed grebe. Flying above the pond were cedar waxwings, Canada geese, and a pair of turkey vultures. I then walked up to the edge of Adamant Pond where I found a flock of about 30 geese, another mallard, a phoebe, and a sparrow of some sort (tree?), and a pair of as-yet-unidentified black and white water birds. I also found a sawfly larva crawling across the road.

Posted by erikamitchell 5 months ago (Flag)
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9/16/19. Molly's Falls State Park, Marshfield, VT. 1.4 miles today
Categories: trees, fungi, insects

This afternoon I drove out to Molly's Falls State Park on the edge of Marshfield to explore a bit. The park is quite new and not really developed as a park yet. I stumbled across it last summer when I stopped at the pond for a rest break and an employee told me it was now a park. Today I headed down the trail from the parking lot, but it ended abruptly after a few hundred feet. I drove up the road a short ways to walk a road bending around the pond and found it marked as the state park also. A trail from where I parked led down to a primitive campsite and then ended. I went up the road, down another short trail, and that was the end of the park. So I walked to the end of the road to see the intersection with Lovely Rd, which truly was lovely with the fall colors getting into full swing.

I paid a lot of attention to trees today and found red pine, balsam fir, yellow birch, beech, American mountain ash, red maple, paper birch, white cedar, white ash, balsam poplar, red spruce, quaking aspen, white spruce, alder, tamarack, big-toothed aspen, black cherry, sugar maple, striped maple, mountain maple, elm, hemlock, chokecherry, and hawthorn. I also saw a lot of fungi, including Russula, Amanita, Lactarius, Bolete, polypores, bold yellow gilled, dyer's polypore, and dogwood golden canker. Along the road I found a monarch caterpillar in some milkweed, but the cat was very small--I don't know if it will have time to grow to maturity before it gets cold. Roadkill today was 2 dead toads.

Posted by erikamitchell 5 months ago (Flag)
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9/17/19. Sodom Pond Rd, Adamant, VT. 2.6 miles today
Categories: caterpillars, birds

This afternoon my husband went unicyling along Sodom Pond Rd and I went along for a walk, actually walking this time instead of sitting. There were oodles of caterpillars crossing the road today, so I started chasing them with my camera. I caught a wooly bear, Datana ministra, a brown sphinx, Acronicta dactylina, and an entire nest of fall webworm fallen into the road. Other insects today were an autumn meadowhawk, a spotted grasshopper, and a viceroy. Out on the pond I saw wood ducks, mallards, and Canada geese. The big surprise of the day was finding a patch of bottle gentian. It's the first patch I have ever found on my own, so I was quite excited to see it. Road kill today was another dead toad.

Posted by erikamitchell 5 months ago (Flag)
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9/18/19. Millstone Trails, Barre, VT. 1 mile today
Categories: fall colors, insects, fungi

This afternoon I went to the Millstone Trails in Barre to try to get some beautiful fall photos with the quarries. The trails connect dozens of old granite quarries that were long abandoned in the woods. Charlie has walked there quite a bit, so there are plenty of plant observations here on iNaturalist from the trails. I kept my eye out today for insects (not many), fungi, and any short duration plants that Charlie might have missed if wasn't hiking here at just this season. The trails are an incredible resource, miles and miles of trails open to mountain biking (with a purchased pass) or hikers (for free), through abandoned industrial sites. The forest was incredibly quiet, except for loud diesel engines hauling granite and the occasional dynamite blast at the nearby working quarries. Deep sugar maple woods with plenty of hop hornbeam and some beech, not much undergrowth. In one section, the beech drops were so thick that both sides of the path were positively pink with them. The surprise of the day was another gentian! Two days in a row, yes it is gentian season.

For fall colors today, I found Virginia creeper, paper birch, mountain maple, sugar maple, striped maple, red maple, white ash, hemlock, Indian cucumber root, and beech drops. Insects were Paraclemensia acerifoliella, hickory tussock moth, jewelweed gall, some bumble bees, and a wasp. And fungi were poison pigskin, Trichaptum biforme, some Lycoperdon puffballs, a slime mold, some coral fungus, Scutellaria, various gilled mushrooms, and Chlorociboria. I also found some common buckthorn, Japanese barberry, and Japanese knotweed.

Posted by erikamitchell 5 months ago (Flag)
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I have never seen gentians outside of a garden, how exciting!

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-9-19. Frenchtown, NJ. 0.25 miles today, 544.75 miles total
category: blooming

I drove out to Pennsylvania today to visit a pond that was supposed to have carnivorous plants (I saw none). On the way, I stopped here, in a little park on the bank of the Delaware River. I found: giant ragweed, hops, an ambersnail, bur cucumber, wingstem, dodder, some kind of honey mushroom looking fungus, virginia wildrye, bottlebrush grass, and wood nettle.

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-9-19. Game Lands, Upper Black Eddy, PA. 1.5 miles today, 546.25 miles total
Categories: flowering, fruiting, ferns

I parked near, but not in sight of, the lake that was supposed to have carnivorous plants, at what looked like the end of the road. I followed the trail for hunters but it kept curving off in the wrong direction. So I retraced my steps and walked up what looked like the driveway to a camp, but quickly found the lake. However, no bogs, and no carnivorous plants that i could see.

I did find lots of things, especially ferns: lady, hay scented, new york, sensitive, christmas, and ebony spleenwort. Also bluestem and elmleaved goldenrod, an agrimony that wasn't swamp, big toothed aspen, what I think was mockernut hickory, a skullcap, lopseed, wild licorice, water shield, nodding beggarstick, and three-way sedge, very unsual for me. I also learned the hard way how to ID rice cutgrass, as once again I was wading through lowlands in shorts. I really need to start wearing hiking pants.

Critter-wise I found a bullfrog, some kind of swallow, chinese mystery snails, a redspotted purple butterfly, and mating pearl crescents.

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-10-19. Watchung Lake, Watchung, NJ. 1.0 mile today, 547.25 miles total
Categories: animals, flowering, fruiting

I walked around Watchung Lake with Carl who is home for a week to get his annual check-ups done. We saw lots of birds, especially geese, and at one point he pointed out it's like "goose-goose-duck" instead of the usual game. There was also a great egret and a great blue heron, and a tiny turtle I couldn't ID.

Insect wise we found a grass carrying wasp, a four toothed mason wasp, a large milkweed bug, a brown stink bug, and a clouded sulfur,

Interesting plants included short leaved spike sedge, halberd leaved tear thumb, my new friend rice cutgrass (this time I stayed out of the vegitation, however), a burreed, kidney leaved mud plantain flowering (I'd never seen it in bloom before), and ditch stonecrop (a favorite of mine).

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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It's funny that what is common for us Vermonters is rare for you and vice versa. A friend down the road let a giant ragweed plant grow in her garden because she had no idea what it was, thought it was pretty. I only recognized it because I'd seen it once in CT. But three-way sedge, that's practically every day for me. I've never seen a grass carrying wasp, though.

Posted by erikamitchell 5 months ago (Flag)
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9/19/19. Dog River Fields, Montpelier VT. 2 miles today
Categories: insects, invasives, dead and dying

This morning I met with my 2 insect loving friends for a walk along the knotweed by the river. We brought along a friend of a friend, a photographer who specializes in water. He was quite perplexed when it took us 10 minutes to walk the 100 ft from the parking lot to the trailhead. I was quite happy because almost as soon as we got out of the car, I spotted a native ladybug. Next we had a stinkbug larva, some jewelweed galls, and a monarch flying high, all before we set off through the 12' high knotweed towards the river. Other finds for the day included tussock caterpillars, bumblebees, sunflower beetles, mining bees, goldenrod flower galls, sunflower aphids, honeybees, a sand wasp, a widow skimmer (dead), some sawfly larvae, a grasshopper, a crambid moth, and some flies.

I also had a thrill looking for water plants along the river. There were some lovely native sunflowers, Cyperus esculentus, Himalayan jewelweed (1st for Montpelier), water mint, several kinds of Eleocharis, some purple loosestrife gone to seed, Allegheny monkeyflower, and a little piece of Riccia (an ephemeral liverwort).

After the walk, my friends dropped me off downtown so I could watch a concert, then I walked back to my friend's house to get my car. Along the route, I found a yellowjacket (one moribund, one dead), a cricket (dead), plus a mining bee, a honeybee, some bumblebees, an Asian ladybug, and a cabbage white.

After getting my car, I took a picnic lunch down to the first clearing in Sabin's Pasture. More things to see there, including some Phragmites, an American dagger moth caterpillar, a tri-colored bumblebee, a yellow and black flower beetle, a grape gall, a skimmer dragonfly, another yellowjacket, and a gall on some asters.

Posted by erikamitchell 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-11-19. Whiterock, Martinsville, NJ. 1 mile today, 548.25 miles total
Categories: flowering, fruiting, ferns, fall color, insects

If someone comes to visit and would like to take a walk, this is where we take them: Whiterock and Buttermilk Falls. This time I followed some side paths I don't often take, but no where here was I on a path new to me, and I come here many times a year. And yet... today I found 4 plants and an insect I've never seen anywhere before and a whole slew of rare for me plants, many of which I did not know grew here. Every time I turned around it was, wow, another one!

I found: midge galls in greenbriar leaves, New York fern (I'm realizing this is very common, but I've only just learned to ID it), hog peanut blooming in both purple and white forms, yellow bluestem grass (new), slender bushclover, round headed bush clover, and probably also both intermediate and violet bush clovers plus Korean and Chinese, silverrod, bluestemmed goldenrod, (and Canada and wrinkle leaved, both of which are common). Then there was dittany (new), yellow pimpernel (new) and the brown rove beetle (new) and all that before I even left the main trail.

There were enormous numbers of woodland sunflowers in fruit (I didn't recognize them that way), then late purple aster (my second ever), a grass spider, a Chinese mantis walking up the path in front of me, what might be pinweed, pennyroyal, some kind of hawkweed, rock polypody, purple flowering raspberry, carolina rose, a yellowjacket, a pickerel frog that actually held still long enough for me to photograph (plus dozens that didn't), dodder, woodland stonecrop, bladdernut, black snakeroot, a goldenrod crab spider, a potter wasp, ants tending what might have been aphids, poison ivy leafminers, aralia tree turning magnificent colors while also blooming and fruiting (I can see why it was planted, which led to all these escapes; it's stunning). and finally a white avens whose seedheads were so covered in dog fur I didn't recognize it at first.

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-12-19. Hoffheimer Trail, Warren, NJ. 0.75 miles today, 549 miles total
Categories: flowering, fruiting, ferns

A week or so before this I drove 45 minutes in part to get to a lake with bladderworts. Another day I went to Pennsylvania for a similar purpose, as I never see them (though both times I was hoping for sundews as well). This path is behind my town hall. It passes a pond that I've been to dozens and dozens of times. And what did I find here for the first time ever? Bladderwort. Didn't even recognize it till I got home; I'd thought it was water milfoil. Not blooming, but still very neat, and amusing that I'd overlooked it for so long. There's also a small shrub along the pond that I've seen before and not been able to ID. This time someone suggested bushy St. John's wort. hmm....

There are a lot of ferns here: Christmas, sensitive, lady and New York (and maybe hay scented), but for the first time I also found broad beech fern, and I was able to recognize it right off.

Lots of things are still blooming, including: false daisy, prostrate knotweed, low and dotted smartweeds, tons of beechdrops, white wood asters, white snakeroot, mugwort, devil's beggarticks, Asiatic dayflower, an aster that might be panicled, New York ironweed, water hemlock, pilewort, carpetweed, and Japanese hops (or they may just be fruiting, it's hard to tell).

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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Great new finds in familiar places! It is so refreshing and wondrous when something new turns up where you've been many times before. Now I'm going to be on the lookout for poison ivy leafminers. They sound really cool!

Posted by erikamitchell 5 months ago (Flag)
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9/20/19. North Branch Nature Center. 0.7 miles today
This morning I met up with 11 other birders for our weekly bird walk, this week led by Zac Cota. Our first find of the day was a Norway rat that ran over Zac's foot and hid under my car while we were gathering to say good morning. Despite the rat, we had a great morning birding. Our eBird list for the day had 35 species. I managed to catch these with my camera: chickadee, Blackburnian warbler, merlins, common yellowthroat, indigo bunting, blue jay, black-throated green warbler, red-breasted nuthatch, yellow-bellied sapsucker, Swainson’s thrush, northern cardinal, mallards, American goldfinch,song sparrow, blue-headed vireo, gray catbird, magnolia warbler, Philadelphia vireo, and yellow-rumped warblers. There were lots of sparrows on the sunflowers in the community gardens. I ended up shooting a lot of planted sunflowers and corn stalks in the foggy sunrise. And some echinacea as well, even though they were planted. Insects for the day were some chilled bumblebees and a woolly bear caterpillar in the path.

Posted by erikamitchell 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-14-19, New York Renaissance Faire, Tuxedo, NY. 0.25 miles today, 549.25 miles total
Categories: interesting plants, critters.

All 6 of us went to the Renaissance Faire today, but Katie, Carl and I were waiting for Becca afterward to walk back to the car, and I started taking nature photos. This is a wooded dirt road over a hill. Becca spotted a red spotted newt for me, which was a very rare find. I also found richweed, wild licorice, bellwort, whirled wood aster, silverrod, the poison ivy leafminer, and mountain laurel.

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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9/20/19. Meadowridge Rd, Winooski, VT. 1.9 miles today
Categories: insects, invasives, trees, galls

Right at the end of my bird walk this morning I tried to adjust the diopter in the viewfinder of my camera and managed to break the adjustment button. The camera became completely unusable since the viewfinder was way out of focus. So off I went to the camera shop in Winooski. After consulting with Zac Cota at the Nature Center to find a possible place to walk in Winooski after the camera shop. Fortunately, the clerk was able to fix the camera right away, so I was back on the road within minutes. The place I selected with Zac for a walk had no iNaturalist observations but looked like it was both in the woods and residential. When I arrived I found it was a MacMansion neighborhood with manicured lawns tucked into the edges of the woods, where the properties were lined with unusual (for me) invasives, mostly at home in warmer areas. I found autumn olive, buckthorn, multiflora rose, wild parsnip, Oriental bittersweet, elecampane, Phragmites, brown knapweed, honeysuckle, white willow, purple loosestrife, and burning bush (planted but ready to go to seed). Trees today were white ash, elm (dead), trembling aspen, white pine, basswood, gray birch, paper birch, striped maple, pin oak, sugar maple, staghorn sumac, big-toothed aspen, hop hornbeam, beech, and hemlock. And insects were honeybee, bumblebees, spider, American dagger moth caterpillar, yellow jacket, painted lady,a bald-faced hornet, and a Japanese beetle. I had great fun looking for galls and found goldenrod stem gall, honeysuckle gall, sumac leaf gall,grape leaf gall, ocellated maple leaf gall, willow stem gall, and jewelweed gall Roadkill today were a cricket, a grasshopper, and a short-tailed shrew.

Posted by erikamitchell 5 months ago (Flag)
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9/20/19. Rt 100, Middlesex, VT. 0.7 miles today
Categories: trees, insects

On the way home for Winooski, I stopped for lunch on VT Rt 100 along the Mad River. I found a closed bridge to picnic on, part of the Cross Vermont bike trail. From the bridge, I inventoried trees: red oak, hemlock, big-toothed aspen, elm, striped maple, and mountain maple. I also saw some poison ivy and some ground nut. The bridge had lots of spiders hanging out in webs, as well as some paper wasps and bumblebees.

Posted by erikamitchell 5 months ago (Flag)
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9/20/19. Sodom Pond, Adamant, VT. 1.1 miles today
Categories: birds, insects, road kill

I managed to fit one more walk in this evening, when I met my husband in Adamant so he could go unicycling around the pond. I'm still not unicycling myself yet, but maybe in a few months. This evening I found several phoebes near downtown Adamant, then some Canada geese and mallards on the pond, as well as some blue jays and robins overhead. Insects this evening were a paper wasp, a viceroy, several bumblebees, a skimmer dragonfly, and a swarm of darners. I managed to get a couple of the darners mid-flight, but I don't know if they will be identifiable. I also found one dead on the ground, plus a dead eft and a dead spotted tussock caterpillar.

Posted by erikamitchell 5 months ago (Flag)
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9/21/19 Adamant, VT. 1.4 miles today
Categories: insects, birds

This morning I met our Saturday morning walking group for a meander out to the Point over Adamant pond to look for water fowl. At least, that's what I and one other person had in mind. The other 3 were more interested in walking and talking than looking at things. Although they would stop talking occasionally to comment on something nearby, like the gorgeous wild raisins. And then we'd have to review the subject that we'd already left. At one point, one person commented, "Why didn't we see any beaver today"? He didn't hear me when I pointed out and shot the beaver several times, too much talking. Anyway, next week, I better keep my camera holstered and simply walk. But this week, we saw spiders, a leaf hopper, a grasshopper, ladybug larvae, a woolly bear, American dagger moth caterpillars, bumblebees, honeybees, oleander aphids, a darner, and a bald-faced hornet. We also saw a phoebe, mallards, a turkey vulture, a cedar waxwing, and a murder of crows.

Posted by erikamitchell 5 months ago (Flag)
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9/21/19 Cranberry Meadow, Woodbury, VT. 1.3 miles today
Categories: insects, roadkill, plants I wasn't looking for

This afternoon I accompanied my husband up to Cranberry Meadow. While he rode his unicycle, I hiked along the road enjoying the foliage. My first find was right in the boat ramp, a polypore fungus growing on the fuzzy acrylic padding on a boat trailer. That was it for fungi this afternoon, but I found plenty of insects, including: a dragonfly (emerald?), a mosquito, some bumblebees, a goldenrod flower gall, a paper wasp, an American dagger moth caterpillar, a honeybee, an orange dung fly, a milkweed tussock moth caterpillar, an autumn meadowhawk, some oleander aphids, some sumac apple galls, a black and gold bug, some ants, a sweat bee, a black and gold flower beetle, a syrphid fly, some harvestmen, a spreadwing, and a common whitetail sunning on a rock. I found some purple loosestrife, poison ivy, crown vetch, and a strange white flower that I keep seeing popping up around the Calais/Woodbury area. I found plenty of road kill this evening, including a wood frog, a frog/toad, an American toad, a grasshopper, a hemlock looper, a wooly bear, and sadly, 3 garter snakes.

Posted by erikamitchell 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-15-19 Gene King Park, Bridgewater, NJ. 1.0 mile today, 550.25 miles total
Categories: flowering, fruiting, fall color, ferns, insects

I was talking to a friend on the rescue squad who told me 20 years ago there was a path here on the east side of this park, through to his development, so I went to check it out. Still there, and recently (maybe 3 years ago) augmented with some gravel by the local boy scouts. I continued further to a powerline cut, but it had even less of a path through it than most of the ones around and I didn't get far in.

In the park I found linden viburnum in fruit and what looked like an escaped doublefile viburnum (I'm not great with cultivated ones) reblooming. There was a pearl crescent, three kinds of Persicaria, four kinds of fern, and a spined micranthema spider. On the road to the powerlines I found both Rorippa and Mazus, neither of which are common here.

The powerlines were not terribly intersting: bushclover, goldenrod, boneset, new england aster. joe pye had gone over. Japanese honeysuckle was still blooming. I found a buckeye butterfly.

On the way back through the park I took a slightly different path that was chock full of spiderwebs (across the path, so across my face, ugh). One had an arrowhead orbweaver, though, which was neat. There was also bloodroot (leaves) and beechdrops and autumn clematis (flowering).

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-16-19 East County and Duderstadt Reserves, Warren, NJ. 1.25 miles today, 551.5 miles total
Categories: flowering, fruiting, fall color, ferns, insects

These are the town's newest parks, in fact I think the newest ones in the county, at least of those with trails. They are putting new paved paths in every year here. It's a mix of old farmland, woods, and mowed grass with ponds (though I skipped over the ponds today).

I've walked here a lot. Things that were new (here ) to me included: bur cucumber, a dead deer with maggots and both kinds of vulture, a nice big nursery web spider, an enormous leopard slug, great blue lobelia (really rare for me), swamp milkweed (in fruit), some white vervain with the most astoundingly purple leaves I've ever seen on it, and a lovely red-leaved dewberry right next to it. Then there were a sac spider in the portajohn, a banded net winged beetle that totally fooled me (I thought it was a large milkweed bug until I cropped the photo), richweed, an unsual blotch miner in white snakeroot leaves, New York fern (I'm getting much better at ferns), and blooming beech drops.

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-18-19. First Watchung Mountain, Martinsville, NJ. 1.5 miles today, 553 miles total
Categories: flowering, fruiting, ferns, critters

Carl and I walked up over the mountain and back down today (what was on the other side? a quarry, but we knew that). I've walked the start of this trail many times, but the back side only twice before, and the last time Carl was on it he was 11 (he's 23 now). Unusual things that we found included: bladdernut, a pickerel frog (Carl spotted that one), woodland stonecrop, woodland sunflower, mimosa (oddly, right at the top of the waterfall/dam here, usually they are planted here, rather than escaped to the middle of the woods), ebony spleenwort, and interesting gamma-sort of grass I haven't figured out yet, dittany, a bushclover that might be violet, pennyroyal, and a woolybear.

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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Wow! Congratulations on 500 miles! What a great walk it's been!

I loved the story about trying to find a 20-year-old path. And trying to ID the escaped viburnums. My friend was just telling me the other day that she has only seen vultures on the ground once, a few years ago at a deer carcass. I've never seen any on the ground.

Posted by erikamitchell 5 months ago (Flag)
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We have so many deer here that it is probably impossible to drive for 20 minutes without seeing one dead on the side of the road, and it is routine to find at least one within the 3 mile drive to town. I see vultures on deer carcasses at least twice a month and my kids once found a vulture eating a squirrel on the ground in our front yard when they went out for the school bus in the morning (they've also twice found not quite dead deer in the yard (in one case it died before the police got here, the second one the police shot) and there have been I think 5 or 6 other dead deer in our yard in the 27 years I lived here. Granted, we live on a busy road with conserved woods behind the house, but still...)

All that said, both vultures flew up to the trees before I got close enough to take their picture, so I photographed them there.

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-19-19. Freedom Trail, South Brunswick, NJ. 1 mile today, 554 miles total
Categories: things wrong with leaves, blooming, insects, ferns, fungi

I drove down to the college to bring back the laptop Molly borrowed but no longer needed (and drop off a few things as well) mostly in an attempt to keep her from deciding to come home yet another weekend. On the way home I walked this rail trail a little ways.

In the parking lot there was a low juniper hedge and above it every plant was festooned with bagworms. I saw them first in a young ash tree and could not for the life of me figure out what plant with compound leaves had this sessile cluster of large fruit near the top.

Otherwise I found a huge number of leaves with leafmines or galls or fungal infections. I'm not any good with the fungal infections yet, but I figure the first step is to notice them. I got a decent photo of a ground cricket and a whole lot of stinkbugs, but the highlight was a small water snake that fell out of a rotten log when I moved it.

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-21-19. Crim to Mt. Vernon section, Washington Valley Park, Martinsville, NJ. 2.5 miles today, 556.5 miles total
Categories: flowering, fruiting, fungi, ferns, insects

Washington Valley Park, the nearest large park to my house, is linear with the eastern half on two hillsides and the western half following a brook. The center of the park is currently closed because of fallen and hanging trees after a microburst a month ago. But this was the western part. There are two paths here making a loop, and I've walked most of both many times, but never the whole loop before, as there's a spot where the bridge is out that is usually impassable. But it's been so dry this month I was able to make it across on rocks with dry feet.

I must not have come in late September in the past as there were a large number of things here that surprised me. First off I found a lady beetle with beetle hanger fungus. But then a willowherb, white turtlehead, a ground cherry, he-huckleberry, purple gerardia, ditch stonecrop, and Virginia saxifrage, none of which I'd seen here before. And for the first time ever someone IDed one of the little minnows I photographed through the surface of the water: an eastern mosquitofish.

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-22-19. St. Michael's Farm Preserve, Hopewell, NJ. 0.5 miles today, 557miles total
categories: flowering fruiting, ferns

Having retrieved the spare laptop on Thursday, I got a call Saturday night that Molly's regular laptop broke entirely (the two halves detached from one another). So Sunday I got to drive the spare back down there.

On the way I stopped at this park, mostly because it's located on Aunt Molly Rd. The last time I was here the main path was flooded, but it was perfectly dry now. The area by the road is completely covered in mile-a-minute. I've heard it can be a horrible weed, but this was one of the worst I'd seen.

This is a wooded trail along a brook and then up a hillside. At the base of the hill was an enormous patch of wood nettle. I was wearing shorts again. I looked at the wood nettle and realized I'd heard that it stings like stinging nettle but had never been stung by it. So I carefully worked my way around it. Just as I thought I was completely past, guess what? Stung. I'd say it's pretty equivalent.

It was a big day for assassin bugs here. They were fully a third of the insects I noticed, both spiny and banded. As far as interesting plants, I found wild ginger, polypody fern, arrow leaved violet, something I can't figure out at all, and Virginia waterleaf.

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-23-19. Washington Valley Park, Martinsville. 1 mile today, 558 miles total
Categories: flowering, fruiting

Today I walked along the edge of the (technically) closed section of the park. As it's been closed for several weeks, folks have gotten impatient and torn down much of the police tape, including on this section, and I did not encounter any fallen or hung-up trees.

This is a walk along several folks' back yards and then the edge of the reservoir and back up the wooded hill to the ball fields where I parked. Down by the reservoir I was able to get to the shore in a new spot, as the water level is down a little. I found a mint I'm not sure of, kidney leaved mud plantain, a pondweed, and coontail. I also spotted a moth mullein. And up in the park were planted kousa dogwood in fruit and burr oaks with acorns.

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-24-19. Coddington Farm, Warren, NJ. 1 mile today, 559 miles total.
Categories: fruiting, flowering.

This was one of the first places I walked for the "Journey of 1000 Miles" as it's not far and never crowded. It's an old farm grown up to woods and has some of the only hazel bushes and persimmon trees I know of in the area. Today I found Japanese angelica tree, which I'd never seen here before.

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-25-19. Washington Rock, Green Brook, NJ. 1.75 miles today, 550.75 miles total
categories: whatever caught my eye

today I met a friend for a picnic at this state park with a lovely scenic overlook (with the claim that Washington surveyed the British from this spot). The weather could not have been more beautiful. After we ate we walked down the old access road which is now a trail and all the way off the "mountain" to the highway and back up. This is the First Watchung Mountain, but it's only 505 feet tall here. Still, I'd never walked down (and back up) it before.

We were busy talking and didn't take many photos. The most interesting were a (blurry) mockingbird and some wild comfrey in fruit.

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-26-19. Glenhurst Preserve, Warren, NJ. 0.5 miles today, 551.25 miles total
Categories: leaf spots and mines, flowering, fruiting.

I walked at this usually flooded former golf course, but it's been so dry I was able to go right across the mud flats, and for once mostly avoided the cutgrass and tearthumb. I was looking at fungal spots on leaves as well as miners and galls and found tons, the vast majority of which I can't ID. I'm still uploading them all as I managed to bring a camera with a dead battery and also a dead back up battery so took all my photos on my phone, then didn't want to use up that battery (or my data) uploading on site.

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-28-19. Washington Valley Park at Tullo Rd., Martinsville, NJ. 1.75 miles today, 563 miles total
Categories: fruiting, fall color

I walked in the back side of the closed section of Washington Valley Park, without encountering any blocked trails. It was a lovely fall day, and lots of plants were fruiting or changing color, but I didn't find many surprises. There was turtlehead blooming here, that I'd never seen before, and a viburnum I don't recognize. And I caught a sulfur butterfly posing very prettily on some blooming vetch.

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-29-19. Gibride to Whiterock, Washington Valley Park, Martinsville, NJ. 1.5 miles today, 564.5 miles total
Categories: flowering, fruiting, fall color, ferns

I walked up the backside of the "mountain" here (only a gain of 200 feet) and back down, in a loop all of which I'd been on before, but never in this order. Another beautiful fall day.

I found lots of ferns: marginal wood, christmas, New York, and what I think were spinulose wood and hayscented.

I also found richweed, bloodroot, hairy solomon's seal (in fruit), what I think was long spurred violet leaves, wild sarsaparilla, columbine (I had no idea that was here) and I think the "other" monkeyflower (winged), which I've never seen before.

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)
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9-30-19. Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia, PA. 2.25 miles today, 566.75 miles total
Categories: naturally occurring

Katie has (very mild) heart disease and had to go in to Philly for her every-three-years or so exercise stress test (no one in NJ will do children). Becca came along, and afterward I took them to the zoo.

At the hospital complex itself Becca found a "neat bug" which turned out to be a spotted lanternfly, the hot new invasive that's not (quite) made it to us in NJ. Carl, as a trucker, even had to get certified in spotted lanternflies (basically by reading an article online and taking a 3-question test) so that he can move freight in Pennsylvania, as they are trying, highly unsuccessfully, to contain the outbreak. We even passed billboards on the way in warning people about them. At any rate I'd never seen one in person before and there were dozens and dozens of dead ones here on the sidewalks.

We had a great time at the zoo, but I also enjoyed that it was not particularly well weeded, so there were a fair number of "wild" plants to be found. The only unusual one, though, was a patch of paper mulberry.

Posted by srall 5 months ago (Flag)

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