Sorry I’m late today, but I hope you find this worth the wait. The cicadas were already singing by 8am this morning, so you know its gonna be a hot one, and I was just walking past the pond when I caught a disturbance in the water out of the corner of my eye. Holy Moly, it’s a leviathan!
Okay, so technically, it’s probably a common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina), not the actual leviathan described in Job 41:1–34, but it is huge, easily over 2 feet long from tip to tail. We’ve seen him before, back at the end of May, but this morning is our best sighting so far.
And, as if that wasn’t amazing enough, wait till you get a load of these brand-new kids in the pond. That’s right, we’ve got a whole school of tiny catfish, probably channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), “North America‘s most numerous catfish species and the official fish of Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Tennessee!” Just look at those cute little whiskers.
Alright, who’s ready for some colors? I know I am. From left/top to right/bottom, we’ve got creeping bellflower (Campanula rapunculoides) blossoming in several locations across the park; common evening-primrose (Oenothera biennis), which I spotted along the Oak Leaf Trail and which only opens its huge (more than 2 inches across) blossoms in the evening; and maybe a pink/purple variety of yarrow, which we’ve already seen in its natural white.
Lastly, some more little creepy-crawlies, some of whom are also colorful. From left/top to right/bottom, we’ve got the tiniest monarch caterpillar I’ve ever seen, maybe about 1/4 of an inch long and a “second instar larva“, just getting started on a milkweed leaf; a tiny land snail; and a red milkweed beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus), not to be confused with the Large milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) we saw just a few days ago at Kohler-Andrae State Park, also on milkweed, and its “red and black coloring are [also] aposematic, advertising the beetles’ inedibility.”
Okay, I’d better stop here and get this out before you quit waiting for it, but before you go, just one last thing. Someone recently asked if it was okay to share a link to these reports, which was super polite, of course, and the answer is a resounding yes! If you think someone might get a kick out of the comings and goings I stumble across in Estabrook Park, by all means, send them a link. If you’re a subscriber, and get these as email messages, just forward one on. I get paid the same either way.