Happy August!

The move went so well yesterday that we finished early, I was able to get back into Estabrook by midafternoon, and I am sure glad I did because we’ve got new birds, caterpillars, and flowers to look at this morning, if you can believe it.

Let’s start with the birds. The sky was bright white, which is the worst for trying to take a picture of a bird up in a tree, but I’m learning more tricks with my camera, and this one came out well enough to identify somebody new. Say hello to a pair of purple finches (Haemorhous purpureus), as far as I can tell, over the riverbank. They definitely have finch beaks, he definitely has a red head, which might look “raspberry red” if the lighting were better, and she is “coarsely streaked below” with the right wing markings. Who would have guessed at this late date that we’d still be coming across birds we haven’t seen before, eh?

I actually thought I might be capturing an image of a female indigo bunting, because I had just taken this nice image of a male stretching out between songs over the wildflower meadow just 10 yards inland.

And the reason I was standing on the riverbank at all is that I had glimpsed at least a dozen cedar waxwings hunting insects over the river again. As soon as I showed up, of course, they mostly paused on branches across the river, but I managed to stand still long enough to capture these less-cautious but no-less-dashing characters.

The meadow was not only abuzz with birds, and here are a pair of swallowtail butterflies getting to know each other. Remember when I said they don’t sit still if there’s more than one? Well, here’s your irrefutable evidence!

My already-cushy “job” would be so much easier if they would just sit still as monarchs do.

A little less flashy, but similarly as important, are these guys, ’cause you can’t have butterflies without caterpillars, right? On the left/top is somebody new to us, and I read these guys can be tricky to identify, but as far as I can tell, it’s a very pale yellow woolly bear or yellow bear, the caterpillar of the Virginia tiger moth (Spilosoma virginica). On the right/bottom, of course, is our old buddy, the easily-identified monarch caterpillar looking for just the right spot on a swamp milkweed to start munching.

Speaking of swamp milkweed, check out who I found sipping from blossoms on the mudflats south of the falls. Yes indeedy, that’s the snowberry clearwing (Hemaris diffinis), which we’ve seen a few times before, but this time in enough light that my camera could crank up the shutter speed a bit for some not-too-shabby stop-action.

This next image is just gratuitous, because we’ve seen these before, too, but it was posing so nice and I just watched Aliens with Anne last evening, so here you go: yet one more great black wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus). They look so peaceful sipping nectar, but I’ll let you read further about how they provision for their young on the Pedia of Wik. Did you think Dan O’Bannon come up with something nature hadn’t already devised?

Finally, we come to the striking new blossom in the park, the arrowhead, probably common arrowhead or broadleaf arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia). The mudflats are full of them, and just a few right in the river have bloomed.

I gotta quit there, mostly because I’m out of pictures, but I’ll be off to the park soon looking for more. In the meantime, I read that we are forecast to have some cooler weather in the coming days, so enjoy your break from the heat.

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

One thought on “Happy August!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: