Looking Back on May

April and May are the two months where I average the most birds seen per day.  Spring migration is different from fall migration in the fact that there are more winter residents lingering during spring migration than there are summer residents lingering over into fall migration.  Also, it seems like fall migration is a lot more spread out.  The summer lull of birding that happens just before fall migration also makes it a little different.

Unfortunately, this May has found me working a great job but missing out on several spring migrants.  I have had a lot of other types of wildlife show up.  I will order this blog taxonomically.

Plants

Since starting my job at Logoly State Park I have seen several cool plants.  We have had several White Milkweeds show up.  These are the larval foodplants for the Monarch butterfly.  Near one of our springs we have a large Sweetbay Magnolia.  These are only found in the southern parts of the state.  In May we’ve seen the bloom of two common mints: Blue Sage and Common Self-heal.  We have a lot of ferns in the park, as it is heavily wooded.  So far, I’ve found Christmas Ferns, Bracken, Sensitive Fern, Resurrection Fern, and Cinnamon Fern.  There are a lot of other ferns on the park’s list that I am very eager to find.

 

Bradley's Spleenwort

Bradley’s Spleenwort

White Milkweed

White Milkweed

Possumhaw

Possumhaw

Sensitive Fern

Sensitive Fern

Carolina Buckthorn

Carolina Buckthorn

Fish

I’m not great with fish, nor is this my favorite taxa.  I have seen copious amounts of Channel Catfish, Bluegill, and a few Largemouth Bass in the pond.  Our most common baitfish in the pond is the Fathead Minnow.  There is a stream and several vernal pools in the park that have Mosquitofish and Darters.

Arthropods

You may have guessed by recent post but I love to go hunting for Butterflies and Dragonflies (I also like moths and damselflies).  While taking a species inventory of the park I have stumbled upon interests in other arthropod orders like Orthoptera (grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets), Hemiptera (true bugs, leafhoppers, cicadas, and the like), Hymenoptera (wasps, bees, and ants), Diptera (flies), and Coleoptera (beetles).  We also have crawdads, spiders, millipedes and centipedes.  My favorite finds so far have been Phantom Crane Fly, Calico Pennant (dragonfly), Little Glassywing (butterfly), Rosy Maple Moth, Long-horned Beetles, and many more.

Little Glassywing laying eggs

Little Glassywing laying eggs

Little Glassywing female

Little Glassywing female

Little Wood Satyr

Little Wood Satyr

Spangled Skimmer

Spangled Skimmer

Red-banded Leafhopper

Red-banded Leafhopper

Common Whitetail

Common Whitetail

Herps

The park is full of Bronze Frogs, Blanchard Cricket Frogs, Fowler’s Toads, Broad-banded Watersnakes, Cottonmouths, Green Anoles, Fence Lizards, Ground Skinks, Red-eared Sliders, and Three-toed Box Turtles.  Some surprise finds have been Spotted Salamanders adults, Marbled Salamander larvae, Yellowbelly Watersnake, and Rough Earth Snakes.

Five-lined Skink

Five-lined Skink

Green Anole

Green Anole

Northern Fence Lizard

Northern Fence Lizard

Broad-banded Watersnake

Broad-banded Watersnake

Three-toed Box Turtle

Three-toed Box Turtle

Birds

The birding is good.  I’ve seen about 50 species since March.  While walking a trail I watched a small brown bird moving about on the ground.  Fortunately, I had my binoculars with me and could see that it was an Ovenbird.  A few weeks later I was walking by a wooded area and heard an odd call.  I looked up to see an American Redstart and a Canada Warbler.  All three of these have been surprises.

As mentioned before, my spring migration numbers are down.  However I did get to get out to see some last minute Semipalmated Plovers and Least Sandpipers.  I got a few warblers but did miss the Magnolia and Yellow.

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

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