Thursday, April 5, 2012

Crepusculum on Bull Creek

Bladdernut- Click to enlarge
The crepusculum is my favorite time to be outside.  This refers to twilight and dusk, those hours between total darkness and the brightness of day.  Many animals are stirring then which are seldom seen in daytime.

Sitting quietly on the edge of Bull Creek the last few nights has been rewarding.  A beaver swam out, circled around, and then decided it was still a little too bright to go to work.  Many crepuscular animals like them avoid predators by nocturnal feeding, heading back home as daylight appears.

As I sat on the bank in a thicket of bladdernut shrubs, Zebra and Tiger swallowtails fed on the tiny flowers, hanging like little pale green bells with long stamen serving as clappers.  Occasionally a loud buzz by my ear would announce the hovering of a Snowberry Clearwing moth, zipping between flowers, demonstrating its ability to fly backward like a hummingbird.

Eight-spotted Forester- Wikimedia
A special treat was the sight of Eight-spotted Forester moths, Alypia octomaculata, landing on small vines.  These day-flying moths may have been laying eggs on their host plants.  I could clearly make out the white and pale tan patches on their black wings although it was too dark to take their picture.

Walking back through the woods, I passed an oxbow pond, the chorus of frogs was almost deafening.  As I stepped to the edge, they become silent, unable to distinguish an admirer from a potential predator. 

On the way back home, the dark field is filled with fireflies, another early spring sighting, appropriate for April Fools day.

1 comment:

  1. You guys are way ahead of VT phenology but it's great to hear spring is near and everything is becoming more active! Hope all is well - see you in NY soon!