Monday, June 2, 2014

June Phenology

Bluebird chicks- REK
June is bustin' out all over, accompanied and everything seems to be reproducing.  Male gold finch, and cardinals are in their brightest finery and the woodpeckers are feeding their young on nearby branches.  The first bluebirds have hatched and their parents are negotiating another nesting.  They likely will start a third and final family before the month ends.

Red fox  MDC
Young squirrels are everywhere, darting around in their new found freedom.  Little baby rabbits, showing more cute than smarts, are appearing along the lane, unaware yet of the dangers of wheels.  They need to be careful because foxes are also out, teaching their young kits to hunt.  Your chances of watching a family of foxes is far greater in town as they have adapted to civilization.  We have seen one twice in 18 years at the creek while urban friends watch them regularly in their back yards!

Fawn on a steep slope- REK
We have seen a lot of little spotted fawns the last week.  They are beyond the wobbly spindly legged stage now and able to run and climb but frequently are uncertain on where to head.  When we unwittingly startle them with a vehicle, they jump around in all directions, then bolt away.  Sometimes it is in a different direction from where the mother went, but she will be back soon to scold it about crossing the road.

Great spangled fritillary - Barnhart
Great spangled fritillaries are starting to reappear in large numbers, replacing the goatweed leafwings as the predominate orange butterfly of summer.  Tiny pearl crescents flutter through the grass and weeds, joined by wood satyrs and their cousins, the skippers.  Yesterday the brown and tan hackberry emperors were circling our heads.  They are drawn to humans for our sweat.

Ebony jewelwing - Joe Motto
Ebony jewelwings start appearing along the creek.  They tend to hunt from perches on low lying shrubs, their black wings held high above their backs.  Get close to one and in the right light you can make out the beautiful metallic green colors on its head.  Nearby dragonflies begin their restless patrolling, snatching the fresh mosquito hatches from the air.

Yucca flower and its moth - REK
The flowering spikes of yuccas shoot up three feet, seemingly over night.  Soon the white blossoms will open up, ready to host their pollinator, the yucca moth.   Finding this little white moth, which the yucca requires to reproduce, demands patient inspection of all the white flowers but is worth the effort.

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