Archive for May, 2010

Dark Fish fly

Dark Fishflies

May 23, 2010

The Dark Fishflies belong to the genus Nigronia . You tell them apart by the amount of white on their wings. Nigronia fasciatus has considerable white, almost a band, across… [Continued]

Squaw Root


The Broomrape family contains several parasitic plants. The most common of these in the mountains is Squawroot (Conopholis americana). Most people notice Squawroot in the winter when it looks like old… [Continued]

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral

May 19, 2010

The Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) is one of three species of Vanessa butterflies in our region. Most years, I may see a couple, here and there; this year, there are… [Continued]

Six-spotted Orbweaver (Araniella displicata)

Six-spotted Orb Weaver

May 18, 2010

The Six-spotted Orbweaver (Araniella displicata) is fairly common in May. It gets its name from the six black spots–three on each side–of its bright white-to-yellow abdomen. These little spiders make their… [Continued]

Solitary Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpipers

May 17, 2010

Solitary Sandpipers (Tringa solitaria) are one of the few shorebirds that we see in the mountains. They’re just passing through, however, on their way to Canada where they will nest… [Continued]

Pine-oak Rust gall

Pine-oak Gall Rust

May 16, 2010

Back in April, I found this odd-looking gall on a small pine tree in the eastern part of the County. It is a rust. My first thought was that it… [Continued]

Barn Swallows at mud

Swallow Adobe

Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) build their nests out of small balls of mud held together with spit and fibrous matter. To gather nesting materials, they search out mud puddles. The… [Continued]

Dung beetle

Scarab Beetles

May 15, 2010

Anthropomorphism, the tendency to describe non-human things in human terms, is generally frowned upon in nature writing. However, used metaphorically, it can serve as a useful shorthand to describe behavior…. [Continued]

Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrashers

May 14, 2010

In her delightful first book, Letters from Eden, the painter and naturalist Julie Zickefoose describes the first serious bird painting she ever did, a present for a beloved grandmother. It… [Continued]

Close up of Jacob's Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder

May 13, 2010

This is a Jacob’s Ladder. The question is, which one? Unhappily, many of our native plants are difficult to tell apart at the species level, as is the case with… [Continued]

back to top