Top Photo: Magnolia warbler gleans insects from black willow tree.
As many of you know, birds are on the move. The other day I ran into a group of neotropical migrants out on the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Loop. In attendance were common yellowthroat, American redstart, Blackburnian, magnolia, northern parula, and prairie warblers, and red-eyed and white-eyed vireos to name just a handful. I’m sure I missed seeing many of the birds that were around that day, but there’s more to come. The next cold front should bring in a new batch. Get out early and check out the trees for feeding birds. The birds will be looking for insects to fuel their trips south.
With somewhat cooler weather, turtles are spending more time basking in the sun. Ninety to 100 degree temps are not favored by the turtles. The water of the Wetlands itself is in the nineties during the heat of summer. I imagine it can get quite hot inside those shells while sitting on a hot rock in the blaring estival sun.
The butterfly weed that grows in Catch the Wind has been ravaged by milkweed leaf beetles. One of the plants produced only one seed pod. Milkweed bugs eat milkweed seeds so we may not see many of the red-orange insects this year. I did, however, spot a group of large milkweed bug nymphs in a patch of partridge pea. Hopefully they can survive on the seeds from the pea pods.
The lone milkweed bug nymph above seems to be searching for something, perhaps milkweed.
The milkweed bugs above are about a week old so they must have found something to feed on. Two days after this photo was taken I could locate nary a one. Had they crawled off in search of food or had some other creature found and ate them? I’d wager they dispersed on their own.
There are still many dragonflies zipping about the Wetlands. We should see even more arrive from the north. Some species, like common green darner and black saddlebags, move south at this time of year.
See you in the Wild!