Pollen, Butterflies, and Squirrels

Top Photo: Male flowers of eastern red cedar or juniper.


Red cedar is in bloom, and the male flowers are sending out pollen for the fertilization of female flowers, and for the rest of us to breathe in and sneeze.

Red cedar male flowers.

The local elm trees are in bloom as well. Elm is another tree, like the cedar, whose pollen is carried by the wind.

Elm flowers.

Not strictly an indication of spring, but of warm days throughout the winter and early spring, an orange butterfly flitting through the woods is a hopeful sight. I spotted one such butterfly yesterday. At first I thought it a question mark butterfly, but when it finally landed, and I was able to get a close look at the lepidopteran, I could see it was a comma, a close relative. (question marks have a small white question mark (?) on the undersides of their hindwings, commas have a comma (,) in the same relative area of the hindwings – see more distinguishing marks -).

Comma butterfly (Polygonia comma)

Other butterflies active on these warm late winter days were cloudless sulphur, cabbage white, mourning cloak, American snout, and question mark.

Squirrel treats

Again, not necessarily an indication of spring but of the weather and the amount of human visitation and influence, a gray squirrel was spotted munching on Cheetos in Explore the Wild.

Eastern gray squirrel eating Cheetos.

Another squirrel was sucking on a ring pop it must have found on the boardwalk. Or did the squirrel remove it from a nearby trash receptacle.

Eastern gray squirrel eating ring pop.
It looks like a cherry flavored ring pop.

And finally, a sneak peek at what’s to come, floating planters full of sedges, rushes and other wetland plants, and a floating walkway.

Coming to the Wetlands.

Get outside and have a look around.

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