Not that I could deny before, but migration is totally on. We got in our first fall white-throated sparrow in the banding nets at Carpenter Nature Center on Friday. I think this is the earliest we’ve ever had one. I’m very curious about this fall’s migration. Will our cold summer cause changes? It’s been too cool for backyard gardeners to get their tomatoes to ripen…what effects has there been on seeds and insects birds use to fatten up for the journey south?
Signs of summer are still around, check out this apparently well fed green frog that was lurking in Carpenter’s new pond. It was hiding in the grasses waiting for some unsuspecting insects to land nearby. I love these frogs, they make a sound kind of like a banjo string being plucked. Here’s a link to a great video of green frogs calling. At first I worried that this was a young bullfrog ( a non native frog that could cause problems in the pond) and so Jen and I looked up how to tell green frog from bullfrog. Green frogs have a dorsolateral fold from their eye to their hips. This frog had that fold, so that made it a green frog–whew. You can read more about the differences over at the Hilton Pond site.
Incidentally this is the best time of year to visit Carpenter Nature Center, the scenery is outstanding with the blooming goldenrod and asters. It gets even better as the leaves begin to change color. They have some great programs this fall from The Raptor Release to even a watercolor class in October (I might sign up for that). Note that swallowtail butterfly in the above photo? Take a closer look at it below:
Some will look at this butterfly and think “Aw, poor thing!” I look at it and think, “Man, that is one badass butterfly!” How long has it survived to have such a ragged look. That chunk missing out of its wing looks like the telltale patter of a bird beak. Has it evaded numerous attempts to be eaten by flycatchers and swallows? Perhaps this is the oldest swallowtail of the summer. It even bullied the honeybees and bumblebees trying to nectar along with it.