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Friday At Carpenter Nature Center

White-throated Sparrow

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?

Green Frog

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

Carpenter Prairie

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.

3 comments to Friday At Carpenter Nature Center

  • Peg

    Surprised to know that White-Throated Sparrows are moving thru so soon!
    And enjoyed the link to the calling Green Frogs.
    We’ve not heard a single one on the small lake in NW Wisconsin where we spend our weekends. Disappointing & a worry.
    Total agreement about the concerns of such a cool summer. The dry weather seems to have resulted in fewer and smaller acorns on both the red and the white oaks. And the deer, turkeys and small animals will suffer as a result.

  • Karen

    Even here in California, the summer was cool enough to be problematic for growing tomatoes.

    The geese have started to fly in V-patterns already, preparing to go wherever it is that they go.

    I was suprised by the sound of the green frog–it really is banjo-like, if your plucker is using a flat banjo!

  • Wow–a white-throated sparrow! I don’t usually see them until October.