Tuesday, May 19, 2009

'Tis the Season

Birds all over the country are well on their way to producung this year's crop of young-uns. This female Summer Tanager was photographed incubating eggs in the Wilderness Preserve, part of the Edge of Appalachia Preserve system. Summer Tanagers, Piranga rubra, specialize in eating bees and wasps, both in the summer and on its wintering grounds in Central and South America. Tanagers catch bees in flight and then kill them by beating them against branches. In order to prevent getting stung, the birds remove the stinger by rubbing it on a branch. Smart bird!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This last weekend was Flora-Quest, an annual event for folks from all over the state and in spite of threat of rain we ventured forth and all had a great time. The flowers were in great numbers and quite beautiful. One of the show stoppers was the Little White Ladies Slipper (on the far left) which is a threatened species so quite rare. The tiny Bishops Cap which you have to have a lens to view (we used our binoculars backwards), where worth the time to stop and look closely. An incredible 96 species of birds were seen also. There is not enough room to list all the flora seen by all the groups but it was amazing. Spotted mandarin, many species of violets, up to 5 species of orchids, the list goes on. Flora-Quest will happen again next year so mark your calendars.