Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A 17 Year Reunion

Rockland Lake State Park.  
     Last week was Memorial Day weekend and things were abuzz in the world of insects (pun very much intended). The East Coast was excited about the emergence of the 17-year cicadas! Well, excited might not be how most people would describe their feelings about cicadas, but I was excited about them!
     My husband and I were up in Rockland County to visit friends and family and also, to relax. We went for a walk from his Dad's house down to Rockland Lake State Park and around the lake over at the park. We saw some fun things, walked through poison ivy, and even found some herps! Amazingly, we did not get poison ivy!
     Enjoy our sightings!
This utility pole was full of newly emerged cicadas! Cicadas are true bugs -- not all insects are bugs, did you know that? Like the true bugs I am familiar with, cicadas have mouth parts that are made for sucking up their dinner. Their dinner is vascular fluid from the xylem of plants-- plant juice. In other words, harmless to humans.
Making friends.
That is a handsome bug! The colors on this guy were beautiful! The adults are up to mate, lay their eggs, and then their larvae will live underground for the next 17 years.
See, they ain't so bad!
I even got my husband to hold him!
I found some red backed salamanders under a large slab in the park. Normally these guys are grey with a dark red color down their back. These guys were what is known as "lead phase" in their coloration.
Salamanders are amphibians and this particular type belongs to a group of salamanders known as lungless salamanders. Their oxygen is exchanged through their very permeable skin. How amazing is that?
How cool are you?!
A damsel fly rests--- damsel or dragon? Damsel flies fold their wings back, fly slower, and sometimes seem to flutter more than dart. Dragon flies hold their wing out when at rest, they are fast, they dart, and are amazing predators.
Painted turtles take advantage of the very hot sun.
Saw a lot of frogs.... jump into the water, away from us. This bullfrog held long enough for a photo. You really do not see them until they make the leap.
A very upset Northern Oriole.
A fish crow up to no good. We could tell it was a fish crow because of its call. Instead of saying CAW! This crow says CAHH! It's much more nasal too. It's like a crow with a Boston accent.
The oriole above and this Eastern kingbird were diving and chasing after the crow. They must be nesting nearby.

A tree swallow keeps guard over its nest box. Those eyes are huge, and I'm sure helpful as these guys zoom around quickly in the air catching insects on the wing.
The water lilies had these crazy stems? roots? branches? They were always covered in turtles.
A turkey vulture greets us as we arrive home from our walk.