Friday, June 12, 2015

Prospect Park Potpourri

     It's hot out and after the last few days at work, a stroll outdoors was all I needed. Didn't need to see anything special, but just relax and be outside among the nature to be found within Prospect Park. Well, I suppose nature wanted to treat me to all it has to offer. From tiny insects to splendid birds, and everything in between, it ended up being a great walk with plenty to see, despite the heat and stifling humidity.
     Enjoy the sights!
The baby birds of spring are out of the nest, but still following mom around. This young mourning dove just perched and stared at me. Mom then taught it a lesson, by chasing him off into the brush, as if to teach the lesson of "HIDE YOURSELF!" Because this little bird didn't seem to do that oh so well, quite yet.
I love watching the pollinators, like this bumble bee hover in search of the best nectar. I am so proud of myself for having become so much more calm around bees. Taking photos like this in my past would have never ever happened.
Came around a turn on Lookout Hill to find what I thought was a downy woodpecker, but now I'm thinking hairy, after seeing just how long that bill is!
I'm still goin' with hairy woodpecker on this one.
The plain and simple cabbage white butterfly is still very beautiful, and should not be dismissed! Often mistaken as a moth because of its coloration, this is indeed a butterfly-- not to mention there are some moths out there that are stunners in the color and pattern department, themselves!
This photo makes for an easy ID, this is the Eastern Comma. This butterfly, the Eastern comma, can help you in any writing you do, it carries two white commas, one on each wing!  
The Eastern comma is also gorgeous as heck! I love that the summer brings with it many other winged beauties, besides just birds!
Butterflies belong to a group of insects called Lepidoptera, which means "scaly wing." Under a microscope, tinny little scales give their wings the color and structure.
A honey bee has this cloud of blooms all to herself!
Found a painted turtle on the trail. It is very much turtle nesting season and turtles will wonder beyond lakes and ponds to seek a proper place to nest. This is a turtle I am more than happy to help in the direction she is going, which was away from the water-- meaning she is seeking a place to lay. She was not huge and perfect size for a dog to pick up. It's things like this that remind us of the importance of keeping dogs on leash in wildlife areas. Painted turtles are a native species to our area, so I hope she successfully lays her eggs and that they hatch and make it back to the lake.
Isn't she beautiful??
Found some other birders who were kind enough to introduce me to the hummingbirds nesting in the park. That bump on a branch is a nest with 2 young hummingbirds within!
This nest was quite high up, this image is zoomed in and then cropped. It is important not to cause disturbance to nesting birds. They should be able to act normally if you are observing them. That means that you should always remain at a respectful distance.
Nothing seems more precarious than sticking a needle like beak down the gullet of your begging chick to feed it with straight up sugar (nectar) you collected. If you look, you can see the baby's head up and mom has her beak inside that lil' guys mouth and is feeding it! 
You can see baby #2 is begging on the left-- its beak is clearly open and waiting!
Mom finishes feeding baby #2- what lucky little chicks!
Hummingbird nests are like something out of a forest fairytale. This nest is constructed with moss and lichens, then spun together with spiders silk, collected from webs, you can even see a few strands connecting from the twig to the nest. The mom then shapes this tiny little silken cup around her body and places 2 tiny eggs within. You think how can this tiny little ruby-throated hummingbird have survived the intense rainstorms and weather we have had in the last week... well it appears that those tiny leaves above act as the perfect roof, to shield her and her family from the rain. Like seriously, how much cuter and whimsical can this life get?!
A young robin seems to be out on his own and beginning the game of life. Act one: eat and grow!
A chipmunk forages in the soil for seeds and grubs. Lots of chipmunks out, and plenty of them are oddly not very shy.
This green heron was active all around the Lullwater, it was calling a lot. It's call sounded kind of like my stomach growling, and it threw me off, because I skipped breakfast-- but didn't feel hungry. Then I saw him.
I love these guys, I hope they have more babies this year!
I leave you with a catbird making an absolutely absurd face.