Monday, August 13, 2012

Farmstock 5 or 6

Last weekend was Mark's annual Farmstock weekend at Dove Harbour Farm. This is my 3rd one and they are always a great time. Check out posts from past years

View of the cabin and barn from the lower field

This year as in the past, he volunteered me to lead the "Bird Walk" which is really a nature walk where we hopefully see some birds.

Here is a recap of this year's walk:
  • Weather - spectacular!
  • Time - way too late for a card-carrying member of any bird club but late enough to make it palatable for most of the group.
  • Participants - only the fun people and the cool kids.
  • Trail - down through the woods, through the marshy meadow on the newly blazed path and along the train grade to the Buffalo Lick.  Click here for the map.
As for the birds and nature - well we did pretty well. We started with well, Doves sitting on the wire. Next, we spotted a few Field Sparrows and headed into the woods.  Everyone got hear the Eastern Wood Pewee calling - "pee-wee" by the boy's camp.  Once we got into the field and marsh, the insects were our focus.

 Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly
We also saw and heard alot of Goldfinches which made me hungry.  Not because I wanted to eat the Goldfinch, but because they sing "potato chip, potato chip" when they fly. And because it was getting near lunchtime.

Goldfinch
Other interesting birds that I was able to get photos of:

 Common yellowthroat skulking in the bushes

 Eastern Kingbird

Juvenile Swamp Sparrow

Check out this wasp.  It's a female Ichneumon (say that 2 times fast). Follow the photo all the way down to the bottom to see her tail.  This wasp is about 6 inches long which is mostly her tail.

 Ichneumon Wasp

From an article titled The Amazing Ichneumon by Connie Hjelmeng-Johnson:

Ichneumon wasps are truly a study in contradictions. They look frightening, but they are harmless to people. They are highly numerous, but seldom seen. They are great allies against insect pests, yet few people know about them. Females penetrate wood with tiny ovipositors, but scientists don't fully understand how. And while they are common in the world of insects, they are certainly "uncommon" to those of us who have observed their amazing behavior first hand.

The female has an extremely long ovipositor capable of piercing through several inches of insect-infested tree trunk to the caterpillars and other larvae within. When the eggs hatch, the ichneumon larvae feed on the body of the host. Eewwwww!

Most of the group got to see a Woodcock on the way back through the woods even though I missed it. I think people had fun and we got to eat potato chips at lunch! 

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