Friday, July 27, 2012

High Point Summer III: Bugs, Flowers and Trees

 [Male Eastern Amberwing, our only entirely orange-winged dragonfly and at not even an inch long, one of the smallest we have. Only the 0.8" Elfin Skimmer is smaller. This one patrolled a pond in High Point State Park, NJ, July 22, 2012.]

A measure of High Point State Park's diversity might be the variety of interesting fauna and flora to take pictures of - in two days I accumulated enough photos to produce a month's worth of blogs (if I chose to torment you so). One wonders, however, one living in Cape May in particular, whether familiarity with the home turf has bred a bit of complacency if not contempt. It's true, I could easily stroll a beach and photograph Sanderlings, plovers, gulls, terns, shells, sand grains, waves, dolphins. And have, many many times. Yeah, there's plenty to see down here in southern NJ.

Nonetheless, High Point rocks the naturalist.

 [Widow Skimmer, High Point State Park, July 22, 2012.]

 [Slaty Skimmer, High Point State Park, NJ, July 22, 2012]

I find myself getting hooked on dragonflies more with each species I find. They're like the hawks of the insect world: hunters, aerialists - and in fabulous funky colors. And they behave - I mean, they do stuff, have fascinating behaviors, unique postures and flight styles. Like the Eastern Amberwing at the the top of this post. Male amberwings patrol an egg-laying site and lead females to it, hovering with abdomen raised while hoping the female accepts him, or the territory. If she likes them both, they mate.

 [Male (left) and female Swamp Spreadwings (damselflies) in tandem, High Point State Park, NJ, July 22, 2012.]

 [Summer Azure gives us a peak at its gorgeous upperwing, High Point, NJ July 21, 2012.]

 [We found this female Monarch actively ovipositing on clumps of milkweed near our Sawmill Lake campsite.]

 [Monarch egg, taken just a second after the egg-laying photo above.]

 [High Point's wet meadows, many of which are succeeding beaver ponds, are spangled with blooming Steeplebush, a good wetland indicator plant.]

[High Point woods along Park Ridge Road. What's around the bend? In this case, it was a ~ 3-year old Black Bear that didn't stick around for a picture. Just as well - he was 20 feet from the road, and we were on bicycles.]

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