Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Walk Around Ponderlodge

[Young male Pine Warbler, Cox Hall Creek WMA, NJ, August 11, 2012. The great condition of the feathers, brownish (not green) back, and softness and "washiness" of the yellow help us know this is a bird hatched this year. You can click to enlarge all these photos, by the way, I'm experimenting with the best photo size for the blog.]

I no longer am reminded of the movie Caddy Shack when I walk the former golf cart paths of Ponderlodge, or, as it is now known, Cox Hall Creek WMA, just south of the Villas, NJ. The place is just rife with nature. I literally had never set foot on a real golf course until I walked this one for the first time, well after it had been taken over by the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife. I've heard it said that golf courses can never recover from the manicuring and pesticiding they have suffered; Cox Hall is proof that they can, in spades.

 [Black Saddlebags dragonflies have been more common at Cox Hall Creek WMA in recent days. This looks like a fresh one, i.e. one recently emerged from its aquatic nymphal state.]

Even just walking with the dog around Cox Hall, I see plenty of birds and bugs. Today, besides the Pine Warbler pictured, we encountered multiple Blue Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, Eastern Kingbirds, and a flock of adult and streaky juvenile Chipping Sparrows lured to a recently cultivated field in the southern part of the WMA. I haven't sorted out what the division has planted in these tilled sections, but am planning to find out.

 [A magnificent critter, Great Blue Skimmer at Cox Hall Creek today. I had a pair in a mating wheel at my house in Del Haven this week.]

With all the ponds, Cox Hall is decent for dragonflies, at least the common species, and the meadows are good for butterflies, too.

[Common Buckeye pauses at Cox Hall Creek, note the big eye spots and the red sripes on the forewing.]

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