Its that time of year for the Beekman Road Salamander Migration. I'm sure that there is still more to come over the next couple of week.
Monday, March 18, 2013
Thursday, March 7, 2013
While on winter vacation to visit friends in Rochester (You go to Rochester for a vacation?), no trip is complete without a stop over to Mt. Hope Cemetery. When at RIT I was always a little pissed that do to my transfer status I never got to do the Mount Hope Project. The weather was overcast, gloomy & cold so it makes for a fun walk.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Another part of my action packed weekend was to Six Mile Run Reservoir in Franklin Township, Somerset County. This is a double fun trip because I get to drive on my most favorite of all roads in New Jersey, Canal Road. For those that have never been there think of driving down a road bordered by a ditch on one side and the D&R Canal on the other in a space not much bigger than an alleyway. Trail Map can be downloaded here.
My plan was to hike the full length of all the trails in & out. Due to the muddy conditions with the recent rains I only finished the Blue Trail. Just too much slipping for me while hauling camera gear so I turned around at where the Blue meets the Red and said "Next Time". All in all it was still a good walk, there is something I like about hiking in the fog.
|Blue start at Canal Rd Lot|
|A Nice Foggy Morning|
It was pretty quite along the trail, there was bird song every now and then. My spottings included Cardinal, White-throated Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-tailed Hawk, Canada Goose, Downey & Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Carolina Wern and a few Golden-crowned Kinglets. There was one mystery sighting which was either a Kestrel or a Merlin. No mammals to report not even a chipmunk.
|Was just scanning the field|
While wildlife was somewhat low, I did have fun searching for my second favorite thing besides insects when hiking. Moss, Lichen & Fungus are always a backup when when I pan out on the trail. While I'm no expert I just like finding new stuff. There were section of the Blue Trail that reminded me of the Pacific Northwest, not that there was tons of ferns but just densely cover tree trunks.
|Lichen & Moss|
Monday, January 14, 2013
After battling a cold for the last week, I was chomping at the bit to hit a trail system this weekend. While lying in bed, my thoughts were mostly about where have I not been in New Jersey. One of these places was Ken Lockwood Gorge.
So on Saturday Morning at 6, the wheels where on I-287N, the drive was uneventful & quite foggy. There is nothing like having a whole Interstate Highway pretty much all to yourself. Arriving before just Sunrise, I was not the only person there, apparently Fly Fishing is popular in January.
Deciding to have a snack before hitting the trail/road, I made my way to the dock. While finishing my coffee and enjoying the sounds of a fast moving Raritan River’s South Branch, I noticed some movement about 20 yards away. At first thought I figured it was some debris flopping around but moving closer it appeared to be an animal. Thinking it was a Raccoon or an Opossum, I moved a little closer. I was wrong on both accounts; it turned out to be a North American River Otter or so I thought. As soon as it caught a glimpse of me it hit the water and I lost it to the pre dawn darkness. This has been the only time I have saw one, my closest spotting was some tracks in the snow at Natirar Park about 5 years ago. Being quite disappointed that I left all the cameras in the car I headed off. About a 10th of a mile into the trail, I ran across those Fishermen. Having a quick conversation with them, they told me that they saw two Otters swimming down river before my arrival.
The road was quite for the most part; I spotted a Great Blue Heron, Tufted Titmice, Dark-eyed Junco, White-throated Sparrow, Hairy Woodpeckers, Carolina Wren and the big bird of the day, Pileated Woodpecker / Dryocopus pileatus! Not just once but what I think was six different ones, unless it was a pair I spotted 3 times. The air was cold & refreshing and there was still some snow and ice on the path.
Reaching the end of Raritan River Road, my hike looped onto the Columbia Trail and headed back to the parking lot. This section was for the most part uneventful with the exception of finding Gnome Homes placed along the trail. By now there was a lot of people using the park system and that means to head home. I will be putting Ken Lockwood Gorge on a 4 season visit plan, which I usually don't do.
Posted by Dreyer Photographic at 10:53 AM
Labels: Fog, Gnomes, Hiking, Hunterdon County, Hunterdon County Park System, I-287, I-78, Ken Lockwood Gorge, New Jersey, Raritan River, South Branch, Wildlife Management Area, Winter, WMA
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
2012 was pretty crappy in the way of my freelance business but it was a pure gold mine in the way of moths. My plan for Moth Season 2012 was pretty simple, set up a station 3-4 nights out of the week & record the species that showed up. While getting bored of just photographing them on the sheet in 2011, I did what any photographer would do and built a small portable studio. It is pretty fancy and cost a whole 20 dollars to make, unless you add in the cost of strobes.
My backyard moth station consists of a 400 Watt Mercury Vapor Light, a Queen Size white sheet and a lot of containers. The studio is make out of an old box, which I designed after a swoop table, one flash over the top and one flat panel flash under the white background. This sits right near the light on an old card table I picked up at a yard sale.
Using this system and my new light which was nicknamed MorningStar, I was able to photograph over 300 species of moths in my backyard alone. This count excludes Micro Moths and add in another 200 for field trips & moth nights elsewhere. Now not all of these moths were "lifers" but I like to reset my count every year. I feel that it is a fun way to keep me in tune with what's flying and also keep a population count or a high count for individual moth species per year.
So hear are some of my favorite moth visitors from 2012, in Latin Alphabetical Order.
1. Agrotis ipsilon - Ipsilon Dart (Male)
2. Amphipyra pyramidoides - Copper Underwing
3. Anicla infecta - Green Cutworm Moth
4. Anomis privata - Hibiscus Leaf Caterpillar Moth
5. Atteva aurea - Ailanthus Webworm Moth
6. Ceratomia amyntor - Elm Sphinx
7. Ceratomia catalpae - Catalpa Sphinx
8. Cisseps fulvicollis - Yellow-collared Scape Moth
9. Hypena baltimoralis - Baltimore Hypena
10. Hypena madefactalis - Gray-edged Bomolocha
11. Marathyssa inficita - Dark Marathyssa
12. Zale lunata - Lunate Zale
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Back during mothin' season I started collecting other non-moth creatures. I figured that it would give me something to do during that long time frame before the start of the next moth season.
Going through my Hymenoptera folders I ran across this one that I brought into the studio. After giving up on searching Bug Guide I decided to post it in the Request ID section. Not more than 15 minutes had past and I had an answer. So I give you Megarhyssa greenei.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
One of my favorite places to take a walk is Frost Woods over in East Brunswick, it is also the site of Moth Night. It was quite a surprise to see the wind damage that was done, there was quite a bit of Widowmakers for you Arborists out there. While I didn't walk my usual route, it would be safe to assume that most of the place looked like this. Wonder what the clean up plan for this place is? I'll be checking out the two other places that National Moth Week uses in East Brunswick, Elk Pine Woods & Dallenback Lake within the week. So if you decide to visit, just make sure you use caution.
Monday, November 12, 2012
With all of my post Hurricane work done, i.e. yard clean up, tree chopping & helping the neighbors, it was time to take a walk to check out my local patch. The nearest wooded area near my house is Grekowski Park or as Townies know it, Bissett's Pond. It was named after a lifelong resident and first Mayor of the Borough of South River, James Bissett. If you are a Ham Radio Operator, you know what I'm talking about. For a small patch of woods (58.6 Acres, 38.9 acres are preserved Middlesex County Open Space) it usually has something interesting to find. Of course the eyesore of a baseball field they built sometimes distracts from the fun. I wonder how many Box Turtles were displaced during the construction of it?
Usually one can find at this time of year, White-throated Sparrows, Dark Eyed Juncos, Tufted Titmouse & Song Sparrows going about their business in the mixed woods. These being the most noticeable bird species other than Canada Goose & Mallard. While watching a flock of Junco's, I hear a Alarm Squeak from a Titmouse. Only to look up and see a Hawk flying overhead at about 12 feet of the ground. And not just any hawk but a Red-shouldered Hawk! I can recognize that rufous anytime, most likely because I only see it once in awhile & think is was female based on size. She can to rest on a large branch about 25 feet away with prey in the talons (smaller than a Chipmunk maybe some type of Vole). I made a move to line up a photo, but she moved up to a higher branch. Trying to be extra quite and sneaking trough some dead Goldenrod, I stepped on a branch and spooked her off.
|Done with lunch|
After letting the trees hear my sailor trained language skills, I headed off to check the banks of the South River. As luck would have it, she didn't fly that far off, managed to pop a few shoots off, then I let her be.
|Eyes are some what too soft.|
Friday, November 2, 2012
So like many other East Coast Bloggers here is my Hurricane Sandy post. As one can see I survived, only lost a few roof shingles and a mid-sized tree. My house sits right at the edge of the flood plain for the South River. With the surge I actually had water up to my second front step, only 3 days with no power, cell or internet. I was horrible! Anyway here are some pics of the aftermath.
|Before the storm|
|After the flood|
|I think I had one of these as a kid|
|Floated into the street from a block away|
|Across the street from the trailer|
|Two days later|
|Flat Roof Gone|
|Apparently one needs to be from a newspaper to take this photo|
|Local Lads cleaning up Main Street|
|Someone should of told Sandy|