Home Field and Swamp: Animals and Their Habitats

        

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February 2012

As usual, the Durham area made its transition into spring. American Robins and Common Dandelions were on the ground already, but small wildflowers began to appear.  Although spiders had appeared through most of this uncharacteristically mild winter, small insects started to show up.  We saw the last few of the thousands of Ring-billed Gulls that congregate at Ebenezer Church State Recreation Area in Chatham County on 2/15; they were gone last year on 2/20.

Durham, NC  2/29/12

Male Eastern Towhee, scratching for insects   Red Maple seeds Speedwells

Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC  2/28/12

Honeybee  Crane Fly Orchid  Field Pansy  Spring Beauty  Unfolding Spring Beauty 

Trout Lilies  Trout Lilies, focus on leaves  Mouseear Chickweed (Cerastium vulgatum), possibly an oddball Common Chickweed Trout Lily flower  Froghopper 

   
Hepatica  Star Chickweed Trout Lilies     

Durham, NC  2/28/12

     
Long-jawed orb weaver Jumping spider (Hentzia mitrata)      

Durham, NC  2/27/12

     
Neighborhood dog White-lined Burrowing Bug      

North Carolina Museum of Art (outside), Wake County, NC  2/24/12

 
Male and female Hooded Mergansers The Hooded Merganser couple joins, They swim together. The female pulls ahead.  

Male Hooded Merganser, alone Leaf? Leaves? Hard to tell. Field Pansy Speedwell Rosemary flowers (Rosmarinus genus) Tree sculpture

Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC  2/23/12

 
Common Buckeye, unusually small and lively Yellowbelly Slider Spring Azure Grasses  

 
Siler's Bog, with an iridescent oily sheen A small marsh in a large field The creek and the other side A group of deciduous trees in a field, with a pine border  

Durham, NC  2/22/12

Pine flower snout beetle (Cimberis pilosa), about 5 mm long. Male midge Moth Jumping spider (Paraphidippus aurantius) Running crab spider (Philodromus genus)

Durham, NC  2/19/12

       
A cardioid in nature. In theory, it's a geometrical figure formed by the path traced by a point on a circle rotating along another circle of the same size. This photo was taken of a bowl placed under a ceiling light.        

Durham, NC  2/18/12

   
Common Chickweed Bagworm moth (thumbnail rotated 90 degrees, unfortunately)    

Durham, NC  2/17/12

       
Contrails        

Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Mangum, NC  2/17/12

Swampy area More swamp Grass Common Dandelion Megachilid bee

Ebenezer Church Recreation Area, Apex, Chatham County, NC 2/15/12

The mystery of the thousands of feathers left behind here last year (2/20/11) was solved by this visit. Hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls congregated alternately on a barrier marking the limits of the public swimming area and on the shore.  I watched them move one by one to the shore, with birds typically landing within the group rather than at its edges.

The gulls were initially in the water. After I did a turn through the woods, about 100 had moved to the shore. The location of the feathers on the ground suggested that this group on the shore was so large that it extended partway onto the grass, although they avoided the sidewalk.

 
A large group of Ring-billed Gulls that assembled during our visit This Ring-billed Gull chose to land near, but not at, the edge of the group. The first set of gulls to come over, from a distance. Feathers on the ground show where gulls were before, so this is a relatively small assemblage. Ring-billed Bills on the swimming area barrier  

 
This gull as coasting along the water surface. Ringed-bill Gull feathers on the grass. Ringed-bill Gull feathers on the grass Gulls out in the water, where they flew after a disturbance  

       
 A well-camouflaged male midge seen in the woods        

Durham, NC 2/14/12

 
Brown Thrasher Jumping spider (Hentzia mitrata) Jumping spider (Hentzia mitrata) Jumping spider (Paraphidippus aurantius)  

   
Mating Scuttleflies (Phoridae family) Mating Scuttleflies, dorsal view of male White-breasted Nuthatch    

Durham, NC 2/12/12

       
American Robin        

Durham, NC 2/11/12

 
Tufted Titmouse White-throated Sparrow Flower fly (Chrysogaster genus). ID thanks to Martin Hauser. Fly  

Durham, NC 2/10/12

       
Male House Finch        

Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC  2/8/12

       
Katydid        

Sandy Creek Park, Durham, NC 2/7/12

Swamp view Lesser Celandine Purple Dead-nettle Spring Cress Flowers on a mystery bush

       
Tachinid fly        

Durham, NC  2/6/12

Red-bellied Woodpecker Pine Warbler White-throated Sparrow Females: House Finch and Northern Cardinal Female House Finch
       
Female Red-bellied Woodpecker        

Durham, NC  2/3/12

Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC 2/3/12
       
Pond, with natural oily sheen from organic matter        

Durham, NC 2/2/12
       
Grassy field        
 
Silhouette of local bushes American Robin False Black Widow Flea Beetle (Phyllotreta zimmermani).  ID thanks to Gary Griswold  

Copyright © 2012 by Dorothy E. Pugh.  All rights reserved.  Please contact for rights to use photos.

 

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