Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I went back to the site Tuesday night. We finally had some rain, and the river was running fast and brown. Here's a black-crowned night heron waiting patiently for some food to come along:

I was heading over to the pond to look at the water level there when -- score! I bagged the muskrat:

It kindly allowed me to take some publicity photos, but then it was time to get back to work.

I moved a few steps closer to the pond and suddenly a great blue heron rose up out of nowhere and flapped off. Alas, no photo. I went back to taking pictures and met up with the muskrat again a few minutes later. Snack time:

I decided to stay away from the pond and stop hassling the poor creature. There was lots to capture my attention on dry land as well, including some interesting caterpillars:

[A few days later: I believe the caterpillar above will become a mullein moth.]

I snipped the top off a thistle but left the rest standing when I noticed this little creature:

As I was walking through some goldenrod I noticed how tall everything is getting. I wonder if I'll be in over my head by the end of the summer? I may have to take a tall guide to help me navigate around the site.

I'm seeing a lot of galls on the goldenrod:

These are caused by the goldenrod gall fly, which deposits eggs in goldenrod stems. A larva hatches and starts eating the stem, and a smooth ball forms around it in response to the damage and to a chemical the larva secretes. This makes a perfect nursery where the larva can overwinter before emerging as an adult in the spring.

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