Field Notes: What’s in the Woods Today? May 9, 2018

May 9, 2018 1:56 pm

Field Notes: What’s in the Woods Today?   May 9, 2018

by Area Forester Lisa Deaton

Flowers, Birds and Bugs

When the songbirds and wildflowers reappear each spring, it feels a bit like a reunion with long lost friends.  The migratory songbirds fill the air with familiar songs.  The month of May brings many beautiful wildflowers, including its namesake, the Mayapple (below).


Golden ragwort (top photo) is a common wildflower in cutovers, and this large patch of ragwort (below) provides some natural landscaping for an old house no longer surrounded by forest.

Dame house w flowers

As it turns out, the songbirds are not here just to greet us; they have arrived in time to eat the emerging insects and to drink nectar from the blooming flowers.

Zebra swallowtail butterflies have hatched on the Middle Peninsula.  This one (below) is feeding on the nectar of two species of purple flowers growing near the zebra swallowtail’s host plant, pawpaw.

Z Swallowtail original

If spring has a dark side, it is the arrival of some very annoying insects: deer flies, ticks, and mosquitoes.   These “biters” are present throughout the summer; but insects can have their magical moments, such as these baby spiders taking a leap towards their first adventures (below).

spider hatch

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