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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

June 24 , 2008

The Giant Ichneumon sighted yesterday remained near the same tree trunk most of the day. Another pleasant surprise was a visit from a Merlin, which perched on the large Maple outside the office windows.

The entire summer camp group was able to witness the Merlin as it hopped about in the leaves, and eventually took off across the street. Other highlights from the camp's morning bird walks were Ravens being mobbed by crows, and good looks at an Ovenbird.

Monday, June 23, 2008

June 23 , 2008

Today, a parasitic wasp called a Giant Ichneumon visited a tree trunk which had been marred by a Pileated Woodpecker. The tree needed to be cut due to proximity to the road, and has been standing as decoration at the Nature Center's front door. The wasp remained on the trunk throughout the day, with its ovipositor embedded within the bark, giving our summer campers ample opportunities to observe this unique and beautiful insect.

Friday, June 6, 2008

June 6 , 2008

A bird walk led by Chip along the Winooski in Waterbury yielded a big surprise. Alarm calls from nearby Red-winged Blackbirds alerted the group to a Peregrine Falcon, which swooped down to capture and carry off a grackle or starling. Other bird sightings included American Redstart, Warbling Vireo, Savannah Sparrow, Spotted Sandpiper, Baltimore Oriole and an Eastern Kingbird revealing its hidden reddish crest.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

June 5 , 2008

During a school group visit today, the discussion was about Salamanders. On our hike in search of the slippery amphibians, we found an impressive five species of salamander (half of the ten species found in Vermont)! Our list is as follows:

* Eastern Red-backed Salamander
* Northern Dusky Salamander
* Northern Two-lined Salamander
* Spring Salamander
* Eastern Newt (Red Eft) [pictured to the right]

Although our attention was focused on the ground while we searched, we heard many birds during our hike, including American Crow, Winter Wren , Blackburnian Warbler, Ovenbird, and Scarlet Tanager.

Monday, June 2, 2008

June 2 , 2008

For many years, NBNC has participated in a Monarch Butterfly tagging program, placing little stickers with "serial numbers" on the wings of the Mexico-bound butterflies. Last year we allowed the public to join us in this project, and it appears our efforts have paid off. For the first time, a monarch tagged at the Nature Center was recovered in Mexico!

The butterfly was tagged on September 12th, 2007 (our first public-tagging day) with the "serial number" of JNH 286. The butterfly, a male captured from the wild, was recovered in Cerro Pelon, Mexico by Melquieles Moreno, on March 6th, 2008. Having flown over 2,000 miles to reach his overwintering site, it is truly an extraordinary feat that this migration occurs, and that we have been able to track this individual butterfly. Thanks to those who helped with the tagging effort last year!

On another lepidopteral note, a Nessus Sphinx moth, which is a type of hummingbird moth, visited the Lilac bushes during lunch today. Photo by Larry Clarfeld