Migratory Bird Survey

Natural History Observations, Anne Arundel County, MD

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The false flower bloom of an escaped ornamental pear.  Some plants get tricked in believing its spring as flowers are triggered to bloom based on day-length and/or temperatures.  Dozens of species of plants may release a few blooms in the autumn, thinking its the same time/temperature period/regime as they would typically flower in the spring.  An always welcome early autumn observation.

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Groundsel Bush (Baccharis halimifolia) is a fall-flowering dioecious shrub.  The Greek word dioecious means “of two households” having male and female flowers on separate individuals.  The photo above is the showy female flowers.  The photo below is the male groundsel bush flowers, with the photo taken from a different, nearby bush.

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Groundsel is salt-tolerant and is a common shrub of fresh and salt tidal marshlands in Maryland.

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An overview photo of an interesting salt meadow hay, woolgrass and persimmon wetland.  The persimmon were ripe and delicious, but not typical for occurring within rather wet wetlands (an over-wash area of a sea wall).

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Pearl Crescent Butterfly (Phyciodes tharos).

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Blue Azure (Celastrina sp.) the azures rarely perch with their wings open, but if they did, you would see a beautiful blue that they are known for.  They are associated with the herbaceous autumn wildflower wingstem, which we saw lots of.

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Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia), with its distinct eyespots.

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The Chesapeake Bay Bridge as seen from our work site, which happens to be the second oldest, former and historic air-strip in the world, where the Wright Brothers performed test flights with the Navy!

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The acorn cap of a sawtooth oak (Quercus acutissima), a non-native but stately species from Japan and China.

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Red-Banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops), common in the southeast and associated with sumac and sweet pepperbush.

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A Black and White Warbler (Mniotita varia) picks insects from the bark, which is characteristic for the species.  They are currently migrating south to Florida and points in Central and South America for the winter, grazing as they go.

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The Maryland uncommon Clouded Skipper (Lerma accius) is native from Georgia and west to Texas.  Josh, the person that I was working with today says that the furthest north he has ever seen them was the dismal swamps along the North Carolina and Virginia border.  Must be global warming.

I took pictures of a black-crowned night heron, indigo buntings, yellow-throat and several other species, but most of these photos were from quite a distance, and dang if those birds don’t sit still long enough for a good photo.

A highlight for today was finding the Lincoln’s Sparrow, a bird that only visits Maryland to snack, twice-a-year, as it migrates north to Canada to breed, and then flies to Central America to over-winter.  All of my Lincoln’s sparrow photos were partially blocked by vegetation and they are well camouflaged, blending with the vegetation.

Great day in the field, Thank you Josh, ornithologist extraordinaire.

 

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