Grand Island, New York
"Nature's Bounty"
Naturalist Photographer Nathan Cook

Volume Two

Click For Volume One

Click For Volume Three

Nathan Cook is a resident of Grand Island, NY

All photos have been taken on Grand Island, NY and most may be clicked for a larger view.
Inquiries may be made to the photographer at

Giant Maple in autumn color: October, 2004
Beaver Island State Park has a number of remarkably large trees but this giant Maple, located just inside the entrance, is one of the finest on the Island.

Horse Chestnut/Buckeye Tree: October, 2004
This large specimen of Horse Chestnut is located on West River Road in the median between Alt Road and Legion Drive. At one time there was an estimated four billion true American Chestut trees across the eastern United States. In 1904 an introduced fungus from Asia started to kill the trees and by 1950 all but a very small percentage were dead. For more information, a more detailed description about this tragic event, and the history of the American Chestnut, click"Here".

Fallen Horse Chestnuts: October, 2004
During Late September and October the nuts start to fall from the Horse Chestnut trees. The intact nut and shell is about the size of a tennis ball. Inside there may be anywhere from 1-3 of the shiny brown nuts.

Closeup of a horse chestnut/buckeye: October, 2004
Though the rich brown nuts are fun to pick up and have a pleasant texture, they are not edible. The meats are full of tannins like acorns, rendering them terribly bitter and moderately poisonous. There were plenty of these nuts under the tree and no signs of squirrels gathering them for a winter nut larder.

Black Locust Borer Beetle: September, 2003
This beetle is carefully picking over goldenrod, eating the pollen as it goes. Black locust trees were once only found in the Allegheny and Ozark areas of the US but since have been planted over a large range to stabilize road construction sites, and to reclaim strip mine areas. The beetles have followed this expanded growth zone.

Blister beetles on goldenrod: September, 2003
Though this beetle seems innocuous, it can deliver a serious chemical attack. The beetles produce a powerful vesicant called cantharadin. Skin contact with live or crushed (even long dead and dried up) beetles results in painful blisters. This is especially problematic if alfalfa or other hay crops are contaminated with them during harvesting. Ingestion of as few as three beetles may kill an adult horse. Dried powdered beetles from this family have been marketed as Spanish Fly, a highly dangerous, and ineffective, aphrodisiac.

Wild Grape Cluster: Late August, 2003
The fruit on the wild grape that grow over so much of the Island start to ripen in mid-August. Though they may be eaten or processed for various food purposes, a skin rash may occur from handling them. A variety of wild grape found in the middle southern states can cause a much more pronounced poison ivy-like reaction.

Hawthorne Berries: October, 2004
These heavily thorned trees rarely exceed 20 foot in height. They bloom with white apple-like blossoms in the spring and by fall they have developed small apple-like fruit as well.

Hornet visiting bonneset: September, 2003
Though hornets feed primarily on other insects, they appreciate nectar as well. This orange variety is drinking nectar from bonneset.

Brown Soldier Bug - AKA Stinkbug: September, 2003
This soldier bug was found climbing around a dried teasel head. Soldier bugs feed on any number of caterpillars and beetle larva. If disturbed, they emit an unpleasant odor; hence their other name, stinkbug. They are capable of delivering a painful puncture bite if handled and should be avoided.

Healall/Woundwort: October, 2004
These are attractive low-growing flowers that start blooming early in spring and continue blooming into the frosts of fall. It was once touted as an holy herb, said to be sent by God to cure all ills - even to drive away Satan himself.

Mapleseeds: June, 2003
Though this photo was taken in June, the photographer has noted that some trees are producing a second crop of seeds this year.

Ripening Crabapples: October, 2004
Crabapple trees were once planted to harvest the small fleshy fruit for preserves and other food items but now they are planted for ornamental purposes. The birds and small mammals feed off the small fruit throughout the winter months.

Cluster of apples: September, 2003
Western New York is an excellent location for growing apples and other orchard crops. These bright red apples are unusual in having a deep red flesh as well.

Pears: September, 2003
There are several feral pear trees located throughout Buckhorn. The fruit do not grow to the size we find in markets, are buggy and a little bitter as well. The deer often gather under the trees in late fall to eat the newly fallen fruit off the ground.

Developing pinecones: June, 2003
The pinecones photographed here will become a food source for winter birds and squirrels by late fall.

Fall Oak Leaves: Early October, 2004
The leaves on the large oak trees in Buckhorn do not seem to change all at once, but do so in clusters instead.

Elecampane gone to seed: Late September, 2004
The blooming season for these plants is short - perhaps only a two-week period. After the seedheads have developed the finches and other seed eaters consume them almost overnight.

Green Leafhopper: August, 2003
This variety of leafhopper were found in clusters on sweet clover plants last year but none were sighted this year.

Bug on cockleburr: October, 2004
Though the unidentified bug is unremarkable, the structure of the cockleburrs is. Note the hooked tips and the smaller bristles towards their bases. The design is perfect for grabbing onto hair or clothing. The burdock and tickseed sunflower seeds are other plants that spread themselves using this strategy.

White tussock moth caterpillar: September, 2003
Though occasionally found on the Island, this stange and colorful caterpillar is more common to more southern states. Heavy infestations may cause significant damage to a variety of trees and bushes.

Crabapple in 2nd bloom for the year: October, 2004
Apparently this crabapple tree has picked up mixed signals. It was in full bloom in the middle of October; there were even a few fully developed apples still hanging on it. A careful look at the photo will reveal a hidden ladybeetle and a spider.

Mallard duck family: Late August, 2003
Taking advantage of a floating raft of rivergrass, this mallard duck family was found resting in the Sandy Beach swimming area.

Eastern Gray Squirrel: October, 2004
This Eastern Gray Squirrel seemed to enjoy taking in the afternoon sun while lounging on a tree limb.

Deerfly: August, 2003
Compared to previous years, there seemed to be far fewer of these blood sucking parasites. Usually there are four to six weeks that a simple walk in the woods is not possible without being harried unmercefully by these small tabanid flies. Like mosquitoes, it is the female that is responsible for inflicting a bite; the males are mainly pollen and nectar feeders.

Deerfly egg clutch: Mid-July, 2003
This shiny black cluster of eggs was deposited on a cattail leaf. After a few days the larva hatch, falling to the moist soil or water below. There they will feed upon organic matter, insect larvae, crustaceans, and earthworms; taking up to a year to develop into an adult.

Doe agaist Autumn foliage: October, 2004
With the cooler weather and rapidly diminishing cover foliage in the woods, the deer population becomes more visible. Buckhorn Park sports a very large deer population and extra care should be taken when driving on West River this time of year.

Cabbage Butterfly: September, 2003
This variety of butterfly is most often encountered as a garden pest. They lay their eggs on any crucifers available; cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower etc. Their green caterpillars blend in well with the foliage and are very destructive. This one was photographed visiting a stand of New England Asters.

Pokeweed plant: Early September, 2004
This is a most interesting plant native to America. The plants, growing up to nine foot in height, are somewhat fleshy. The young leaves may be prepared much like cooked spinach, but care must be taken to boil them twice to remove a toxic component. Occasionally the prepared leaves are sold canned in markets. The flowers are light green to white color and once pollinated form attractive clusters of berries; the weight of which often pulls the plant to the ground.

Pokeweed berries: Early September, 2003
The berries, though poisonous, are a source of a brilliant purple/dark red pigment used by natives to dye textiles and later to artificially color red wines (not allowed anymore due to the toxic nature of the juice). One of the toxic components found in the roots and in the berries causes clumping of the red blood cells and triggers abnormal division of, otherwise resting, B & T-lymphocytes.

Cavorting Garden Gnomes: September, 2003
One never knows what will be chanced upon during a good walk. Here a small gathering of garden gnomes were found cavorting around a tree. They all stopped their activity as soon as they spotted the photographer. This resulted in their statue-like appearance.

Bull frog in duckweed: Mid-July, 2004
This emerald green bullfrog blended right into the floating duckweed.

Funnelweb: Early October, 2004
This funnelweb had been woven at the bottom of a No Hunting sign in Buckhorn. Occasionally in the later afternoon or early morning the spider may be found resting at the entrance.

Hunting Harvestman: Early October, 2004
This rust colored harvestman was carefully wandering over the leaves of an elm tree hunting for food.

Arrowleaf arum seed pods: Early October, 2004
The unremarkable flowers of the arrowleaf arum usually go unnoticed. By late summer though, the foliage dies back for the most part, revealing the developing seeds. The pod-like structure is on the end of a thick stem that is poked under the water, and even the mud's surface.

Arrowleaf arum seed pod dissected: Early October, 2004
One of the seedpods from the cluster shown to the left was opened up to expose the developing fleshy green seeds. Both skunk cabbage and Jack-in-the-Pulpit are other native arum species.

Banded Woollybear Caterpillar: Early October, 2004
A common sight in the late summer and early fall, the banded woollybear caterpillar may be found moving over roads, trails and plant material. Once the cold weather hits, they form a cocoon and wait for spring to emerge as a creamy orange-yellow moth.

Unidentified caterpillar: Early October, 2004
These caterpillars are frequently found on the tree trunks in Beaver Island in later summer. Like the woollybear, they will emerge from a cocoon as a moth in spring. They should not be handled as their spines are particularly irritating.

Coral colored Virginia creeper: Early October, 2004
The leaves on this Virginia creeper vine have turned a coral color. After another few cool nights and a cold fall rain they will fall off altogether. With both the Virginia Creeper and poison ivy defoliating early, it becomes possible to see much farther into the woods in fall.

Crimson vines: Early October, 2004
The Virginia creeper vines are now turning fall colors in earnest. These large specimens are going up the trunks of trees in Buckhorn. The tree is merely a form of support to gain access to light; not a host for parasitic activity.

Birdsfoot trefoil seedpods: Early October, 2004
The name of this plant is derived from the appearance of the seedpods. They are not unlike the foot of a bird. Careful examination though will reveal that they are more akin to small dried pea pods.

Arrowleaf water plantain seedpods: Early October, 2004
Once the white petals fall from the the flowerstalks of this aquatic plant, rough seedpods develop. In late fall the pods will have fully formed and they will crack open to drop their seeds back into the shore area to germinate the following year.

Scarlet and green leafhopper on mapleleaf: Early October, 2004
Leaf hoppers and cicada are in the same insect family. As if the scarlet mapleleaf did not provide enough color, this scarlet and green leafhopper chose this location for a little afternoon sun.

Orange ladybeetle: Early October, 2004
After a heavy morning rainfall this orange ladybeetle came out to dry in the sun.

Mature Teasle: Early October, 2004
The teasle thistles are now finished blooming and their seed heads are drying in the late summer sun. It is not uncommon to find these in dried flower arrangements.

Bridge stalactites: September, 2004
Underneath bridges small stalactites may often be found. The rain and melting snow dissolve out minerals from the cement as it passes through the micro-cracks in the bridge. When it slowly drips through the underside of the bridge, some may dry, forming calciferous tubes.

Death visits a pigeon: July, 2004
This was all that was left of an Island predator's lunch. Hawks, owls, weasles, skunks, raccoons, opposums and coyotes are just a few animals that would enjoy a good pigeon repast.

Red Goldenrod Gall: Early October, 2004
The gall on this goldenrod had turned a brilliant fall red only on one side.

Mud Dauber Nesting Site: September, 2004
Composed of mud, these nest must be protected from rain. Mud daubers usually nest under eves, bridges, in abandoned or seldom used buildings and just inside caves. The large nesting site was located under one of the bridges in Beaver Island Park.

Ready to emerge adult mud daubers in puparium: September, 2004
If a still sealed nest is “popped” off the surface the contents may be viewed. In this case, there are two mud dauber nearly fully developed.

Mud Dauber Larder: September, 2004
The primary food source for developing mud daubers is spiders. The adults, after constructing their mud nest, go in search of spiders to fill the chambers with. Flower spiders tend to compose the majority of their prey. They sting the spider; paralyzing it, and then carry it back to the nest.

Once predator, now lunch: September, 2004
The Spiders are stuffed into the chamber fairly tightly. There were over 20 in the chamber that this goldenrod crap spider was retrieved from. Once they have enough in the chamber, they lay an egg among them. The egg hatches into a grub/maggot-like larva that commences to consume the spiders, one by one.

Mud Dauber Larval Case: September, 2004
Once the larvae had reached a proper size, they spin first a light web (see the periphery of the enlargement) and then a caramel colored thin pupating shell.

Mud Dauber Larva: September, 2004
The yellow colored larva (removed from the pupating case for a better view) will go through a metamorphosis and eventually emerge as an adult mud dauber.

Newly emerged mud dauber adult: September, 2004
This mud dauber was fully developed in the pupating case and emerged while the photographer was taking photos. Their bodies are still somewhat soft when they first emerge leaving them unable to sting or bite for an hour or two.

Opportunistic weevil species: September, 2004
The overview above makes their life cycle seem simple and without hazard but they too have predators and freeloaders. Pictured here is a weevil that will co-develop in the larder chambers; feeding off the spiders and perhaps the young wasps as well. In a series of opened nest, large numbers of these were found an a fair number of dried up larval and pupal wasp bodies.

Wasp mimic visits New England Aster: September, 2004
In the world of insect camouflage you can either blend in to your surroundings to avoid notice altogether or you can appear to be a dangerous or distasteful species. In this case a flower fly closely resembles a yellow jacket. Its flight capabilities, short antennae and single pair of wings distinguish it from the stinging wasp though.

Syrphid fly takes a break: September, 2004
Yet another flower fly photo. This torpedo shaped Syrphid also resembles a stinging insect; but not to the extent of the one shown to the left.

Foggy sunrise though a spiders web: September, 2004
Though the web itself is spectacular, the view of the fog in the trees with the backlighting of the morning sunrise make it a real piece of nature art.

Orb weaver web in morning dew: September, 2004
Spider webs are usually difficult to photograph due to their highly transparent nature. The pre-fall morning fog deposited microdroplets over the surface of this web making it very visible.

Beeblossom/Guara: September, 2004
Guara starts to bloom in mid to late summer. The flowers open up as white to slightly pink but after a day or two become quite pink and shrivel up shortly after.

Dodder gone to seed: September, 2004
If you check earlier entries you will find photos and descriptions of most the dodder life cycle. The developing seeds are shown here. Note that they only develop on the portion of the vine that is firmly attached to the host plant.

Oak leaf gall: September, 2004
A developing insect parasite causes the oak leaf to form scar tissue around the source of irritation.

Green Acorn: September, 2004
This petite acorn is close to being fully developed. The squirrels and other animals feeding off of the acorns may already be found collecting and eating them. Acorns have very high tannic acid content making them highly unpalatable for humans unless a lengthy treatment is undertaken to remove it first.

Acraea moth caterpillar: September, 2004
These orange caterpillars may be found on any number of types of herbaceous plants in meadows, fields or marsh areas. Their adult form is an attractive black-spotted white moth about 2 inches in length.

Green caterpillar on goldenrod: September, 2004
Each year the photographer finds a few of these bright green caterpillars on the blooms of goldenrod. It is not uncommon to find scars on them indicating that parasitic wasps have laid their eggs in the caterpillars' bodies earlier in the season.

Touch-me-not seed capsule: September, 2004
Touch-me-nots are aptly named. The seed capsules develop from mid summer through fall. If touched, picked or otherwise disturbed, they rupture like a broken spring; projecting their seeds several feet.

Morning dew on touch-me-not leaf: September, 2004
The leaves of touch-me-not (also called spotted jewelweed) are coated with a natural, waxy substance that readily repels water. The early morning dew forms perfect beads all over their surface.

Sawfly larvae under attack: September, 2004
The chalky appearance was first misinterpreted by the photographer as a fungal attack, but apparently this appearance is normal though for a developing sawfly. However, the eggs that are visible around it's legs and prolegs are not. These have been deposited by another insect with plans to use the living larvae as fodder for its own young. Very little goes to waste in nature.

Resting tree cricket: September, 2004
Tree crickets are very wary and quickly move to the underside of leaves if they feel threatened. They are often heard singing in bushes, brush and trees. A photograph of a nymph was posted earlier.

1/2 of a Sundog: September, 2004
Not an uncommon phenomenon here on the Island, Sundogs (perihelia, mock suns) are a meteorlogic event arising from light refracting off of ice crystals in the air. Unlike rainbows, they are seen in pairs on either side of the sun. Rainbows are found on the opposite side of the sky. Click "Here"for a more detailed description.

Iridescent leafhopper: September, 2004
This leafhopper appeared drab from a distance, but a close inspection revealed highly iridescent wings.

Juvenile garter snake: September, 2004
This young garter snake was found on the edge of the lake between GI and Beaver Island. It was probably less than 8 inches long and very alert.

Heron hunting minnows: Early August, 2004
During the twenty minutes the photographer watched this heron, it made 5 successful stabs at minnows in the water around its feet. Upon being disturbed, it made a gutteral sound and flew a hundred or so yards away to resume hunting.

Unidentified tufted caterpillar: Early September, 2004
This caterpillar was found on the trunk of a fruit tree. Experience with other caterpillars indicate that it is most likely destined to become a moth.

Annual Cicada Shell: September, 2004
Also known as Dog Day Cicada because their appearance coincides with Sirius, the Dog Star, rising at the same time as the sun; late July though August in our area. Annuals take 2-5 years to develop and different "broods" overlap in most areas so that there are a few of these around every summer. The molt shell is shown here. After developing underground for 2-5 years, they emerge, climb up a tree, post, etc. their skin splits and the adult form emerges, leaving behind a shell. Cicada are considered to be the loudest insects in the world; audible for over 1/2 a mile on a still hot day.

Ladybeetle egg clutch: September, 2004
After finding a suitable location, ladybeetles will lay egg clusters on bark, stems and occasionally leaves. Most often they are laid on plants that have a good supply of aphids or other microinsects for the hatchlings to feed upon.

Ladybeetle pupae: September, 2004
The hatched ladybeetle larva feed on small soft-bodied insects until they reach full growth. At that point they pupate; attaching to a sturdy surface, shedding their larval skin and completing development into an adult - much like the caterpillar to butterfly cycle.

New England Aster: Early September, 2004
The meadows and boarder areas of woodlands are ideal locations to find this common native aster. The plant develops from early spring culminating in a profuse blooming period in late summer/early fall.

New England Aster: Mid-August, 2004
For the most part, wild aster species in our area seem to be white or yellow. This variety though is a vivid blue to light purple; depending on nutrients and age of the flower.

Aster Species: Early September, 2004
This small, white aster species starts to bloom at the same time as the New England Aster (shown above). The overall plant is more bush-like with more flowers but less remarkable overall.

Jimpsonweed plant: Early August, 2004
This plant, originally found in the southwestern US has a number of descriptive names, including: Thornapple, Locoweed, Angels Trumpet, Devil's Thorn and Stinkweed. Jimpsonweed is a member of the family Solanaceae; a very important botanical family for human agriculture. Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, tobacco and eggplants are just a few close relatives.

Jimpsonweed flower: Early August, 2004
The flower is large and attractive. The color ranges from pure white to lavender. In the past 100 years it has become a popular flower garden plant under the name of Datura or Angels Trumpet. Trimming or removing the plants sends up an unpleasant odor (hence stinkweed) that tends to stick to the hands. The plant also may stain the skin and clothing a putrid green.

Jimpsonweed seedpod: Early August, 2004
After successful pollination, a nasty, heavily thorned, round seedpod develops. This is where the name Locoweed comes into play. The leaves, particularly the seeds, are shock full of toxic plant alkaloids, that, when ingested by livestock or a particularly adventurous (and stupid) human, causes hallucinations, drying up of the mucosa, dilation of the pupils, nausea and vomiting. Coma and death are also possible outcomes. Simply put, it's natures way of saying "Don't Touch!".

Night Heron fishing in lilypad bed: August, 2004
Night Herons are one of the smaller members of the Heron family. This striking bird has a dark “saddle” and back of the head, while having gray over the remaining portions. Its eyes are an orange color. Here it is standing, statue still, hunting for minnows in a bed of water lilies.

Skein of Canada Geese: Early August, 2004
Since they were headed north, it is unlikely that there was a pre-migration thing going on with this skein.

Mature Catalpa Tree: Late August, 2004
There are a number of large specimens of Catalpa on Grand Island. This one was photographed on river side of West River Road

Sumac Stand: August, 2004
The lush, fern-like leaves of sumac make a striking contrast with their maroon berries. The berries from a variety of these in the Middle East are harvested and made into a spice. The native ones shown here have minute cactus-like hairs in among the berries and may be very irritating.

Emerald Green Dragonfly: August, 2004
This large dragonfly was found sunning itself in Buckhorn. The intensity of the green on its body was similar to that of a nice emerald or tourmaline.

Groundnut vine and flowers: Mid-August, 2004
This unusual member of the pea family appears to be scarce in our area. This specimen was found in Buckhorn, growing up a fence. Once the flowers have been pollinated, they force the developing seedpod into the soil, where the “nut” develops underground.

Honeybees returning to their hive: August, 2004
A beehive in a hollowed out walnut tree was located by the photographer in late August. This photo was taken just before sunset; when the last of the workers were returning from an afternoon of gathering pollen and nectar.

Jagged Ambush Bug: Early August, 2004
Ambush bugs are members of the true bug family, with sucking straw-like mouthparts. As their name suggests, they wait to ambush their prey. In this case, the bug was camouflaged to blend in with the Queen Anne's lace it was resting on. They eat spiders, flies, bees, ants and occasional caterpillars. Occasionally a human will receive a nasty bite when picking or handling flowers.

Unidentifed Fly #2: August, 2004
This resting fly is likely a predator rather than a pollinator or filth variety. Its powerful back legs and streamlined body (almost wasp-like) would make it a dangerous foe for smaller insects, even in flight.

White Yarrow: August, 2004
Both white and yellow yarrow may be found in meadow and waste areas of the Island. Bother varieties are most likely escaped cultivars.

Aphid colony under attack: August, 2004
The large grub pictured here is actually a syrphid fly maggot, sometimes called a flower fly. It was eating the aphids feeding on this giant grass species.

Snake resting in goldenrod: Early August, 2004
This garden snake was found sunning itself about half way up a stalk of goldenrod.

Pink Joe Pye Weed: August, 2004
Joe Pye Weed starts blooming a few weeks ahead of the goldenrod on the Island. It attracts butterflies and other pollinators. The plants range from 2-6 foot depending on growing conditions.

Boneset: August, 2004
Both This flower occurs in the same locations as Joe Pye Weed but to a far lesser extent - perhaps one Boneset to 1000 Joe Pye Weed plants. It closely resembles Joe Pye Weed and they share the same genus name; Eupatorium.

Monarch butterfly resting on Joe Pye Weed: August, 2004
The Joe Pye Weed started to bloom in mid-August, drawing all sorts of butterflies, bees and other pollinating/nectar feeding insects.

Milkweed tigermoth caterpillar: Early August, 2004
These attractive caterpillars may be found on common milkweed from early August through most of fall. The hairs on this and other caterpillars can cause painful welts as they penetrate skin much like cactus spines and often contain irritants within the hollow shaft.

Leafcutter bee: July, 2004
There are a number of different species of leaf cutter bees in the area. They cut somewhat circular pieces of leaves out and fill their nest full of them. The developing young bees will then feed off this larder.

Paperwasp resting on milkweed pod: July, 2004
Paper wasp are common throughout the United States. They chew up stems, bark and leaves, mixing it with saliva, then use this "paper mache" to make nest from. Some species may be quite aggressive and should be avoided. Removal of large nuisance nest should only be undertaken by an experienced professional.

Swamp Mallow Rose colony: August, 2004
This is one of the Island's more attractive native plants. A member of the hibiscus family, it grows on the periphery of the marshes, sometimes in very large numbers. The plants grow 4-6 foot in height, blooming from late July though September.

Virginia Creeper Vine changing color: Mid-August, 2004
Often mistaken for poison ivy, Virginia Creeper may be distinguished from it by the number of leaflets on the compound leaf, numbering 5 on Virginia Creeper and 3 on poison ivy. This plant may grow up trees, fences, power poles and other supports to a height of 50 feet. In late August it produces blue-black berries. The vine often goes through a color change well ahead of other fall foliage.

Katydid closeup: August, 2004
Katydids, grasshoppers and crickets are all in the same insect family. However, Katydids are more closely related to crickets. Their antennae are often two to three times the length of their bodies. They often blend into their surrounding very well and are almost exclusively crepuscular (active from dusk to dawn) to further avoid predation.

Tree cricket nymph: Early August, 2004
Far more often heard than seen, tree crickets produce a very loud buzzing sound in bushes and flowerbeds in the late summer. They will abruptly end their cadence if their hiding place is approached or disturbed; only resuming after they believe the danger is gone. They feed on plants, small insects (aphids, scale insects etc.) and lay their eggs in plant twigs or stems.

Grasshopper: July, 2004
The olive coloration of this adult grasshopper allows good camouflage. This, coupled with flight ability and powerful jumping legs, serves it well in its daily struggle to survive.

Grasshopper nymph: July, 2004
This rust colored grasshopper blends in with the dead leaf matter and soil well. It will still go through one or two more molts before having fully formed wings. Grasshoppers, cockroaches, preying mantids and some other insect forms go through stages of growth referred to as instars.

Arrowleaf Water Plantain: August, 2004
Although the foliage closely resembles that of arrowleaf arum, it is a totally different plant. This very large colony was photographed in the East River Wetlands Restoration Project.

Arrowleaf Water Plantain flower: Early August, 2004
The showy flower spike of water plantain is the reason that it is often intentionally planted in water gardens. The plant makes both male and female flowers; male flowers are shown here.

Pickerelweed colony: August, 2004
Often growing alongside arrowleaf arum and arrowleaf plantain, Pickerelweed is an attractive aquatic flower. It prefers quiet or slow moving water along the banks; seldom more than 3 foot in depth. The leaves are somewhat leathery and elongated heart or spade shaped.

Pickerelweed flower spike: August, 2004
The erect flower spike has delicate blue/purple flowers that attract the usual summer pollinators. The flower configuration and color easily distinguishes this aquatic plant from the aquatic varieties of arum and plantain.

Motherwort: Early August, 2004
This representative of the mint family grows in full sun to partial shade locations and reaches 2-4 foot in height. It forms somewhat fuzzy edged pink flowers at the base of the leaves (see entry to the right). Though in the mint family, it does not really possess a mint-like odor.

Motherwort blossoms: Early August, 2004
Motherwort was introduced from Europe and has been used in herbal medicine - said to restore emotional balance and relieve stress. As with all wild herbs, it is best to consult with a physician before using them. Many “herbal cures” can cause as many problems as they claim to solve.

Yellow Wood sorrel: Early August, 2004
A very common woodland and yard edge plant, wood sorrel appears to be native to both the Americas and Eurasia. It only grows to a foot or so in height and folds its leaves up at night, reopening them in the morning. They also fold their leaves when exposed to too much sunlight/heat or when a large storm front moves through.

Fungus and moss: Mid-July, 2004
Under heavily canopied areas of the woodland, the mosses and fungi rule. There are large areas in Buckhorn that simply do not get enough sunlight to support wildflower/plant growth during the height of summer.

Leafhopper: August, 2004
Leaf hoppers and cicada are in the same insect family. They both use straw-like sucking mouthparts to drink juices from plant leaves and stems. In large numbers, leafhoppers may cause damage to garden plants, but under most conditions they are simply part of the complex meadow and woodland ecology.

Pennsylvania Leatherwing Beetles: August, 2004
These are members of a group of beetles known as soldier beetles. They feed on any number of small insects throughout their life cycle. They are most often noticed on flowers in the mid summer through late fall. They will wait and eat other insect visitors as well as pollen and nectar. They are considered beneficial and, as such, should not be harmed.

Black-Eyed Susans: August, 2004
The Black-Eyed Susan is a very common American wildflower. It thrives in full sun and is tolerant of vast swings in precipitation and other weather conditions. It starts blooming around the time that the Oxeye Daisy is finishing up its blooming season, mid-late July.

Black Mustard: Early July, 2004
Long used in herbal medicine, black mustard grows over large areas of open meadows, roadsides and other waste areas. The plants start to bloom in early summer and continue growing (up to 6 foot in height) and blooming until mid Fall. The seeds contain an irritating oil that may cause serious blistering of the skin.

Stinkbug nymph hatchlings: Early August, 2004
This small nest of newly hatched stinkbugs was found on the back of a sunflower leaf.

Spider eggcase: August, 2004
This bright, yellow-orange eggcase was attached to the underside of a scrap of discarded building material abandoned in Buckhorn.

Pearly Crescent Butterfly: August, 2004
This is just one example of many petite butterflies that may be found in the meadow areas of the Island. This specimen is resting on a swamp milkweed leaf.

Wild strawberry runners: Early August, 2004
Though under the proper conditions strawberries may be started from seeds, they more frequently spread/multiply by sending out runners. There are new plants every few inches and,with luck, a few will find purchase in a suitable location.

Lady Beetle Larva: August, 2004
Lady beetle larva are voracious predators; feeding mainly on aphids and other small plant pests. To call these lady bugs is a misnomer as they are not true bugs – like the one photographed to the right. Beetles have chewing/mandibulating mouthparts.

Large milkweed bug: Early August, 2004
This milkweed bug was found feeding on a developing common milkweed pod. True bugs have sucking/straw-like mouthparts. All bugs are insects but not all insects are bugs.

Pearl Algae: Early August, 2004
A large area of a low lying meadow in Buckhorn was covered with up to an inch of these tapioca-like algae growths. They ranged from small BB to sweet pea size and were firm; much like finger gelatine.

Lichen on fruit tree: Early August, 2004
Lichen is made up of algae and fungus living in a symbiotic relationship. The fungus gathers nutrients from bark, stones etc. and retains water while the algae makes sugars and other nutrients via photosynthesis. This large gray-green patch was found on an apple tree.

Dodder/Love Tangle infestation: August, 2004
Dodder, or Love Tangle as it is sometimes called, is a most unusual parasitic plant. In this group of photos, a heavy infestation from East River Wetlands Restoration Project area is presented. Dodder is a close relative of morning glories and other bindweeds.

Dodder stranglehold: August, 2004
After germinating, the young vine finds a suitable host; in this case it is spotted jewelweed (touch-me-not). The tendril wraps around the host a few times and sinks suckers into the stem. The portion of the dodder from the soil to the host then dies off and the parasite continues to grow off the efforts of the host.

Dodder suckermarks: August, 2004
In this photo the dodder was unwrapped from its firm grasp of the host to reveal the sucker marks. Once the dodder has established itself on one plant it then jumps from one plant to the next very quickly. Under the proper conditions of rainfall and host availability several hundred square feet may be covered in a week.

View of dodder suckers: August, 2004
This photo reveals the suckers on the host-contact-side of the dodder.

Dodder overtakes bed of spotted jewelweed: August, 2004
This very heavy infestation will likely kill the host plants underneath the mat of tendrils. There were areas that the dodder had already “burned” its way through leaving only dead jewelweeds and dried dodder threads. Likely there were masses of dodder seeds left on the ground underneath as well.

Dodder blooms: August, 2004
This is a close-up of a set of dodder flowers. Basically the plant is vines and flowers. The use of other plants for nutrients has made the need to form complex leaf structures or chlorophyll unnecessary. This accounts for the waxy orange color rather than the usual green.

Horsefly: August, 2004
Horseflies and deerflies are aggressive pests throughout mid to late summer. Both will buzz and hover around you while on walks in the local natural areas. They are also both capable of delivering a painful bite; as well as a number of diseases. This specimen was an inch in length.

Golden Beefly: Late July, 2004
These delicate, fuzzy flies visit flowers during the summer and fall to feed on nectar. The are very acrobatic and are the insect equivalent to humming birds.

Earthworm on bed of moss: Early August, 2004
We encounter earthworms frequently and likely do not pay much attention to them - unless of course we collect them for bait. This robust specimen was moving across a patch of moss in the woods after one of the numerous rains this summer.

Bittersweet Nightshade Fruit: Early August, 2004
Earlier a photo of the blossoms of this plant was posted. The vine-like plants bloom from spring to late fall but the first ripe berries started to show up in mid-July.

Ripening Rosehip: Late-July, 2004
After blooming and being successfully pollinated, this rugosa rose plant has formed a bright red rose hip. If not disturbed, it will remain on the plant until next spring. Rose hips contain high quantities of vitamin C and have been used in herbal tea formulations.

Emerging Bolete: Late July, 2004
Red boletes are common fungi in our area. They are dense and have a microsponge like undersurface rather than a gilled one. If a new bolete cap is broken, the inner surface is yellow-white but will turn blue to light purple in less than a minute.

Yellow Touch-Me-Not: Early August, 2004
There are two varieties of touch-me-not in our area; a more common reddish-orange and this yellow. A photo of the reddish-orange flower was posted earlier.

Burdock Blossom: Early August, 2004
Though not large, the blooms on this burdock plant are brilliant and striking. Note the hooked barbs on the thistlehead. The ripe, dried seed pods are readily transferred to clothing and pets.

Bean Beetle: Early August, 2004
This beetle resembles a green lady beetle but is not an asset to the garden. Their young feed on plants; notably garden green beans.

Unidentified Beetle on milkweed: Early August, 2004
In past years the photographer had not noticed this beetle species but this year it seems to be predominant. They may be found in large numbers on a number of flower species but most frequently on Queen Anne's Lace.

Yellow crab spider on evening primrose: Early August, 2004
This spider blends in with the yellow of the evening primrose exceptionally well. It will wait until a visiting bee, fly or other unwary insect lights on the bloom.

Unidentified beetle #2: Early August, 2004
Yet another unidentified beetle species. A number of these were found working over the blooms of Queen Anne's Lace in Buckhorn. A beetle that had the same shape and size but without any of the spotted coloration was also noted. Most likely it was the same species but of the opposite sex of the one depicted.

Tartartian Honeysuckle Fruit: Early August, 2004
After blooming in early to mid-Spring, the tartarian honeysuckle starts to form berries. By early July the bright red fruit may be seen throughout the woodlands. This escaped cultivar has been exceptionally successful and aggressive.

Purple flowering raspberry fruit: Early August, 2004
The fruit has just started to ripen on these woodland plants. They will continue to bloom and produce fruit until the first frost.

Purple brush grass: Mid June, 2004
Large meadow areas are often covered in this wild grass species in late spring. With a gentle breeze and the right light the whole meadow may take on a surreal appearance owing to the unusual color and mass movement of this grass.

Giant White Teasel: Early August, 2004
In an earlier posting a common purple teasle bloom head was pictured. This variety is very different in overall appearance from the more common purple blooming variety. These plants grow to 10 foot in height or more and have lower leaves that encircle the thorny stalk. Rain collecting in these "leaf basins" and mosquito larvae may be found in the stagnant pools.

Fallen Hickory Nut: Early August, 2004
Buckhorn has a fair number of hickory trees scattered throughout its range. The trees have shaggy bark and leaves similar to chestnut and buckeye trees.

Garlic Bloom: Early August, 2004
Wild garlic grows very well along the boarders of our wetland areas. These heads contain both small bulbs and some blossoms as well. When blooming, disturbed or crushed the familiar odor of garlic sufuses the summer air around them.

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