Thanks to Kate and the team at Wolf Hill for giving me a second Black Swallowtail caterpillar of the season. And, as I was getting ready to discard the parsley plant from the first caterpillar they had found at the garden center earlier in May, I discovered yet a third caterpillar.
Chrysalis #2 eclosed yesterday in the early morning hours. The butterfly in the photo above is newly emerged, so much so that you can see its abdomen is still swollen with fluids as it is expelling a drop. After first drying his wings on the zinnias, he flew off in search of nectar and a mate. I just can’t thank Kate, and everyone at Wolf Hill, who has taken an interest in the caterpillars!
Please join me Monday evening for a tour of the butterfly gardens I designed for Willowdale Estate. Come experience a taste of Briar’s gracious hospitality and enjoy refreshments served in the conservatory. The tulips are at their peak and look simply spectacular this year. I will also be showing several of my short films. Please RSVP to Sarah at: Sarah@WillowdaleEstate.com ~ 978-887-8211.
I hope to see you there!
I am just crazy about this mitten design because of the handy flap, which when flipped back, reveals a fingerless glove. If you want to wear it flipped back all the time, the button and loop closure keeps the flap securely in place. The mitten-glove even has a convenient separate thumb flap.
The only tweaking this design needs is a slightly bigger button and loop because when your hands are freezing, the small loop and ball button are a challenge to negotiate. For all the knitters who read GMG–these would be wonderful in a cashmere or alpaca blend and perhaps a pretty cable knit pattern.
The mitten-glove is a great design for photographers especially. When wearing gloves, I find it easy to accidentally press the wrong button or get myself into an unwanted mode.
Even with mitten-glove configuration, my pooch and I only lasted about ten minutes in the howling wind when we went for our daily afternoon walk yesterday—straight to the bottom of our hill (Pirates Lane at Smith’s Cove) and straightaway home. Sorry Rosie the Rocket, you’ll have to get your crazy energy out on our next walk!
North Shore Art Association
Pirates Lane at Smith’s Cove
Thank you Melissa Cox for recommending the fabulous Heather at Kyla Hair Salon. I Love her!!!
I had such a disagreeable experience the last time I visited a salon that it has been nearly an entire year since my last foray. Heather is prompt, lovely, fun, funny, really good at listening to what you would like, and extremely adept–at one time while she was styling my hair, I counted four hair brushes simultaneously in use! It won’t be a year between visits now that I’ve met Heather!
Kyla Hair Salon, Heather Murray, Owner.
33 Pleasant Street
I am so excited to be teaching my photography workshop. I’ve created an over arching superstructure for the class, from covering camera and photography basics, relevant to close-up photography, onto very specific techniques for capturing wildlife, and even more specific tips for individual species of butterflies.
I’ve been pouring over thousands upon thousands of photos and with over one hundred photos for the slide presentation, each technique will be comprehensively illustrated.
Several of the students have emailed and I am looking forward to meeting everyone. I hope to see you there. Nature in Focus.
Eastern Tailed-blues ~ Everes comyntas
The Eastern Tailed-blue is a relatively small species of butterfly with a total wingspan of approximately one inch. It was at first very surprising to find a little group, of about a dozen or so, wandering around this pink zinnia. Eastern Tailed-blues are very skittish and generally a challenge to photograph well. I quickly realized that they had all recently emerged from their pupal cases. Butterflies emerge from their chrysalides with wet crumpled wings and generally cannot fly until their wings are thoroughly dry. I took advantage of this fact and just snapped away while this unique opportunity presented itself.
This is definitely not what Lou Reed, John Cale, Angus MacLise, Sterling Morrison, and Michael Leigh had in mind…
The release of the album Transformer was a seminal moment in our cultural history. The first video features David Bowie and Lou Reed with interesting interviews (with the Little Joe and Holly of the song’s fame), film clips, and photographs of the early days. The video ends abruptly, in mid-sentence.
An oft quoted statement attributed to Brian Eno is, “The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band.”
Lou Reed, John Cale, Angus MacLise, and Sterling Morrison were the four original members of the Velvet Underground. Michael Leigh wrote the pulp paperback The Velvet Underground, from which the band took its name. The book The Velvet Underground is about the sexual subculture of the early 1960s.
Introducing ‘Henry Eiler’s’ Quilled Sweet Coneflower ~
New to our garden this year is the Quilled Sweet Coneflower. The finely quilled sunny yellow petals are simply lovely, as is the overall shape of the plant. The wildflower is a North American native and bears the name of the southern Illinois horticulturist and prairie restoration specialist who found it growing in a railroad prairie remnant.
When lightly rubbed, the leaves of Rudbeckia subtomentosa reveal their sweet vanilla scent. I’ll let you know if it attracts bees, butterflies, and songbirds when the center florets open.
Railroad Prairie Remnants
“…the only remnant of any virgin, unplowed prairie that remains is along railroad tracks. When the railroads were originally built in the 1800′s, if they were going over a natural prairie, all they had to do was lay down the wooden crossties, pack in bed fill, and lay the rails….the remaining right-of-way remained essentially undisturbed. In many locales, a road also was constructed parallel to new tracks, so that the few hundred feet of railroad right-of-way trapped between the tracks and the road remained unplowed to this day, and in many areas has reserved a remarkable diversity of prairie species. In most areas, accidental fires happen fairly regularly, which enhances the vigor of the prairie vegetation.” Larry Lowman, Arkansas nurseryman and native plants specialist.
Spring has finally returned to New England! It is arguably the most exciting birding season of the year, when it is possible to find over 100 species in a day with relative ease – many of them in stunning breeding plumage! And each year I organize a small group here on Cape Ann to bird for conservation as part of Mass Audubon’s Bird-a-thon. It’s great fun, involves some friendly competition, and supports bird conservation.
Here’s how it works.
This year Bird-a-thon takes place May 11-12 and consists of having as much birding fun as we can stand in the 24 hours between 6:00 PM Friday until 6:00 PM Saturday. Back in 2004, I thought it would be fun to see how many species we could find without leaving Cape Ann (Gloucester, Rockport, Essex and Manchester). In addition to the geographical challenge, this reduces birding time lost to driving (one of our team birds by bicycle!) and of course shrinks the team’s carbon footprint. In the 7 years that Cape Ann has fielded a team, we have ticked 183 species total with an average of 132 species per year –dragged down by monsoon rains in two years! In our best single year we found 156 species.
The Cape Ann Bird-a-thon team is back this year with its (catchy?) nickname, “Twitchers with a Purpose” to emphasize the fact that all funds raised will go to specific bird conservation projects. The conservation dollars that can be raised can be significant. For example, last year, Drumlin Farm’s team won the prized Hathaway Cup for raising the most money ($34,820) and a dedicated individual on that team was the statewide top fundraiser with $15,309 raised. My team is trying to hit the $5,000 mark this year.
This, as you’ve probably guessed, is where you come in by pledging to my team as generously as you can. You can either pledge an amount per bird ($1/species @ 132 species = $132) or just pledge a set amount. Pledging is a snap. Just go to my webpage:http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/chrisleahy/bird-a-thon-2012 , click on the green DONATE button and just follow the simple pledging instructions. OR you can just send a check made out to Mass Audubon and designated for the Bertrand Chair (that’s me), attn: Ellen McBride, Mass Audubon, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln, MA 01773. No gift is too small (or too large!) and all are eligible for a charitable deduction.
I hope you can help. Remember, your pledge will be dedicated to specific bird conservation efforts undertaken by my colleagues and me at Mass Audubon, such as the recently publish and authoritative State of the Birds report. I can assure you on the best existing evidence that our birds need all the help you can give them.
Thank you Chris for all you do to help the birds of Massachusetts!
In looking through my photo library for an image for this post, I am reminded of when the Catbirds and Mockingbirds began to call our garden home–when our first batch of blackberries ripened! Catibirds dine on fruits and berries and are year-round frequent visitors to the feast we provide, including blueberry, Juneberry, winterberry, and holly berry. As the fruits of our magnolias approach their ripening time, the Catbirds noisily guard the trees in anticipation of the ripened fruit.
For more information about the Gray Catbird:
The Cornell website has excellent crisp, clear recordings of the Catbirds “mew” sound. Anyone who has heard the repetitious male catbird vocalizing at daybreak knows exactly why they are called Catbirds. From Cornell, “The Gray Catbird belongs to the genus Dumetella, which means “small thicket.” And that’s exactly where you should go look for this little skulker.”
Love the beautiful shade of blue of Catbird eggs!