Yellowflies are still out in droves, the ticks are plentiful, and the humidity is ridiculous -- must be the perfect day to check on the orchids we have been waiting to bloom!
It really wasn't so bad. There was so much to see we hardly even noticed the flies...yeah, right. :)
This red-bellied water snake (Nerodia erythrogaster erythrogaster) was a tad out of place. We saw him in the beech woods on the high side of the trail. Must have been looking for a tasty toad to munch.
This is the flower that had us out and about today. It is the Small Green Woodland Orchid, Platanthera clavellata. We have been watching and waiting for it to bloom for well over a month now. We weren't sure of the species until we saw the flowers.
We were quite excited to find this butterfly today. While worn and weary-looking, it's special because it is a species we hadn't seen before, Feniseca tarquinius, common name Harvester. The caterpillars of this species feed on woolly aphids -- that's right, carnivorous caterpillars!
Don't know, don't wanna know. :)
A splash of color in the woods caught my eye so I went off-trail to investigate (people can be so creative with their litter). What I found was this blob of...what? Fungus? Protist? Not too sure about this stuff.
I had to open a locked gate on the fire road. A rather large family of black widows had set up house-keeping on the post -- these are a few of the babies. Mama widow was tucked away alongside a counter-sunk bolt. She was really pretty, but I couldn't get a picture of her.
I did manage to get several pictures of this beauty, though. Too bad I couldn't get the shot of her running up my arm -- I couldn't believe how heavy she was. No clue as to what type of spider this is, but I'll keep looking.
Meanwhile, take another look at her big, beautiful spider butt. Outstanding!
Probable ID on the spider: Giant Lichen Orbweaver, Araneus bicentenarius