We came across two large black beetles yesterday just off the path around Jamaica Pond. The beetles were possibly engaged in the act of mating. If so, the female beetle was much larger than the male and her orange belly was showing.
After some research, I think what we saw was a male and female broad-necked root borer beetle (Prionus laticollis). The larvae of these beetles feed on shrubs and trees. Sounds right; we saw a small hole in the ground near the beetles from which they may have emerged.
Continuing on our walk, we saw the ghostly silhouettes of Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora). Indian pipe lacks the chlorophyll that makes most plants green. Instead of making its own food, it steals nutrients from a fungus that in turns takes it from a tree.
We saw a couple of eastern chipmunks on the leaning mulberry tree. I’ve seen chipmunks nest in the trunk of this tree and these two may be continuing the tradition.
Our lonely American coot continues to wander the Pond on his own. Looks like he will spend the summer here and wait for his friends to join him come fall.
A red-eared slider basked on a branch and eyed us warily.
We saw two purple wildflowers, both invasive. Creeping bellflower (Campanula rapunculoides) is the more innocuous of the two. We found this plant on the side of the path away from the water.
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), on the other hand, loves the water. This plant is highly invasive in Boston. The Neponset River Watershed Association has released two species of beetles to control it. We only saw a couple of plants around the Pond, so it is not a major problem here.
Bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) berries are ripening. The fruit look appetizing but are said to be poisonous. Do not eat!
The goldenrain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) on the west side of the Pond is in full bloom. This tree gets its name from its profusion of yellow flowers, which form a golden carpet beneath it as the petals fall. In a couple months, we will see fruit capsules, which look like small lanterns.
Bees love the flowers of goldenrain. This particular one may be a carpenter bee.
A mother mallard walked the shore with two baby mallard ducks. The babies are growing fast! We think we saw about a dozen baby ducks last time though, so we’re not sure where the rest of them went. Maybe this is a different family.
Finally, we ran into two white-breasted nuthatches swingin’ low on tree trunks.