I saw a few moths, butterflies, and wasps at the Arboretum last week. An eastern comma butterfly (Polygonia comma) rested on a leaf in the shrub and vine garden. It is named for the bright white comma, swollen at both ends, on its wing. I think it looks more like a crescent moon than a comma.
The wings look drab until they open, revealing a rich orange with black spots. This is the winter form of this butterfly, with its hind wings more orange than black.
Late last week, I went to the Explorers’ Garden on Bussey Hill on a pleasant, sunny day. A few butterflies passed me by but did not perch. The eastern kingbird below paused at a the top of a crabapple tree. In about a month, this kingbird will probably make its way to South America for the winter.
I found this white-dotted prominent caterpillar (Nadata gibbosa) crawling across Meadow Road yesterday. A green caterpillar with an opaque, lighter green face, it is covered with white dots. This one had two brown patches on it, perhaps some sort of infection?
Exploring in the meadow of the Arnold Arboretum last weekend, I came upon this giant water bug (Belostoma sp.). This large insect — they named it “giant” for a reason — preys on creatures as large as small fish. It can inflict a very painful bite, and so is also called toe biter. Thanks to John Epler for the ID.
On Sunday, Jef led a small group of us on an urban nature walk. We started at the Bussey Brook Meadow and moved on to the Arnold Arboretum, ending at the Forest Hills gate. Mosquitoes hounded us, especially in the Meadow.
Jef called the meadow a European wildflower garden. We saw some periwinkle-colored chicory flowers (Cichorium intybus) and bird’s-foot trefoil flowers (Lotus corniculatus) with orange streaks on bright yellow. These were among the many wildflowers native to Europe.
June heralds the blooming of lupines in New Hampshire, and we headed up to Sugar Hill for the 20th Annual Fields of Lupine Festival. The two-week-long festival features parades, open houses, markets, and concerts, but none of these events were scheduled on the day of our visit.
We first stopped at Polly’s Pancake Parlor for a delicious brunch. I, of course, marvelled at the red oak just outside the restaurant that had been planted by Lucy Hildreth and Wilfred Dexter on their wedding day, the 24th of May, 1899. Over a hundred years old, this oak still stands strong. Continue reading →