Spring at O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve

We weren’t sure what we’d find but thought a walk around O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve  might reveal some wildflowers and maybe a few migrating warblers. No warblers were observed but there were plenty of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers to keep us entertained.  While the warblers were a bit disappointing the wildflowers were not. The area has always been good for them and this year is no exception.

Located on the west side of O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, we’ve always enjoyed intimate nature of the preserve. This quality is at least partly due to the small streams that flow through it on their way to the reservoir.

click on images for a better view

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O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, early spring.

We hadn’t walked far when we started seeing Tree Swallows. They’re beautiful birds but are responsible for fewer Bluebirds being seen as they appear to have set up housekeeping in the Bluebird boxes.

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Tree Swallow

In a cove a Great Blue Heron and Great Egret were looking for lunch.

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Great Blue Heron

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Great Egret

While walking along one of the creeks we noticed a hole where a large wasp had just emerged. It least that’s our best guess.

Large wasp nest entrance in wet soil IMG_6461

Wasp Nest?

A little further on a mysterious black fungus was seen on an Beech tree.

Black Knot Fungus IMG_6467

Black fungus on Ash tree.

We figured it out from a post on the The Beautiful Wildlife Garden site. It turns out that, “the Beech Wooly Aphid (Grylloprociphilis imbricator) feeds by sucking the fluids from Beech leaves and twigs. They leave behind a sugary honeydew which collects on the leaves and other parts of the tree, and can invite a fungus to form, called Black Sooty Mold”.

We had some fun trying different angles with the Trout Lilies in an effort to reveal different aspects of the flower.

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Yellow Trout Lilly

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Yellow Trout Lilly, study 2

But it was hard to ignore the other flowers.

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Twinleaf

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Twinleaf, study 2

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Coltsfoot

Rue Anemone 042114 Twin Lakes walk cp1

Rue Anemone, (Donna)

Spring Beauty 042114 Twin Lakes walk cp1

Spring Beauties, (Donna)

Beech leaves from last fall don’t want to let go.

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Beech Leaves

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Beech Leaf

Tree trunk landscape.

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Tree trunk with moss, Spring Beauties, May Apples, . . .

Just starting to be green.

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O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, early spring, study 2

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The Coves of Alum Creek Reservoir

In the spring one of our favorite things to do is to spend the morning exploring the coves of Alum Creek Reservoir. We often launch from the Cheshire Road Bridge area and head for one of the lake’s no wake zones to avoid the motorboat noise. Other than an occasional airplane overhead, or a train not far off, it’s pretty quiet. It’s a pleasant experience any time of the year but the spring with all the birds singing it’s magical. Below are some images from our recent paddles.

Pond Panorama - Alum Creek

Pond Panorama – Alum Creek

Great Blue Heron - Alum Creek

Great Blue Heron – Alum Creek

Baltimore Oriole - Alum Creek

Baltimore Oriole – Alum Creek

King Bird - Alum Creek

Kingbird – Alum Creek

Prothonotary Warbler - Alum Creek

Prothonotary Warbler – Alum Creek

Downey - Alum Creek

Downy – Alum Creek

Small Cove - Alum Creek

Small Cove – Alum Creek

Tree Swallow - Alum Creek

Tree Swallow – Alum Creek

Yellow Warbler - Alum Creek

Yellow Warbler – Alum Creek

American toads - Alum Creek

American toads – Alum Creek

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