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Monday, April 12, 2010

Birds, Butterflies, and Wildflowers

One disadvantage to birding on San Juan Island is that a lot of migrant species pass over the islands for some reason. For instance, while I've been hearing orange-crowned warblers singing around every bend in the trail, I have yet to spot any other type of warbler here, including the newly re-split yellow-rumped warbler (more on that in a future post). The same goes for species that are otherwise residents of the region; chestnut-backed chickadees are abundant on the island but black-capped species are absent. Still, there are birds out there to be found, and while Dave has temporarily crept ahead in the year bird race I picked up two more for my list in the last two days. Yesterday I saw violet-green swallows (137) - a good three weeks behind most people but there the first ones I've found! Then today, a pair of northern rough-winged swallows (138).

There are two types of butterflies that I've noticed flying about. One is a little black and white speckled job that has yet to settle down for me to get a close look at it, let alone a photo. The other is this spring azure (Celastrina argiolus), shown here perched on a western red cedar branch:

I also have quite a few wildflower shots to share, so I thought I would do them a few at a time. Last year was the first spring I really got into identifying wildflowers. This year, spotting a now-familiar flower species is just as exciting as seeing the summer bird species return. Here are three such species that I learned last year:

Spotted coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata maculata), a parasitic orchid that feeds off of fungi.

Fairyslipper (Calypso bulbosa), another orchid species that is widespread but listed as threatened due to being especially susceptible to disturbance

Sea-pink, also known as thrift or sea-thrift (Armeria maritima), a common flower found in coastal habitats across the northern hemisphere and in parts of South America


Unknown said...

Birds, Butterflies and Wildflowers is a neat post, I particularly liked the images of the Wildflowers...Thomas

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

No blues out here yet. There are coralroot orchids on the periphery of Safariland but they are a horribly rare thing wot we have never seen. can't find any records since 1999.


Dave (142)

Warren Baker said...

I like the Blue Butterflies Monika, I hope to find some on my patch this year.

I see you've got dave worried with the bird list :-)