Posts Tagged ‘grasshopper’

“Field Notes”: Guided Walk in Forest Park, 201013

October 23, 2013

On Sunday, the 20th of Oct, I went on

a walking tour of the nature reserve areas of Forest Park

with

Peter Van Linn

of Forest Park. Here he is, with Bob Duffy of the St.Louis Beacon:

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Here we are, heading out on the path:

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We walked through the prairie grasses:

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Peter talked to us about native and exotic plants and trees, the re-routing of the Des Peres river underground, the inter-connection of the various man-made water bodies in the park. I learnt something I did not know before…that all the water bodies in the Park contain tap water…the Des Peres river flows underground right through the park, and does not surface at all!

However, converting the habitat was one of the efforts undertaken by Forest Park Forever. Through controlled burns such as the one

the controlled burn of 2011 referred to here in The Beacon

he said that they were trying to convert this particular area into a prairie/savannah, but thanks to earlier-planted trees, and resurgence of plants, pines such as this beautiful one

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were very common.

He told us how bare, or even dead, trees, support wildlife. This picture of a leafless tree with many

AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES

on it

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and this, of a

RED-HEADED WOODPECKER

pecking at the trunk of a tree, illustrated his point:

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Here’s some dead wood in a picture I like:

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Does this look like a bird walk? Because of the presence of Jocelyn Clogston (who took me to Rockwoods Reservation the first time) and her friend, Tom Bailey, who pointed out quite a lot of birds, it did, indeed, become one, too!

We saw this

TUFTED TITMOUSE

eating its breakfast:

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Tom pointed out this beautiful

RED-SHOULDERED HAWK

waiting patiently for prey:

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This

EASTERN PHOEBE

delighted us with another one, swooping along, catching insects:

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The usual

RED-TAILED HAWK

did a fly-past for us:

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I got an

AMERICAN GOLDFINCH,

duller at this time of year, having lost the bright yellow of summer..

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A

NORTHERN FLICKER

sat high on a tree:

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Even the Robins and the Starlings are looking different now:

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Tom showed me several Yellow-rumped Warblers, but I couldn’t photograph them.

Here you can see the various kinds of land: prairie, shading into savannah,shading into woodland (it’s not thick enough to call a forest)

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I was still riveted by sights such as these:

this (thanks to help from Fran Fulton)

VARIEGATED FRITILLARY:

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at the outset of the walk;

this

DELAWARE SKIPPER

on a

CHICORY flower:

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and this

GRASSHOPPER:

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Tom told me that this

WOOLLY BEAR (Isabella Tiger Moth caterpillar)

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was supposed to presage the severity of the winter to come, by the width of its brown band!

These aphids on the milkweed seed-pods

I walked back, enjoying the fall colors:

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I peeped in on the

Orphan Car Show

(Apparently,Packard, Hudson, and Studebaker automobiles are considered glass and steel “orphans” because they are no longer in production.)

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Let me close with the Halloween display at the Visitors’ Center:

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and the

NEW ENGLAND ASTERS

that bloom in the fall:

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It was a very enjoyable morning.

Camouflage…

July 2, 2007

Remember, I had once made this post about the wonderful camouflage of Nature, and used a photo of a bushlark? Well, here’s another master of disguise that we spotted today in the Valley School area on our field trip…

Grasshopper

There the grasshopper is to the centre left of the picture; if you look carefully, you will see that those long twiggy things in the front of the picture are actually its legs…and yet, it’s SO hard to spot!

And to add to this, just when I finally get the creature in my viewfinder, HOPPP! it is off to some other place, making me look for it with slitted eyes, once again…

So when I see those wonderful photographs and watch those documentaries nowadsys, I am in danger of forgetting to watch the content as I muse about how much of effort must have gone into each frame.

I am simply amazed how birds can keep flying around and yet spot prey that is so well disguised. I think they make better naturalists than yours truly…