Fly Away

I’ve had a pretty complicated couple weeks. I’m sorry I haven’t been reading or responding much.

I did go to a butterfly conservatory last weekend, which was a great pleasure. The conservatory is a large glass dome with tropical plants throughout the interior. Once you’re inside, there are a dozen or more species of butterflies floating around. Hundreds of them fill the interior.

I’ll shake off my blogging dry spell… and I’ll avoid a cheesy butterfly metaphor here 😉

The chrysalii hang in a plexiglass enclosure. Holes cut in the window let the butterflies exit once they have emerged and dried off.

Mendon Ponds Park

The park is feeling the weight of the Japanese beetles this year. I remember these critters from when I was a kid. They’re everywhere, I saw them all along the South meadow trail. Amber and I took the 2 mile loop through the upper plateau meadow.

I think that this area may be another Oak Opening. It’s a grass/milkweed meadow surrounded by an oak forest. It seems very similar to the Rush Oak Openings park I visited last month. Can you see the deer trail in the left picture? The deer in the middle picture? That’s about as close as she let me get. I guess she didn’t take too kindly to my dog. Amber didn’t even know she was there. Amber alerted on something at the southern end of the meadow, but I never saw or heard what it was. I did hear the deer in the middle picture moving in the thick brush as I walked by that spot in the trail.

When I hike in Mendon Ponds, I usually have my 90mm macro lens on the camera. I really enjoy hunting for the small little details along the trail. I never got any of the butterflies I saw, they just wouldn’t let me get close enough. These two insects couldn’t leave their homes, so they made easy photo targets. It looks like a whole colony of black ants live in an old hole in this tree. In the other picture, a spider has made a nice little home in a stalk of last year’s grass.

Two Cheneys

 Well, the Vice President has admitted that he is part of the Executive Branch.  Seemed inevitable to me, you don’t have to go much past the first page of the Constitution (Article II, section I) to know that the VP is in the Executive Branch.  Dick Cheney argued that he is part of the Legislative branch since he is the President of the Senate(Article I, Section III), and casts tie breaking votes there.  That’s not enough to make him part of the Senate, regardless of how many ways his chief of staff tries to parse the Constitution.  I’m interested to see if he will now be forced to comply with the Executive order.  Should Cheney succeed in dodging the National Archives, then the historical record of his office will be tainted.  The Archive auditors’ job is to make sure that documents are being preserved for historical purposes.  I expect Mr. Cheney to redact and withhold his record to make himself look better.  He’s been hiding his record for more than 4 years now, no reason to think that he’ll release it without some outside pressure.

NYTimes article.

Lehigh Valley Trail

Denelle and I walked a couple miles of the Lehigh Valley Trail yesterday. I aggravated a pulled muscle in my calf, so I’m sidelined today. Lehigh Valley Trail is a Linear Park. An abandoned railroad right of way was converted into a hiking and biking trail. It runs for miles through Monroe County, New York. Scattered along the trail are parking areas. One of them is just a couple miles from my house. I’d already walked a couple miles West on the trail, so we decided to walk East this time.

First, the trail passes through a hardwood swamp. Trees grow out of moss covered patches of ground. Everything is surrounded by water a few inches deep. After a mile, the path leaves the swamp behind and passes through farm fields. that’s as far as we went before we turned around.

Black Creek Park

My Black Creek Park Flickr Set, Black Creek Park Website

Denelle and I went to Black Creek Park today and took the Blue Bird trail. the trail starts under high tension power lines, then crosses into a birch forest. Denelle is staying with me for a while. It’s a bit of a long story, but I have an extra bedroom and she needs a place to stay.

We thought these were Monarch Butterflies at first, but now we think they’re some kind of moth that looks like a Monarch. I pretty much got nose to nose with the second one.

Damsel Flies and Dragonflies buzzed around the trail as we walked. The Bluebird trail is circular, so it’s not hard to follow. The hardwood swamp is dominated by Birch trees. the trail is well groomed and mostly free of encroaching foliage.

Irondequoit Bay

I apologize for the dirty camera lens, I forgot my cleaning cloth at home. I went up to Irondequoit Bay Marine Park yesterday. Two man made piers protect the opening to the Bay from Lake Ontario. During Winter, this pier is covered with up to twenty feet of ice. The end of the pier is usually a good place to fish.

There was just one fisherman when I went, and all he was catching were Gobys. It’s illegal to return Gobys to Lake Ontario. This invasive species probably came to the Great Lakes in Ballast water. Since then, the Goby population has exploded. They displace Drum, Smallmouth Bass, and other native species. I don’t know what kind of beetle is in the other picture… it looks pretty cool, though.

Rush Oak Savannah

Rush Oak Opening Flickr Set

Amber and I liked the Oak Opening a lot. It was nice to see her running through the long grass. Ferns dominate the fields in some areas. That’s to be expected in a fire plain. We saw animals everywhere. A rabbit bolted right out from under my feet. Literally under my feet, I think I stepped on his tail.

NYDEC Rush Oak Openings, Rush NY Parks