Morning Walk at Mt. Pleasant (part 1)

Earlier this week, I took a morning walk at Howard County Conservancy’s Mt. Pleasant. I stopped by the nature center first to leave some comments on a new BioBlitz guidebook; my plan was to hike down to the Davis Branch. I forgot my camera at home so was ‘roughing it’ with my Samsung Galaxy S7 and clip-on macro lens.


I stopped near the Honors Garden to look at the sweet bay magnolia…and noticed some eggs under one of the leaves. The only way I know to figure out what they might be would be to isolate the leaf and wait for them to hatch! I didn’t do that…so it will be a mystery. Maybe a ‘leaf footed bug’?

I walked down toward Montjoy barn and noticed that the pear tree in the old orchard looks terrible – many bare branches. It’s an old tree and I hope it sees another season.


Near the demonstration garden at the top of the path, an Augochlora sweat bee was slow enough that I got a picture!

Some id references: and

I saw a flock of goldfinches as I walked down through the meadow. They kept moving just ahead of me all the way down the hill. I regretted leaving my camera at home. There were also lots of dragonflies and butterflies and gnats in the meadow. I should have sprayed my clothes and hat with insect repellent for the gnats.

When I got down to the stream, it was cooler because I could easily stay in the shade. I walked down stream a little and saw what looked like one of the trees purposefully upended as part of the upstream restoration that must have been sweep away by one of the recent rains. It is now caught on some rocks and other tree debris and will ‘slow the flow’ in its new location too.


When the water is high – there are two paths for the stream in the old ‘beach’ area. The one in the upper left is the main channel; the one in the middle of the picture is no longer flowing and will dry up if we don’t get another big rain this week.


I took the narrow path along the stream. There is high vegetation on both sides. Sometimes it opens enough for sun loving plants like milkweed to grow…and this skipper landed just in time for me to take a quick portrait.

There was a vista of a restored area of the stream. The pools look a little larger than I remembered – possibly because it has been so rainy recently. One part of the path was very muddy and I wondered if there was an intermittent spring there.


There were two butterflies on a Joe Pye Weed nearby. Rather than use the digital zoom on the phone, I clipped the area I wanted when I got home. It’s easy to identify the two butterflies: tiger swallowtail and monarch!

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I hiked back to Montjoy barn on the sunny side of the stone wall. I didn’t stop along the way since it was hot and sticky. When I got to the shade near the barn I looked more carefully at the vegetation and found a new-to-me orange, white, and black insect. I had no idea what it was but I took several pictures and then identified it when I got home: an ailanthus webworm moth. It’s an insect that followed the invasive Tree of Heaven to our area. Aargh!

Tomorrow I’ll post about the plants I saw along my hike.