Patuxent Research Refuge – Part II

Continuing about our visit to the Patuxent Research Refuge last weekend (map)…

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At the very beginning of the Loop Trail near the visitor center, we saw a blue dasher on a sign! A great way to start the morning at Patuxent.

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After leaving the bird blind on the Loop Trail, we crossed the bridge heading toward the Cash Lake Trail and began to realize that it was getting hotter every minute…the hike was going be a short one. Looking back toward Lake Reddington, I took one landscape picture

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Then zoomed in for waterlily pictures. The bright sunlight made the water look very dark.

There was a thistle blooming nearby….and going to seed.

After photographing the herons, we came back to the Viewing Blind at the end of boardwalk. I noticed something fly into the tree and was lucky enough to zoom in to find it – a cicada! It was probably the highlight of the trek for me.

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On the way back to the car I noticed the milkweed…looking too good to have very many Monarch caterpillars.  There don’t seem to be many Monarch butterflies this year in our area – noticeably fewer than last year. I hope they are more numerous elsewhere.

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Dragonflies at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

The lotuses and water lilies are blooming at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens from late June into July. The wetlands are attractive to dragonflies too; I saw 5 different kinds when I went on a late June weekend. I found a good reference to help me identify them from Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources.

The first one we saw – and the most numerous – were the blue dashers. They like to perch on the vegetation in the lotus and water lily ponds.

Along the boardwalk out into the Anacostia River wetlands, there were quiet a few autumn meadowhawks. They weren’t as good about staying put for a picture as the blue dashers.

Also on the boardwalk, there was a common whitetail with black bands on its wings.

There was a green eastern pondhawk on a sunny spot of the boardwalk as we were walking back along the boardwalk.

It wasn’t until I got home as was looking at my pictures that I realized I had photographed another type of dragonfly among the lotuses: a common baskettail. It was a pleasant surprise!

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Tomorrow I’ll post the other images from our walk around Kenilworth Gardens.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in August 2018 – Part II

Last week we made our last trip to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens for this year. Today’s post features the insects and a turtle that we saw. There were a few monarch butterflies; there are so few these days that I always celebrate even if I just see one!

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The insects my husband wanted to photograph were dragonflies. There were several species flying in the garden but the only ones that sat long enough to photograph were the blue dashers. They like to perch while they survey their surroundings. I photographed individuals on a dried flower (note how battered the wings look),

On signs,

A lotus pod (did something take a bite of the pod?),

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And on other vegetation.

My favorite critter of the visit, was a Eastern Painted Turtle. It was getting some sun at the edge of a pond and looking very Zen. It was not still. When I first saw it, the front legs were tucked in. Then it stretched them out and turned itself toward me. I was on the other side of the pond an appreciating the zoom on my camera to capture the turtle without disturbing its morning.