Rea Farm, “The Beanery”

Our second day at the Cape May Spring (birding) Festival, started at 7 rather than 5:30 AM like the first one and was closer to our hotel at Rea Farm – a former lima bean farm (thus “The Beanery” name) owned by the Rea Family with birding rights leased to New Jersey Audubon. We had a large enough group that the guides split us into two and we made different circuits through the property. The land has some cultivated areas, but most has returned to heavily vegetated thickets and wet forest. Some of the farm buildings and abandoned machinery are being taken over by vegetation.

There has been some effort to remove invasive plants and give natives a chance to grow. We heard a lot of birds and I saw many with my binoculars. It was a very cloudy day – not great for catching fast moving birds. The only reasonably good picture I got of a bird was of a Great Crested Flycatcher.

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There were a few spittle bugs – not that you can see the nymph of the froghopper (Cercopoidea) through the foam.

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I reverted to plants as subjects for my camera on the hike. There was a lot of variety. The zoom on the camera makes these photographs quick and I didn’t step off the mowed grass path. I had tucked my jean leggings into by socks and sprayed my boots and leggings with insect repellent…but the area is known for its ticks….not a place to go off trail.

Overall – the walk through the variety of habitats at The Beanery was a great way to start our second day at the festival.

Brookside Gardens Bugs

There were not that many bugs out and about last Saturday morning before my shift at Brookside Gardens’ Wings of Fancy. I photographed three…and was thrilled with the variety:

A funnel spider waiting patiently (and visibly) at the top of the funnel. Usually they are hidden in the depths. The spider had built its web on the evergreen shrubs near the conservatory. There must have been lots of spiders around judging from the number of webs but this was the only one showing itself.

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A froghopper (as a nymph back in the spring it was a spittlebug) on a milkweed plant. I was looking for monarch caterpillars but didn’t find any. Back in July 2016, I’d found one on the milkweed plant at my house and posted about it.

A bumblebee enjoyed the bounty of the milkweeds in bloom. The plants at my house are already full of pods, flowers dried and falling away. From of photographic standpoint I always judge a bee picture a success if it includes the head and back rather than the butt!

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