Evening Walk to Totem Park

It was a fairly busy day at home with calls and class. As I was nearing the end of the day and seeing I would have about 30 minutes before sunset, I thought I would take a quick walk down to the park to see if there was anything new. I was almost ready to go and decided it wasn’t really worth the effort to hurry down there in the fading light, but just a couple of minutes later I felt compelled to get out anyway, so started on down.

It was fairly quiet in the neighborhood, but I did hear a robin and Varied Thursh as I walked across the SJ campus. When I reached the beach in front of the visitor center at the park, I noticed a Semipalmated Plover. I suspect it was a relatively recent arrival, since it had let me approach pretty close without really moving – even after I finally noticed it and stopped to observe it and take some pictures, it did not seem inclined to spend much energy to get away from me. The plover ended up being the only shorebird I saw, though I did observe quite a few Mallards, some Buffleheads, a pair of Green-winged Teal and around in the estuary, 9 or more Canadian Geese.

Something else I noticed today were many moths flying up in front of me as I walked along. Unfortunately, I was not able to catch any of them to get a better look and I found myself wondering if it would be worth carrying a small net with me to. However, I was able to get a look at one of them that landed on a branch near me. I’m pretty sure it was an Anticlea vasiliata, a reasonably distinctive moth I’ve seen several times before.

Also of interest today was another European Ground Beetle that Rowan brought home. She brought one home a couple of days ago as well – I was actually kind of impressed that she carried such a big beetle home in her hands (she caught it over on the SJ campus). This time her beetle was contained in foil, as it had started biting her and she found it painful enough that she didn’t want to have it in her bare hands. I guess she and Connor found a scrap of foil and worked out a way to use it to suit their needs in the moment. She kept it in a container while she drew a picture, then released it in the yard. She told me she wants to catch 100 of them – she’s up to 5 or 6 now (including two or three this year, an some from past years).

A couple other notes from my walk. There were two people in kayaks and one in chest waders at the river mouth (tide was coming up and there wasn’t much beach left, so they were in reasonably close). I could see the guy in waders was fishing, but I’m not sure about the kayakers. I think they were probably all friends, and maybe all fishing. I was also noticing more smells than I’m used to. Not sure if it was just especially good conditions, or if my nose was more sensitive because it’s been plugged up a bit recently (I think I get a bit of hay fever type symptoms from the Red Alder pollen that’s out right now). Anyway, several places along the walk I noticed smells that would ordinarily be pretty subtle, but in this case jumped out at me. Ones I remember now include a resinous smell coming from the forest as I walked the upper shoreline. I also noticed the smell of grass/turf as I walked along a Lincoln Street yard.

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Variable Carpet (Anticlea vasiliata)

Variable Carpet Moths (Anticlea vasiliata) are aptly named for their diverse array of color morphs. This May I photographed two different ones, to go along with one I photographed April 2009. Information I’ve seen about larval food plants does not includes only raspberries, which many people raise, but they are not especially common. It is … Read more