They’re said to be uncommon in our area, but in the past few weeks I’ve twice had the opportunity to spot a House Wren. And truly, that word “uncommon” strikes me the same way as “common.” My guy sometimes refers to me as “uncommon,” but really . . . I’m just plain common.
Still, the wren foretold the insects to come because so many are part of its diet.
And its habitat, one full of fields and forest beyond.
Such a forest includes Purple Milkwort, a teeny, tiny flower with a structure that reminds me of Origami folds, yet so easy to overlook for its location so close to the ground.
Equally small in relationship to the landscape, the suddenly prolific juvenile Autumn Meadowhawks, their yellow legs a sure giveaway to their “common” name.
Short-horned grasshoppers were also among the mix, which included so many grasshoppers with every step. Curiously, some found a new split-rail fence to be much to their liking.
Today’s path led to a spur trail into an old quarry that possibly supported mill sites built downstream, including a former woolen mill. It was a place where the past begged an honor.
And the present offered new learnings. On the left: the underside of Bear or Scrub Oak; and the right: Northern Red Oak. Notice how the former is not only whiter, but smaller in structure. Both, however, feature bristled lobes.
The cones of the Bear Oak were much smaller than the Red, and in their present form still bespoke the flowers from which they’d formed.
Added into the mixed forest were a couple of saplings of White Oak, another species not so “common” to the setting.
One spot combined two more common sightings–a White Pine cone having been consumed by a Red Squirrel who probably sat upon a branch of the pine tree above to devour the seeds tucked within each scale and discarded said scales below while turning the cone much the way we eat an ear of corn and finally dropping the leftover cob which landed upon a Red Oak.
In this same forest setting, Striped Maples showed off their dangling lanterns of samaras, dimpled on one side and robust on the other.
Upon the trunk of another Striped Maple a grasshopper practiced its best camouflage, but . . . it was seen.
At another section of trail where the wildflowers grew, the Ambush Bugs waited for prey upon which to dine.
Activity upon the wildflowers was abundant and include this stink bug: Stiretrus anchorago.
Ants were very much a part of the scene, giving rise to the sweet factor the Meadowsweet flowers offered.
And when one is looking, one discovers others who try to secretly travel through the landscape, such as the Western Conifer Seed Bug Nymph.
Curiously, a “common” Harvestman Daddy Long Legs showed off a display of Red Mites.
But, one of the coolest dudes in the neighborhood was a Tachnid Fly, its dark oval eyes and bristly oversized body a giveaway. Tachnid flies are considered beneficial because they dine on lots of other insects including sawflies, borers, and green stink bugs, plus tent caterpillars, cabbage loopers, and gypsy moth larvae.
As had been the manner at the beginning of the hike, so it was at the end with band-winged grasshoppers displaying their armored forms upon the split-fence posts.
Hidden among the pine needles, molts of grasshopper species showed off their exoskeletons.
In the midst of all who followed the trail, Sedge Darners flew and landed and dined and flew some more.
The question remained: How much did the House Wren pronounce? A lot for as it knew, there was much to see and understand. But really, it probably pronounced so much more to be considered in the future.
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