07/15/11 – Vassar Farm Hike

American Goldfinch

Another Friday, another hike around Vassar Farm.  It was a another beautiful day and I wanted to get somewhere as quickly as possible to enjoy as much exploration as possible.

Two things I noticed right away is that the road to the parking lot and most of the lot has been freshly paved.  The other thing is that the trail at the front pond has been widened greatly.  If you’ve been there at all this summer, you know how severely overgrown it was.

I guess it’s good and bad though.  It’s good because I can worry less about brushing up against plants which is a recipe for picking up ticks.  The bad news is that my cover is no longer there to remain somewhat hidden from wildlife.  If you saw my photo series of the Green Heron catching fish, those were taken behind overgrown plants and brush.

Friday’s observation at the front pond yielded both green heron and great blue heron sightings.  There were also plenty of crows, song sparrows, catbirds and robins.  I didn’t spend much time there though, as summer is the time to watch the fields for various butterflies.  At Vassar Farm, it is also common to see dozens of goldfinches feeding in the fields on the seeds of flowers.

American Copper

Before I even got to the gate to lead into the fields, I found so many species of butterflies!  I saw my first monarchs of the season, as well swallowtails, sulphurs, whites, azures, crescents, and more.  As if that wasn’t great enough, I got my first photo in over two years of an american copper.  By laying down in the grass, I managed to get the photograph you see here.

Once in the fields, there were more butterflies in greater numbers, plus plenty of goldfinches to photograph.  Towards the back of the fields, I could see the american kestrels sitting one of the dead trees.

The back ponds had a few mallards and several young wood ducks, but I didn’t stick around there too long, as the trails were very overgrown.  Instead of heading to the field station and looping back to the parking lot through the woods, I decided to go back the way I came through the fields in hopes for more butterfly photos.

My full bird sighting list is below, and I will do my best with the butterfly list (below bird list) since I’m not as knowledgeable with them.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

  1. Wood Duck
  2. Mallard
  3. Great Blue Heron
  4. Green Heron
  5. Turkey Vulture
  6. Red-tailed Hawk
  7. American Kestrel
  8. Mourning Dove
  9. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  10. Downy Woodpecker
  11. Northern Flicker
  12. Least Flycatcher (confirmed by call)
  13. Eastern Kingbird
  14. Red-eyed Vireo
  15. Blue Jay
  16. American Crow
  17. Barn Swallow
  18. White-breasted Nuthatch
  19. House Wren
  20. Eastern Bluebird
  21. Wood Thrush (heard only)
  22. American Robin
  23. Gray Catbird
  24. Northern Mockingbird
  25. European Starling
  26. Cedar Waxwing
  27. Yellow Warbler
  28. Common Yellowthroat
  29. Eastern Towhee (heard only)
  30. Chipping Sparrow
  31. Field Sparrow
  32. Song Sparrow
  33. Northern Cardinal
  34. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  35. Indigo Bunting
  36. Red-winged Blackbird
  37. Common Grackle
  38. House Finch
  39. American Goldfinch
  40. House Sparrow

Butterfly List (may be imcomplete)

  • Silver-spotted Skipper
  • Black Swallowtail
  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • Cabbage White
  • Sulphur (Unsure if ‘Clouded’ or ‘Orange’ species)
  • American Copper
  • Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • Azure (Unsure of species)
  • Monarch
  • Great Spangled Fritillary
  • Pearl Crescent
  • Common Wood Nymph
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One Response to 07/15/11 – Vassar Farm Hike

  1. Jeff says:

    I may go there Sunday morning, maybe I can spot one of those Green herons you keep seeing over there. Nice photo of the butterfly and Goldfinch, looking forward to more of your photos.


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