Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pink Lady's Slipper

This was one of two pink lady's slipper plants that I saw at Cheesequake State Park yesterday morning. The other had no flower on it, but this one was in full bloom. The lady's slippers were protected by a temporary fence. I am not sure if the fence was meant to exclude deer or people, but either way, it ensured that the flowers would be there for anyone passing by to enjoy. Apparently Cheesequake hosts an especially good population of lady's slippers for New Jersey.

There were some birds around, but not as many migrants as I expected. There were a lot of Blackpoll Warblers, as is typical of late May; other than that the only migrant warbler species I detected was a Magnolia Warbler. A lot of Common Yellowthroats and Ovenbirds are setting up breeding territories, though. Numerous Marsh Wrens – actually a county bird for me – were singing in the park's extensive salt marsh. The best place to see and hear them is from the boardwalk trail near the lake parking lot. From the same trail, I could see an immature Northern Harrier cruising over the distant marsh. As it crossed the creek, it would flush Willets and other shorebirds, some of which seemed to attack the harrier – something I had not seen a sandpiper do before.