Monday, September 23, 2013

A trip with Nick to Van Cortland Park - 5/20/06

Nick with a rare moth - The Black Witch -- above and to left --8/14, 2005
[The happy smile was almost as rare as the moth.]


I've been receiving a number of tributes for Nick Wagerik -- I'll post them soon.  In the meanwhile, here are my notes from a trip I took with Nick a number of years ago. It  will give you an idea of the riches such an experience offered.

5/20/06 NYC Butterfly Club trip to Van Cortland Park--leader: Nick Wagerik -- 11 a.m. [a Nick meeting hour – he is not an early morning person]– Ostensibly a wildflower walk, but everyone knows it will also feature butterflies, odonates and other insects as well as flowers

11 am – We take the 1 train to its last stop - 242 street. The park is right at the bottom of the elevated stairs at this stop.

Just about all the Nick-ites are there, except for Davie and Julia:
Tom Fiore and Kristine Wallstrom 
Dorothy Poole
Michael Bonifanti
Ed Lam [accepting [modestly] congratulations for his new Damselfly book.
Peter Post
Lee Stinchcomb
Lenore Swenson
David Rosane and girlfriend
Sheila Rosenberg
David Kunstler [an official of the park –who also tells Nick that actually he needs a permit to lead such a walk. Everybody jeers and ignores him]

What we saw  [vaguely in order of appearance]:

Common Groundsel [Senecio vulgaris]-nearly rayless composite – 
English Plantain [Plantago lanceolata] Lee calls it “the shoot-em-up flower” and proceeds
                                                   to demonstrate.]
Lesser Stitchwort [Stellaria graminea} 5 petals –leaves in pairs
Star of Bethlehem  [Ornithogalum umbellatum]  Lily family - 6 petals [Ann says she
                        hates this flower – Nick puts her down – says it’s not invasive
Purple Nightshade or Bittersweet Nightshade [Solanum dulcamara] 5 swept back purple
                          petals and protruding beak formed by anthers
Pineapple weed [Matricaria matricarioides] nice smell—like pineapple
Galinsoga [Galinsoga] Composite – 5 tiny 3-lobed rays

[butterflies: Peck’s slipper, American Lady, Painted Lady]

 At the marsh: Yellow Cress [Rorippa islandica]  - crucifera family - lots of it around
Curly Dock   -- polygonaceae – Rumex Crispus—wavy leaf margins
Velvet Grass—Nick: “This is one of my very very favorites”

[Yellow Warbler singing, also Baltimore Oriole and Song sparrow] 

Bulbous Buttercup [Ranunculus bulbosus] – reflexed sepals – you can identify it that way
Yellow Water-lily, Spatterdock –[Nuphar advena]
Cursed Crowfoot [Ranunculus sceleratus]

Odonates: Orange Bluet, Blue Dasher, E. Forktail,  Eastern Pond Hawk– [large dragonfly]

We come to a little swamp – there someone spots an amazing creature: a phantom cranefly – hard to see – it is transparent – skitters over the water- now you see it, now you don’t

on a rock at the water’s edge we spot an emerging Unicorn Clubtail –[dragonfly – a gomphid] Peter Post photographs it – a rare view of an extremely fresh dragonfly.  Suddenly it takes off on its maiden flight –Ed Lam gives me the exuvia in a photo-film container—Peter falls in the water – ankle high – while photographing

False Solomon Seal or wild spikenard - Smilacina racemosa 
Canada Moonseed [Menispermum canadense] moonseed family-menispermaceae 
Clethra – Pepperbush
Greenbriar – in flower
Tall Meadow Rue –[Thalictrum polygamum] buttercup family- ranunculaceae
[black locusts] in flower
CommonWood Sorrel Oxalis montana
Blueflag Iris [Iris versicolor]
Wild Blackberry [Rubus allegheniensis]
Common Blue-eyed Grass- [Sisyrinchium montanum]
Bladder Campion [Silene cucubalus]
Arrow Arum [Peltandra virginica] flower pointed green
Yellow Flag Iris [Iris pseudacorus]
Spring Cress [Cardamine bulbosa]