Home Field and Swamp: Animals and Their Habitats

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Below are descriptions of great places to see interesting animals and plants, many in the Durham, NC area (and on the left side, thumbnails to click on to see bigger pictures).  They include links to other pages on this website and/or to other websites describing them.  I have also listed my favorite animals and plants there (and which appear in photos elsewhere on this website).   Also see the Swamp Animals Page.   Jump down to a North Carolina County Map or view historical weather in a variety of cities.

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, Dare County, NC:  Like all NWR's, this natural area is administered by the U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Service.  Animals:  Copperhead Snake (pictured), Bullfrog, Redbelly Water Snakes, Autumn Meadowhawks, Ground Skink, Autumn Meadowhawk, Great Purple Hairstreaks, Palatka Skippers, Least Skippers, Palamedes Swallowtails.  FWS page for Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
American Tobacco Trail, Durham, NC: A pavement trail constructed where old railroad tracks were, leading from downtown Durham six miles south; mowing of vegetation to the sides of the trail is forbidden.  Wildflowers seen include Common Purslane (pictured), Common Wild Quinine, Queen Anne's Lace, Sourwood, Muscadine Grapes, Cornflowers, Asian Dayflowers, Kudzu, Flossflowers, Red Morning Glories (Redstars), Bitter Sneezeweed, Wisteria, Sassafras, Pokeweed and Common Ragweed.  Animals seen include march flies, blister beetles, Monarch butterflies, Sachems, Crossline Skippers, Silver-spotted Skippers, horse flies, leaffooted bugs, ground sac spiders, Bess Beetles, Asian Multi-colored Ladybug Beetles and jumping plant lice.
Audubon Swamp Garden, Charleston County, SC. This used to be a rice plantation.  Animals: Anhingas, Great Egrets, Little Blue Herons, White Ibises, Blue-winged Teals (pictured), Green Anoles,  Common Moorhens, Swamp Sparrow, Yellowbelly Sliders, and American Alligators.  The latter two species coexist peacefully to a surprising degree.  Pictured: an Anhinga.  Visit their website .
Bay St. Louis, Hancock County, MS: A small town on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, about 50 miles east of New Orleans.  It is located on an inlet with an irregular shape, giving it a great variety of habitats, ranging from Gulf coast to dense marshes.  Animals seen there are a parakeet, Horned Grebes, Giant Swallowtails (both caterpillars and adults), a Chinch Bug, Long-tailed Skippers, Variegated Meadowhawks, Chinese Geese, Canada Geese, Snowy Egrets, Killdeers, Buffleheads, Swamp Sparrows, Horned Grebes, Brown Pelicans and Brackish-water Fiddler Crabs.  Red Spider Lilies and Lantanas grow wild in fields there.  Hurricane Katrina caused massive damage, but sculptor Marlin Miller produced public art by carving dead trees into repesentations of people and aquatic animals.
Bogue Banks, Carteret County, NC.  This is a barrier island off the coast of North Carolina; it is linked to the mainland via bridges to Swansboro and Morehead City.  It includes Fort Macon State Park, the Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area and several municipalities including Atlantic Beach and Pine Knoll Shores.  Animals: Tiger beetles (Cicindela dorsalis and marginata), bee flies, White Ibises, Ospreys, Sand Fiddler Crabs, Seaside Dragonlets (a species of dragonfly), sharpshooters and Zebra Heliconians (in the summer of 2008, anyway!)  Northern Mockingbirds dominate the land.  Pictured:  A Passionvine (Passiflora genus) flower
Boone,Watauga County, NC and neighboring counties:  in the northwestern corner of North Carolina, in the Blue Ridge Mountains and some areas south and west.  Animals: Many butterflies in Boone in 2008 (especially Pipevine Swallowtails, Silver-spotted Skippers, Aphrodite Fritillaries, Great Spangled Fritillaries, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Peck's Skippers, a Harvester, as well as a few Orange Sulphurs), a Striped Lynx spider, praying mantises, a Golden Tortoise Beetle, Ambush Bugs, White-lined Burrower Bugs, several stink bug nymphs.  Off the Blue Ridge Parkway, saw an unusual picture-winged fly, many Scorpionflies, many tachinid flies and Great Spangled Fritillaries.  Pictured: a Tarnished Plant Bug on a Spotted Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) flower.
Buccaneer State Park, Waveland, Hancock County, MS: This park right at the beach experienced substantial damage from Hurricane Katrina, but it has an intriguing new look, with a meandering path built into dense new growth.  It was recently visited by numerous Monarch butterflies although no milkweed was apparent.  Other animals seen were Gulf Fritillaries, Common Buckeyes and a relatively unusual Megachilid bee (Coelioxys mexicana).
Carolina Beach (in town): There's a lot of interesting life in the populated areas of Carolina Beach.  Pictured is a Wild Poinsettia (Euphorbia heterophylla) normally found not much farther than Florida, but which appeared during an unusually hot summer.  Lake Park draws a large number of bird species; those seen there are Wood Ducks, Brown Pelicans, American Coots, Killdeers, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Great Egrets, Lesser Yellowlegs, Pied-Bill Grebes, Redhead ducks, Tricolored Herons, Red-winged Blackbirds, Lesser Scaups, Common Starlings, Northern Mockingbirds, Boat-tailed Grackles, Rock Doves.  A Blue Swede and a Chinese Goose were there for two years.
Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC:  With its long-leaf pine-dominated white sand landscape, containing a water lily pond and several other less permanent ponds, it has few animals, but a relatively large proportion are local to this area.  Animals include the Cicindela gratiosa Tiger Beetle, Golden Silk Spiders, the Southern Bee Killer (an unusual type of Robber Fly), the Carolina Saddlebags dragonfly, the Little Blue Dragonlet, Wharf Crabs, Cedar Waxwings, American Snout Butterflies and common species such as Cloudless Sulphurs, Common Buckeyes, Monarchs, Gulf Fritillaries, Southern Pearly Eyes and the occasional Eastern Tailed Blue and Sleepy Orange.  Pictured: Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea muscipula). Go to their website.
Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge (ferry area): Most people who come here do it to catch a ferry to Ocracoke Island.  There is a beautiful beach for those with leisure time to explore.  The bird species here are limited: House Sparrows, Boat-tailed Grackles, Common Starlings, Brown Cowbirds and Northern Mockingbirds.
Craggy Mountain, off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Macon County, NC.  This approx. 5500-feet tall mountain is covered mainly with Angelica on top (where Craggy Gardens is located), with some mountain phlox and blueberry bushes, but its wooded sides have the really interesting fauna, such as Common Scorpionflies and the pictured leafhopper (Evacanthus ustanucha, subfamily Cicadellinae [Hamilton, 1986]), which has been sighted only on two other Blue Ridge mountains.
Duke Forest Gate #12, Durham, NC:  This is a power line cut with varied scrub plants.  Animals:  A Springtime Darner, Checkered Skippers, Variegated Fritillaries, Orange Sulphurs, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Mantid egg cases, and jumping spiders.  Visit their website.
Duke Forest, Korstian Division, Orange County, NC:  The trail here is near to the banks of New Hope Creek, bordering a thick forest.  An unusual number of uncommon species show up here.  Animals: Mormidea lugens (stink bug), Wheel Bug nymph, unidentified click beetle, Ground Skink, Harvester butterflies, Oak Treehopper.  Pictured: a foot-wide Tooth Fungus (Hericium erinaceus), with ID made referring to mushroomexpert.com.
Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Durham, NC:  A large cultivated garden, with an Asian plant section that also attracts relatively unusual insects.  Animals:  Great Blue Herons, exotic ducks, a Common Sanddragon, Dion Skippers, Eastern Amberwings, a Clavate Tortoise Beetle, Variegated Fritillaries, a Question Mark, Eastern Amberwings, a leafhopper (Sibovia occatoria, subfamily Cicadellinae).  Pictured: flowering Lotus plants.
Durham, NC:"My neighborhood swamp": This was once a duckweed-covered swamp fronted by a marsh with several types of grasses including cattails and false nutsedge, although the marsh has taken over after several droughts.   I have seen a Green Heron, a Great Blue Heron,  a Lesser Yellowlegs, many Canada Geese, flocks of mourning doves and a number of songbirds including an Indigo Bunting and American Goldfinches in the swamp part, while Red-winged Blackbirds are sometimes found in the cattails.  Insects seen in the marsh include several species of Ladybug Beetles (both adults and larvae), most commonly the Coleomegilla genus beetles, Soft-winged Flower Beetles, Rice Stink Bugs, Two-lined Froghoppers (Prosapia bicincta), Common Buckeyes, Dion Skippers, Fiery Skippers, Toad Bugs, Shore Bugs, Marsh Flies, Flower Flies, Wolf Spiders, Six-spotted Fishing Spiders, Marsh Beetles, Citrine Forktails, Fragile Forktails and numerous grasshoppers.  Ladybug Beetle Pupae appeared on leaves of trees maybe 50 feet from the swamp's edge.  Northern Cricket Frogs show up at the marsh's periphery.   Pictured is a Green Heron in the swamp.
  Durham, NC: My neighborhood powerline cut mini-swamp.  I have seen Golden and Clavate Tortoise Beetle adults and a larva, a Burdock Beetle, a Lixus genus weevil, a male Common Green Darner, a rhopalid bug, two courting stilt bugs, several Northern Cricket Frogs and an American Toad mating pair.  Pictured: an adult Burdock Beetle eating a Horse Nettle leaf.
Durham, NC: A drainage ditch that's a tributary of the Third Fork Creek is an optimal combination of both: it's narrow enough for me to see most of the bottom, but the water is practically still.  I have photographed crayfish of all sizes and relatively large members of several fish species (rainbow trout, bluegill, madtom) there.  Dragonflies, including Eastern Amberwings, Great Blue Skimmers and Slaty Skimmers abound all summer.  During droughts, part of the creek has dried up, leaving little puddles in which very small crayfish and tubifex worms were easily visible, while Green Frogs sat on the dry parts of the creek bed.  Pictured are Red Maple blossoms (Acer rubrum) which fell into the ditch in early spring.
Ebenezer Church Recreation Area (aka Ebenezer Point), Chatham County, NC:  A small church once functioned here, but now this area is a North Carolina state park on Jordan Lake.  Its more unusual features include thousands of feathers deposited near the waterfront and a pond with rainbow colors and dense and varied aquatic vegetation.  A chimney remains of the original church.  It is part of the Jordan Lake State Recreation Area.
Eno River State Park, NC, Orange and Durham Counties:  The Old Cole Mill Road Access has had a number of uncommon species until recently, especially near Bobbitt's Hole, an area of locally deep water in the Eno River.  Animals:  Brown Snake (pictured), River Cooters, Yellowbelly Sliders, Common Wood Nymphs, Northern Pearly Eyes, Carolina Satyrs, Delaware Skippers, Henry's Elfins, a Tawny Emperor, Arrow-shaped Micrathenas, a Horse Fly, sharpshooters (a kind of leafhopper), a Banasa calva stink bug, Wheel Bug nymphs, a Fruit Fly (Tephritidae family), and both two young (inch-long) and adult Praying Mantids, including two that were mating in the brushy power line cut.  The Fews Ford Access has an interesting trail over Cox Mountain on which appeared these animals: Sleepy Duskywings, Bess Beetles, a Velvet Mite, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, adult Northern Fence Lizards and some small Ground Skinks.
Flat River Impoundment, Durham County, NC: Created by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to provide an alternative to areas flooded by dams for migrating birds, this place consists of artificially created ponds that stay full of water even during droughts.   It is perhaps most notable for the great numbers of butterflies it attracts in mid-summer with its Common Sneezeweed, e.g., Clouded Sulphurs, Orange Sulphurs, Sachems, Variegated Fritillaries, Cabbage Whites, Tiger Swallowtails, Cloudless Sulphurs, Sleepy Oranges, checkered skippers, Gray Hairstreaks, Silvery Checkerspots, Zebra Swallowtails, Question Marks, Red Admirals and Common Sootywings.  It also has a few moths, e.g., Epipagis huronalis, Tarache aprica, the Yellow-collared Scape Moth and the Ailanthus Webworm.  Other insects include the Asian Oak Weevil, Brown Stink Bug, Field Cricket, Broad-headed Bug, flower flies (Eristalis genus), picture-winged fly (Tritoxa genus), American Bird Grasshopper and leaffooted bugs.  Also seen were Common Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, White Morning Glories (Ipomoea lacuna)
Fort Fisher Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC: A very diverse group of habitats at the southern tip of Pleasure Island, NC, ranging from Atlantic Ocean beach to expansive marsh bordering the Cape Fear River; the Basin Trail runs through the latter and ends at the mudflats pictured.  Wildflowers seen there include Forked Bluecurls, Rose Gentians, pennyworts, Firewheels, Bitter Sneezeweed, Bushy Sea Oxeye Daisies, maybe Purple Bladderworts.  Animals seen were Queen butterflies, Monarch butterflies, Gulf Fritillaries, Common Buckeyes, Question Mark butterflies, Hooded Mergansers, White Ibises, Snowy Egrets, Turkey Vultures (landing), Boat-tailed Grackles, Dunlins, dung beetles, Rock Slaters, Carolina Mantises, Milkweed Bug nymphs, Sand Fiddler Crabs, Carolina Saddlebags dragonflies, Eastern Mud Turtles, Megachilid bees, Red-headed Woodpecker, Common Starlings, Great Blue Herons, Red-winged Blackbirds, Tricolored Herons, Willets, Great Black-backed Gulls, Ring-billed Gulls, robber flies, Crablike Spiny Orb Weavers, Yellow-and-black Argiopes, cicadas, Red-banded Hairstreaks, Needham's Skimmers, Wandering Gliders, Great Egrets and American Bitterns.
Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach, Lee County, FL: This southwestern Florida urban area has a number of tropical species as well as those typical of the U.S. Southeast.  Wildflowers seen include the Largeflower Mexican Clover (Richardia grandiflora), Florida Tasselflower, Leavenworth's Tickseed, Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis), Hairy Cowpea (Vigna luteola), Wild Bush Bean (Macroptilium lathyroides), Fire on the Mountain (Euphorbia cyathosphora), White Beggarticks (Bidens alba), as well as the more widespread Broadleaf Arrowhead, Daisy Fleabane, Lanceleaf Fogfruit, and Ageratum genus, Saltmarsh Fleabane, Butterfly Weed, Carolina Dayflower, Swamp Thistle, and Firewheel.  Birds included Boat-tailed Grackles, Eurasian Collared Doves, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Northern Mockingbirds, Palm Warblers, Great Blue Herons, Anhingas, Tricolored Herons, Wood Storks, Brown Pelicans, Gray Catbirds, Little Blue Herons, Turkey Vultures, Mallards, and Double-crested Cormorants. Lepidopterans included the Barred Yellow, the Monarch, and the Spotted Oleander Caterpiller Moth.  Odes included the Blue Dasher and Rambur's Forktail.  Finally, there were plenty of Brown Anoles (Anolis sagrei).
Francis Marion National Forest: Sewee Visitors Center and Environmental Education Center, Awendaw, SC (Charleston County):   Although insects are sparse here, uncommon and probably rare species are disproportionately common here.  Animals: At the nature trail near the Sewee Visitors Center, I saw an American Anhinga, many juvenile Blue Corporals, and many Palamedes Swallowtails.  At the I'on Swamp (once a rice plantation), I saw three baby American Alligators, a mysterious checkerspot-like Crescent (pictured), a Lace-winged Roadside-skipper, and a Tetrigidae family grasshopper.  Pictured: a spotless Green Six-spotted Tiger Beetle.
Goose Creek State Park, Washington, NC is off Route 64 in eastern North Carolina.  It features a boardwalk through a swamp that is covered with both green duckweed and red Water Fern, and the red is the more prominent color.  Seen there: a beaver, dragonflies (especially Needham's Skimmers and Eastern Pondhawks and including a Black Saddlebags and a Common Green Darner), Palamedes Swallowtails, Swamp Loosestrife, Green Treefrogs (even in the midday summer sun), Yellow-rumped Warblers, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Chipping Sparrows, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a Carolina Mantis, Carolina Anoles, a Black Horse Fly, a White-tailed Deer, Orchard Spiders, and Five-lined Skinks.  There are also a few palmettos.
Downtown Greenville, Pitt County, NC:  There is a small park on the northern border of this area which was very springlike early in the year.  Animals: During a brief pass through this area in mid-February, I saw a (very green) Orange Sulphur, a winter-form Sleepy Orange, and some some half-grown Rainbow Trout in a river.
Gulfport, Harrison County, MS: One of the biggest municipal beaches you'll ever see is in this city.  Black Skimmers abound here, as well as Royal Terns,a few Semipalmated Plovers and various gulls.  One Dainty Sulphur showed up on a sidewalk.
Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes County, NC: Located in the Sauratown Mountains, noted for their exposed rockfaces, this park features a lake, Moore's Knob (altitude ~2500 feet) and Cook's Wall.  Animals seen include Sleepy Duskywing, Chrysomela descripta (leaf beetle), Mourning Cloak, Hoplia trivia (scarab beetle), Oak Treehopper, Beelike Robber Fly, Red-banded Hairstreak, Broadheaded Skink, Lichen Moth, a fungus gnat and a Black Rat Snake.  Plants seen include Fan Clubmoss, Field Pansy, Halberd-leaved Violet, Carolina Hemlock, Fetterbush (Mountain Andromeda), Common Groundpine and a pear tree.
Haw River State Park, Guilford & Rockingham Counties, NC:  This park contains wooded, grassy and swamp areas, as well as a pond and the headwaters of the Haw River.   It is still under development, so many relatively uncommon species are found here, such as Gray Petaltail dragonflies, Appalachian Brown butterflies, One-spotted Tiger Beetles, Glowworm Beetles and Sparkling Jewelwing damselflies, and a mysterious aquatic insect.  Some species common here are Calico Pennants (near the pond late in the day), Spangled Skimmers (in grassy areas), Whirligig Beetles, Black Horse Flies, and various skink species.  Pictured: Two Fire Pink (Silene virginica) flowers.
Indian Creek Wildlife Observation Trail, a Jordan Lake Game Land, Chatham County, NC:  Animals: A Northern Water Snake, a White-M Hairstreak, several Falcate Orangetips (first seen in late March), Northern Cricket Frogs fairly far inland, a Dog-day Cicada fighting off a wasp attack, arrow-shaped Micrathenas, Tiger Beetles (Six-spotted Green and Common Sidewalk), a Bush Cricket, a Horse Fly (Tabanus Fulvulus), a Stilt Bug, a Broad-headed Bug, a Banded Pennant, a Long-legged Fly, a Clay-colored Beetle, an oakworm moth, a Star-bellied Spider, Common Baskettails, Gemmed Satyrs, Carolina Satyrs, Sleepy Duskywings, and Juvenal's Duskywings.  Pictured: a group of Crane Fly Orchid leaves.  To see some animals from one expedition, see the July 2006 expeditions page.  NOTE: The parking lot for this trail is currently closed.
Johnston Mill, Orange County, NC:  A heavily wooded area with trails going near New Hope Creek and crossing a power line cut.  It has relatively few insects, although regionally uncommon species represented are disproportionately common there.  Spiders are common, with some unusual species.  Animals:  A Pileated Woodpecker and Downy Woodpeckers, Harvesters, a Praying Mantis, Silvery Checkerspots, a Menecletes Insertus Stink Bug, hawks (at least Red-shouldered Hawks) and White-tailed Deer.  Pictured is part of a Sugar Hackberry (Celtis laevigata) tree.
B. Everett Jordan Lake Dam, Chatham County, NC: With Jordan Lake on one side and the Haw River (which obviously never runs dry) on the other side, this dam area is a big draw for birds and butterflies alike.  Pictured is a Great Blue Heron in the Haw River.  The structure over the gate controlling the lake level is a big draw for Turkey Vultures, which also congregate in the road crossing the dam.  The far banks of the Haw River have several species of morning glories, which drew Checkered Whites in 2010.  Other butterfly species appearing in the general area (mostly on the far side of the dam from the parking lot) have been Little Yellows, Common Buckeyes, Sachems and Sleepy Oranges.
A Jordan Lake Game Land (Chatham County), off Route 751 near the bridge:  This trail is mainly used by bird hunters.   Species seen here is special abundance are Turkey Vultures, Variegated Fritillaries, Northern Cricket Frogs, Yellow-and-black Argiopes, Pearl Crescents, and Cloudless Sulphurs, as well as Midges and (in puddles) Water Boatmen.  Pictured: a Marsh Fleabane with ants and an inchworm on its buds.
Little Scaly Mountain, Macon County, NC:   Animals: A Sleepy Orange, a Beelike Tachinid Fly, and a Fruit Fly (Tephritidae family).  Little Scaly Mountain is located near the Georgia border and has an elevation of about 4100 feet.  Pictured: Indian Pipes (Monotropa uniflora) flower. 
Mason Farm Biological Reserve (of the North Carolina Botanical Garden), Orange County, NC:   This former farm is used by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for biological research purposes.  There are extensive brushy areas and a swamp called Siler's Bog.  Animals:  Gray Treefrogs, Green Treefrogs, Hackberry Emperors, Orange Sulphurs, Sleepy Oranges, Appalachian Browns, Least Skippers, a Phaon Crescent, Star-bellied Spiders, Micrathena mitrata spiders, a jumping spider with a red abdomen, many damselflies and Tiger Beetles.  Pictured: a Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum).
Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve, Kill Devil Hills (and part of Nags Head), Dare County, NC:  Wooded sand dunes and wetlands characterize this area managed by the Nature Conservancy.  A brief mid-February trip turned up plasterer bees (Colletes inaequalis) and abundant Partridge Berries (Mitchella repens).  Pines are the dominant trees.  For more information, see their website.
North Carolina Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC:   This includes a nature trail through the woods as well as both cultivated gardens and areas designed to resemble coastal and mountain habitats.  Animals:  Eastern Comma, Black Rat Snake, Bullfrog, Green Frog, Acanaloniid Planthopper Nymph, Orange Sulphurs, Gray Hairstreaks, Cedar Waxwings, Cloudless Sulphurs, Pearl Crescents, American Ladies, Fiery Skippers, and a few dragonflies.  Pictured: Jack-in-the-Pulpit berries.  Go to their website.
Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, Orange County, NC:  An area of locally high elevation and unusual trees.  Animals:  Brown Elfins (pictured), Common Wood Nymphs, Hoplia trivia scarab beetles (farther up on the main mountain), Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Eastern Fence Lizards, various Duskywings, Zabulon Skippers (on the power line cut), Blue Corporals on the mountain.  Near the pond, Common Baskettails and Lancet Clubtails.
Ocracoke Island, Hyde County, NC:  Most of this island is protected by the federal government and is undeveloped.  Animals: Red Admirals, Salt Marsh Skippers, Little Wood Satyrs, Argus Tortoise Beetle, a Stilt-legged Fly, Ghost Crabs, a Black-crowned Night Heron, Tricolored Herons, Cattle Egrets, Royal Terns, an American Coot, a Spotted Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, a Great Crested Flycatcher, a European Starling, Brackish-water Fiddler Crabs, American Oystercatchers, Ruddy Turnstones, a Greylag Goose/Canada Goose couple and their offspring, and a Juniper Hairstreak.  Pictured: Prickly Pear cactuses (Opuntia genus) and a Scallop shell.
Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC: A very unusual habitat, with alkaline soil more characteristic of the Midwest.  Its best-known rare species are the Blue Indigo and the Smooth Coneflower.  Controlled burns in some areas keep trees from dominating other flora.  Animals: several species of solitary bees (accompanied by Large Bee Flies), a Fawn Darner, a Calico Pennant, many Widow Skimmers, Ashy Clubtails, a very fancy Northern Cricket Frog, Six-spotted Green Tiger Beetles, Blue Corporals, an American Snout, Checkered Skippers, Chinese Mantids, Ambush Bugs, a Toad Bug, a Puss Caterpillar, graphocephalid leafhoppers, a bright red Mirid Bug nymph and a Pselliopus cincta (a kind of assassin bug).   Pictured is a group of spring wildflowers including an Early Saxifrage and some Trout Lilies.
Pettigrew State Park, Creswell, NC:  This area is remarkably warm in winter, with very little wind.  Animals:  On 1/1/06, I saw two Sleepy Oranges, a Ladybug Beetle and numerous small Wolf Spiders.  A large number of very vocal birds, apparently grackles, went from tree to tree.  Pictured is part of a large Sycamore (Platanus genus) tree.  North Carolina State's Pettigrew State Park Page
Pitt County Arboretum, Greenville, NC: Contains a variety of cultivated plants.  Butterflies and flower flies abound.
Puerto Rico:  Isla Verde (a San Juan district) and nearby rural areas:  Mystery skippers, Great Southern Whites, a land-based hermit crab, snails with striped shells, anoles, Antillean Grackles.  Mayagu√ęz:  Puerto Zoo animals.  Ponce: many Monarch caterpillars on supersized milkweed plants.    Pictured: a rainbow over the Atlantic Ocean (looking northwards from Isla Verde).
J.C. Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh, Wake County, NC:  This is a horticultural garden associated with North Carolina State University, with many new species patented by NCSU faculty.  Butterflies:  Green Frog, Great Spangled Fritillary, Variegated Fritillary, Checkered White, American Snout, Black Swallowtail.  Pictured: Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana).  See their site at North Carolina State University's website.
River Park North, Greenville, Pitt County, NC:  This contains several habitats: an open field, a swamp with many very large Water Tupelos and Bald Cypresses, a large lake and a power line cut.  Animals: During a brief pass through this park in mid-February, I saw several Great Blue Herons and two feral (wild members of imported species) geese, a Gray Pomeranian and an Embden. 
Riverbend Park, Conover, Catawba County, NC: A winding path leads through a wooded area.  Pictured: a White-banded Crab Spider on a Sensitive Brier flower.  Other animals seen on one very brief trip through the park: Carolina Mantis, Lace-winged Roadside Skipper, and Micrathena gracilis and Micrathena mitrata spiders.
Sandy Creek Park, Durham, NC: A trail goes along the side of Sandy Creek and leads to a greenway on Durham city public property.  Pictured: Lesser Celandine.  A great place to find hundreds of Boxelder Bugs in mid-March, it also has a heavily populated, both by animals and plants, area near the parking lot.  Horsetails line the creek.
Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Lee County, FL: Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge (including the Bailey Tract) are on Sanibel Island, while Captiva Island has Hagerup and Turner Beaches.  Ding Darling has mainly birds, such as the Reddish Egret, Osprey, Snowy Egret, White Ibis, Tricolored Heron, Willet, American White Pelican, Common Ground Dove, Little Blue Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, Anhinga, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, and Great Egret.  Turner Beach had the Black-bellied Plover, Red-breast Merganser, Double-crested Cormorant, Snowy Egret, Sanderling, and Ruddy Turnstone.  Hagerup Beach also had the Royal Tern and Willet.  Other fauna at Ding Darling include the American Alligator, Mangrove Buckeye butterfly, and a thread-waisted wasp species (Sphex jamaicensis).  Insects appearing at the Bailey Tract inclue the Cassius Blue, White Peacock, and Common Buckeye butterflies, Roseate Skimmer and Marl Pennant dragonflies, and Florida Ivory Millipede.  Flora at Ding Darling includes the Pink Purslane (Portulaca pilosa), the Rose of Plymouth (Sabatia stellaris), and the nickernut (Guilandina genus, either G. bonduc or G. major).  The Beach Bean (Canavalia rosea) appeared at Hagerup Beach.
Santee State Park, Orangeburg County, SC: A beautiful natural area covering parts of four counties.  Animals seen:  Tropical Checkered Skipper, Duskywings, Large Bee Flies, Common Baskettails, Falcate Orangetips.  Pictured: water lilies in Lake Marion.
White Pines Nature Preserve, Chatham County, NC (Triangle Land Conservancy):  Of all the places I've been, the one with the most unidentifiable species!   Among the few I was able to recognize without a major struggle was the Henry's Elfin.   Those shown on other pages which we identified include a Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla genus) and a Yellow-throated Warbler.  Pictured is a large group of Jack-in-the-pulpit plants.  Their page at the Triangle Land Conservancy site: TLC White Pines Nature Preserve page.

Copyright ¬© 2006-2011 Dorothy E. Pugh.  All rights reserved.

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