Some 2020 Discoveries

As the calendar year nears the end, I am remembering some new discoveries made during over 230 nature walks in Eliza Howell Park this year.

A “discovery” is something that I have just become aware of, regardless of how long it has been here or how common it is. Among the countless natural phenamena present, there are some every year that I notice and/or focus on for the first time.

Hickory Hairstreak is included in my annual butterfly list for the first time in 2020. It is very small and I was excited to get this picture on July 3.

Some of the 2020 discoveries have already been featured in this blog: for example, Wild Ginger on May 13…

… and Partridge Pea on August 8.

One of this year’s discoveries, the mushroom Wood Ear, was pictured without special attention in an October 22 report on mushrooms on logs. Perhaps It does resemble an ear?

I have often observed Fall Webworm caterpillars in the park and have sometimes seen Tent Caterpillars, but 2020 was the first time I became aware of another caterpillar that lives in silken webs on trees: Euonymus Caterpillar.

I have often watched the large Milkweed Bugs, which sometimes congregate in large numbers on Common Milkweed plants, especially when they are going to seed. This year I became aware that the Small Milkweed Bug, which also feeds on milkweed seeds, is found here as well.

The two milkweed bugs are distinct species, though they look similar. Large is on the left, Small on the right.

Among other 2020 discoveries is one that I have noted in the park before, but only in isolated plants that have been hard to relocate. This is Scouring Rush (Horsetail). The new find this year is a patch of Scouring Rush, in a location that can easily be included in walks, providing me with the opportunity for more detailed study.

During this pandemic year I have been very fortunate to be able to continue my Eliza Howell Park walks uninterrupted. In fact, I visited the park more frequently than in other years. These are only some of many discoveries this year

In January 2021 begin my 17th year of nature study in Eliza Howell Park.

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