Narrow-leaved Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium)

This native flower looks like grass, but after looking closely, you can see these beautiful clusters of blue flowers.   This plant belongs in the Iris Family.  There are roughly 75 species of Sisyrinchium native to the Western Hemisphere.  This is one of the most common.

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Green Frog (Rana clamitans)

It has been a long time since my last post!  I hope to add more discoveries to this blog over the summer.  My son Dylan spotted this frog popping its head out of the water on our hike today.  I don’t know much about amphibians and had a tough time identifying it.  There are not many frog options for Long Island, and I was skeptical about the Green frog identification.  It turns out that Green frogs aren’t always green.  They range from green to brown to blue!  They are easy to identify in the wild because they have those “lines” running from their eyes to their back. 

 

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Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata)

Found this little guy with a seine net. They are quite common in the northeast. They are insectivores and get their name from the two dark stripes running along their back.

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Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

This colorful plant is a butterfly favorite. It’s flowers are a source of nectar for many butterflies and it’s leaves are a food source for monarch butterfly caterpillars. If you look closely at the pictures you can see tiny yellow aphids covering the stems. I believe they are yellow oleander aphids.

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Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)

This is one of my favorite early blooming wildflowers. The blossom has five pink striped petals that range from white to pale pink. This plant is apparently rare on Long Island, but at Shu Swamp it’s abundant.

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Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon)

This is one of the first butterflies seen in spring. It rarely lands with its wings open, so you only see the bright blue color in flight. This one took me about ten minutes to photograph. They rarely stay still!

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Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)

The woods near my home is literally carpeted with these unique little flowers. They won’t be around much longer, but their mottled leaves will last when the flowers are long gone.

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Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)

Found this little guy on my hike this morning. Garter snakes are one of the most common snakes in North America, and can grow up to four feet. Females don’t lay eggs like most snakes, instead they give birth to live young.

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Eastern Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)

Such a strange plant. Love how each year it actually grows deeper into the ground, so older plants are basically impossible to dig up, not that I would!

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Marsh Marigold (Calthra palustris)

This was the only one blooming on my hike yesterday. I always forget that all parts of this plant are quite poisonous to humans. Touching it can cause skin irritation. The woods near my home will soon be full of these, but it sure was nice to see this one after this long winter. >

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