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Posts by Twan Leenders

American Redstart Changing into Fall Plumage

Posted by on Jul 17, 2017

American Redstart Changing into Fall Plumage

Many of our migratory birds are on their second or third brood for the season already and slowly are starting to prepare for their journey south. Most flashy warblers molt out of their brightly colored breeding plumage in the next few weeks and will start migration once all flight feathers are grown in to the point that they can safely sustain their long journey. Although we have not quite reached Roger Tory Peterson’s notorious “Confusing Fall Warblers” level of alternate plumage yet, the first signs are here. Even though this male American Redstart still displays its characteristic black...

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The Great Spangled Fritillary!

Posted by on Jul 10, 2017

The Great Spangled Fritillary!

The Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) and other native butterflies provide added splashes of color on summer days as they flit about our flower gardens, parks and roadsides. Butterflies don’t need much to thrive in our immediate vicinity. As long as you take extra care to plant native flowering plants that provide healthy foods for these animals (rather than non-native ornamental plants that don’t offer such benefits to our insects) and don’t spray pesticides, butterflies will be there to brighten your day (and pollinate your other flowers and veggies)!

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Bullfrog Metamorph

Posted by on Jun 30, 2017

Bullfrog Metamorph

It’s the time of year that local green frogs and bull frogs are leaving their watery confines to try a life on land. These large frogs breed only in permanent bodies of water, because they spend several years as a tadpole before metamorphosis. Unlike our vernal pool species, which breed earlier and are leaving their temporary pools before they dry, these species rely on permanent water that allows their tadpoles to overwinter – sometimes several times, depending on latitude. Want to learn more about the frogs in your neighborhood? There are Peterson Field Guides for that thanks to Roger Tory...

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Remarkable Recapture

Posted by on Jun 29, 2017

Remarkable Recapture

Golden-winged Warblers are among the most imperiled birds in North America. Their numbers have plummeted nearly 70% in the past 50 years, and this species continues to decline at a staggering 2.5% each year. Outside of their core breeding range in the upper Great Lakes Region (mostly Minnesota and Wisconsin) they have just about disappeared altogether, and several northeastern states now no longer have viable populations of Golden-winged Warblers around. What causes these declines? Well, a number of factors play a role here. Golden-winged Warblers prefer to live in open, wet areas that are...

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Bicolored Antbird

Posted by on May 8, 2017

Bicolored Antbird

Here’s a catch made during my recent research trip to Costa Rica. Not a neotropical migrant this time, but a local resident species. This unusual-looking fellow is a Bicolored Antbird (Gymnopithys leucaspis), one of several so-called “ant-birds” that are usually found only in the vicinity of army ant swarms. All day long these birds follow the ants -at a safe distance- and expertly capture insects that are flushed, but not caught, by the invading...

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