Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ash Borer Survey

From the corner of my eye, I noticed a purple box hanging from a tree. I was past it before I could do more than turn my head. My first thought was that the kids were up to something. Then I saw another one. This time I pulled over to see what was going on.

The USDA is doing an Emerald Ash Borer Survey in 48 states. The purple boxes are really 3-dimensional plastic triangular traps. Apparently Ash Borer groove on the color purple. The traps are baited with Manuke oil. The adults fly around and if they land on the trap they will get stuck. The traps will be monitored during the Spring and Summer and removed in the Fall.

Having the traps doesn't mean we have the offending beetle, but they are looking for it. The goal is to define the boundaries of infested areas.

If you see one of the traps on the ground, call the EAB hotline at 866-322-4512 and remember don't move firewood. Burn it where you buy it.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Smitten with Borage

I was completely smitten with borage while at my sister's house last year. It had lovely blue star-shaped flowers and was covered in hairs. I had visions of the local herd of deer munching along and getting a mouthful of icky hairy leaves. Take that, you eating machine. But I can't find it anywhere in any of the local nurseries. I'm now going to try and grow it from seed. If I can find the seed.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hooded Merganser Babies

While photographing waterlilies in the tea brown waters of the swamp, the leaves riffling gentling in the breeze, the silence broken only by the the song of Red-winged Blackbirds; an agitated jerking of distant leaves and the hint of ripples in the water revealed a duckling, then 2. Looking ahead of the stragglers, I saw a mama Hooded Merganser push through the hidden passages with a flotilla of 10 babies following in her wake.

Hooded Mergansers are cavity nesters in swampy areas. Given how many Wood Duck boxes are scattered around the Great Swamp, I am sure she appropriated one.