marraskuu 20, 2023

Back to NYC again in late November

Well, coming back to New York after 16 days in Southern California was a bit of a shock. It is not really terribly cold, but chilly enough, and now there is apparently not much brand-new nature for me to see, whereas in California I was photographing at least one new lifer every day.

Yesterday Ed and I went to Central Park. First we got out at 102nd Street and 5th Avenue, in order to walk across to the Butterfly Gardens and find out whether there were any insects at all there, and then briefly we went over to the English Garden of the Conservatory Gardens.

I was hoping to get a sense for exactly where we are now in the fall season.

Plenty of plants are looking happy still, and some plant pathogens, but the only insects I could find in the butterfly gardens were one Large Milkweed Bug and a bunch of Oleander Aphids sitting on an old milkweed stem. I also saw something like a bluebottle fly flying, but I was not able to photograph it. There were, however, several pretty little Ruby-Crowned Kinglets flitting around in the largest of the butterfly gardens.

When I gave up searching the Butterfly Gardens and walked over to the Conservatory Garden, I discovered that all of the annuals in the English Garden had been pulled out already. And because the stairs and paths in the French Garden have been under construction for many months now, the staff had not planted any Korean Chrysanthemums there this year. This was sad, because if the Korean Chrysanthemums were there, they would still be in flower, and the nectar and pollen would be attracting countless flying insects, as they have done every year for the last several years, much to my delight. It is wonderful to be able to see so many different flying insects so late in the year. Hopefully I will be able to do that next year.

Julkaistu marraskuu 20, 2023 10:10 IP. käyttäjältä susanhewitt susanhewitt | 16 havaintoa | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

marraskuu 10, 2023

Want to know how to ID your SoCal seashells?

Dear Folks,

I will be here at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, San Diego County, for a few more days, leaving at 9 am in the morning of Nov 14th.

I am staying at the Moonlight Beach Motel at 233 2nd Street. It is easy to find via the Encinitas Boulevard exit off of Highway 5.

If anyone wants to see some local shells and learn how to ID them, or wants to bring some of your own shells and ask me to help you ID them, I am willing.

Contact me here on iNat.

Susan Hewitt

P.S. Even once I am back in NYC I am willing to teach anyone how to ID shells.

Julkaistu marraskuu 10, 2023 07:14 IP. käyttäjältä susanhewitt susanhewitt | 2 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

Doing well iNatting in San Diego North County, 2023

Well, Ed and I arrived from New York City late on October 29th for a 16-day stay, and we are now settled into our room (Room 108) in the Moonlight Beach Motel in Encinitas, with a fridge full of food in order to be able to make three meals a day.

I have been out iNatting numerous times already, very locally, but I have been doing great, finding all kinds of new things.

We are here later than in previous years, as we always used to arrive very shortly after Labor Day. I guess that because the calendar is moving into November, this time of year counts as late fall or very early winter, as opposed to being very late Summer!

Also, this is the year in which Southern California was impacted by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Hilary in August, which meant that they got a huge amount of rain all at once, after many years/decades of severe drought. As a result of all that rain, most wild or semi-wild areas here are still quite lush and green.

Either way, whether due to all that heavy rain, or perhaps partly due to being here later in the season, I am finding a lot of organisms that I have not found here before.

But there are also a couple of species which I found multiples of during my last visit that I am not finding at all this time, like the stink bugs that were on the Orchid Tree on this block, and the Lantana Stick caterpillars which were on the Yellow Lantana bushes a block away, but that is not surprising, because those bushes were severely trimmed recently.

I have also already found quite a few plants that were new to me, including Devil's Thorn, Saharan Mustard, and Garland Daisy.

People who regularly read the iNat forum post where people report new Lifers will already know that I have found a Black Webspinner (a new order of insects for me!), a Western Plant Bug, a Yellow-V Moth, and one (now three) shells of the Trask's Shoulderband land snail, a critically endangered species which is endemic to the State of California.

I also found a Yellow-faced Bumblebee -- common apparently, but quite striking and pretty-looking.

On November 1st, my husband spotted a large-ish, very smooth woodlouse, on the sidewalk opposite the hotel. It was a Swift Woodlouse. That is new to me too.

Also on Nov 1st, I also saw two examples of the Grey Buckeye, which is now considered to be not just a color variety of the Common Buckeye, but a separate species, a taxon which only occurs west of the Rockies.

Friday Nov 3rd. Today something curious happened: walking back from Cottonwood Creek Park, as we got level with the hotel, we suddenly saw what seemed to be a striking, curling, narrow plume of something like smoke coming up the road from the direction of the beach. I wondered if it was indeed smoke, or perhaps a plume of dust from the construction that is taking place along the creek as it approaches the beach. But the cloud increased in size, and decreased somewhat in intensity, and I could not smell or taste anything at all, so I realized it was not smoke or dust, but sea fog! Then, as we sat outside in the hotel courtyard, and as the breeze blew, we could sometimes actually see the particles of moisture in the fog. I think perhaps the weather is turning colder now.

Sunday Nov 5th -- This would be Guys Fawkes Day if we were in the UK. We went to Ki's for lunch with our friends Barry and Jeannie who had driven here from Fallbrook, and also afterwards we went to Cardiff State Beach and then briefly to Swami's, but only on the clifftop. On the Cardiff Beach I found a small clump of washed-up Ostrich-Plume Hydroids, which was new to me, as well as a broken small Green Abalone shell, which was a new iNat record for me. And I also found an intact soft coral, genus Muricea, which was another lifer.

On Thursday November 9th on the outside of a window of room 101, here on the ground floor of the Motel, I saw an Alfalfa Moth. That was a new lifer:

Friday Nov 10th I found a couple of lifer plants at the edge of the coast road opposite Swami's parking lot -- California Croton was the first one, Coast Morning Glory was the second one. I also got a pretty good look at one of several similar nice moths there, but I was unable to photograph it.

Sunday November 12th. I got to see and capture a new-to-me Giant Western Crane Fly which had been hiding somewhere in the hotel room for two days after it flew in when I had door and window open.

Also on Sunday Nov 12th I got to photograph a West Coast Lady, new to me:

Nov 12th -- I also found a Small Melliot plant -- new to me:

Nov 13th, I found two little baby California seahares. That species was a lifer for me in the years since I first got onto iNat:

And I found several Ventura Hermit Crabs, which were new to me.

All in all, I did really great this visit, especially considering I was only here for not very long -- two weeks and two days. I found at least 21 lifers in 16 days!

Julkaistu marraskuu 10, 2023 02:42 AP. käyttäjältä susanhewitt susanhewitt | 30 havaintoa | 2 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

lokakuu 29, 2023

Can I join you iNatting in SoCal?

II you live in Southern California and you are going to go out iNatting in San Diego North County at some point during the next 16 days -- the cut-off point being Nov 14th, I would love to join you if I can, so let me know. I will be staying at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, arriving Oct 29th. I won't have a car but I can use a taxi or a bus to get somewhere.

Or, if you would like me to ID some local or not so local seashells for you, I would be happy to do that.



Julkaistu lokakuu 29, 2023 04:15 IP. käyttäjältä susanhewitt susanhewitt | 1 kommentti | Jätä kommentti

lokakuu 6, 2023

An iNat meet-up: an outing and nature walk in San Diego North County in early November 2023 ?

I am currently planning to have our annual small joint iNat meet-up and nature outing take place in the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve in Cardiff again, same as it did last year. Last year's event took place on September 18th 2022.

The event this year, 2023, will take place on a Sunday (either Sunday November 5th or Sunday November 12th), whichever works better for people.
The parking lot and nature center for the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve is at: 2710 Manchester Avenue, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007.

The Reserve opens at 9 am, so that is when the nature walk will start, and we will meet up in the parking lot close to the nature center. The walk will last about 2 hours probably. There are a lot of different trails in the reserve, so people can extent their time there if they wish to, either by coming to the area earlier or by spending more time there after our meet-up is finished.

Please tell me what you think, and whether you think you can come, and also tell me which Sunday would be better for you.


Julkaistu lokakuu 6, 2023 11:07 IP. käyttäjältä susanhewitt susanhewitt | 11 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

elokuu 12, 2023

An iNat meet-up and outing in Southern California this November

Hello everyone,

Some of you will probably remember a similar message from me about an outing last year, a message which I sent out a few weeks earlier than this.
Here is last year's message and a thread of replies:

I (@susanhewitt) who normally lives in NYC, will again be staying at the Moonlight Beach Motel in Encinitas, San Diego North County, for 16 nights, this time from the evening of Sunday October 29th to the early afternoon of Tuesday November 14th.

I would love to be part of an iNat meetup and nature walk on at least one day during that time span, so some planning will be necessary. I am familiar with some of the more obvious aspects of the wild flora and fauna of coastal San Diego North County fairly well after many visits, and after having lived in La Jolla and Pacific Beach in 1970/71. My taxon of special expertise is mollusks -- I know the Southern California shelled marine mollusks quite well.

I am assuming that a Saturday or a Sunday would be the best day for most people to do a meet-up? There is the weekend of the 4th and 5th November, and the weekend of the 11th and 12th November. As for a destination, I was thinking maybe of the San Elijo Lagoon again, or maybe the Torrey Pines preserve, although I guess autumn is not the best season for iNatting at Torrey Pines.

For any other suggested destinations, I would be glad to listen to ideas from other people. I won't have a car, but I can get out somewhere using a taxi or a bus.

Last year the outing took place on Sunday Sept 18th 2022, starting at 9 am in the morning. It was at
the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and Nature Center, accessed at 2710 Manchester Ave, Cardiff, CA 92007. Parking is limited in their lot, but there is also a separate lot across the street. The iNatters who attended last year were the following folks:

@susanhewitt -- Susan
@u_phantasticus -- Elena
@arboretum_amy -- Amy and her husband Joe
@juliabohemian -- Julia
@anewmark -- Andrew

Last year Vasily Reinkymov suggested that I might ask:


And James (@silversea_starsong) suggested I might ask:

So please, if you get this message, and are interested in any way, let me know. Other iNatters that I have not listed here or just anyone who loves nature, would be welcome to come along too.

Of course if you yourself would like to meet up with me on another day, or you want me to look at some shells for you, that could be done separately. I will be in the Moonlight Beach Motel for some hours on every single day of my trip.

Happy iNatting to all, and best wishes,


Julkaistu elokuu 12, 2023 03:00 IP. käyttäjältä susanhewitt susanhewitt | 20 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

elokuu 1, 2023

Visiting Governor's Island after the cold front came through

Ed and David Ringer and I decided to visit Governor's Island this Sunday, July 30th, the first cool day after an extended span of very hot weather.

We planned to catch the 11 am ferry. David found us already sitting inside the ferryboat as he had been running a bit late thanks to erratic subway timing on the weekends.

Once on the island, we walked up towards Fort Jay, looking at the wildflower plantings, and then climbed up onto the glacis -- the grassy slopes surrounding the Fort. This is where I have often found day-flying moths during some of my previous visits. We flushed out a few cool moths and then decided to descend the stone steps into the moat, where I could see that, in one section of the moat, the groundskeepers had left a fairly wide central strip of weeds unmown.

In the moat we found some campion leafminers, a number of different new-to-us good species of moths, as well as a couple of large black/blue wasps and a 3-lined beetle.

After climbing out of the moat we walked over to Castle Williams, where we ate lunch at a picnic table. David and I looked, but we could find no large clumps of Big-Bract Vervain, or any Slender Snake Cotton just south of the Castle, where I had found those unusual species of plants a few years ago.

We then walked over to Blazing Saddles. We had to rent a large surrey, as they were out of small ones. We peddled over to the Harbor School garden, where we found a lot of beautiful Harlequin Stink Bugs living on some sort of Kale. The cherry tomatoes were not being harvested there even though they were superbly sweet and delicious. I also found a climbing milkweed.

Then we peddled across the island and south to the Lavender Field. There were no butterflies, but there were a huge number of mixed dragonflies hunting over the strip of grass by the big ancient wall at the back.

Then we went to the Urban Farm. Ed stayed sitting in the surrey while David and I walked around the farm. We found galls, and some nice flying insects too, but no butterflies.

After that we peddled back to Blazing Saddles to return the surrey, and then walked over to the ferry terminal.

One of the ferries was out of service, so we had to wait for the other one.

Governors Island was the busiest I have ever seen it.

Julkaistu elokuu 1, 2023 01:57 IP. käyttäjältä susanhewitt susanhewitt | 24 havaintoa | 2 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

heinäkuu 8, 2023

My first visit to Cunningham Park in Queens

With tremendous thanks to Misha Zitser who accompanied me on this voyage of discovery, and who has been talking to me about this park for a couple of years at least.

I had a great time even though we ran out of usable daylight hours before the end of the visit.

I observed a lot of organisms that were new to me, (about 20 of them) including three new fern species, two new moths, two new frogs, several new fungi and a bunch of new plants.

The observations start here:

And here is the quilt of images from that day:

I also discovered that Oakland Gardens is a very pretty area -- extremely pretty suburbs.

Julkaistu heinäkuu 8, 2023 02:23 AP. käyttäjältä susanhewitt susanhewitt | 13 havaintoa | 3 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

kesäkuu 7, 2023

The dates for the monthly fish count seining on Randall's island, NYC

Info for @zitserm , @steven-cyclist , @djringer , @catverde , and anyone else at all who might be interested.

"World Fish Migration Day
"June 10 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
"The Hudson River Estuary is home to more than 200 species of fish. Join our Natural Areas team as we wade into the river to survey the incredible underwater life along the shores of Randall’s Island. Participants can get up close and personal with some of the species found and watch as the seine nets come to shore and fish are safely handled, identified, and then released back into the river. Staff will enter the river with special nets while participants watch from the natural beach."

Who is planning to come to this Saturday's event starting at 10 am on the Wards Island beach on Randall's Island?

I will be there. Warning -- this one is a public event, so there may be quite a few families and kids as well as the usual RIPA staff.

Note the dates listed for the rest of the seining events later on in the summer and fall.



On Jun 7, 2023, at 9:35 AM, John Butler wrote:

Hi Susan,

Just following up with additional dates to our monthly seining here on Randall's Island. Listed below are our tentative dates for the summer and fall.

Saturday June 10 (with additional time in the Little Hellgate Saltmarsh during the afternoon of Monday June 12)
Monday July 10
Tuesday August 22
Wednesday September 20
Monday October 23

John Butler (he/him) | Natural Areas Manager
Randall's Island Park Alliance
Icahn Stadium
10 Central Road
New York, NY 10035
T: 212-860-1899 x 113 | F: 212-860-2486 | C: 610-457-2205 |
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |LinkedIn
From: John Butler
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2023 4:30 PM
To: Christopher Girgenti; Susan and Ed
Subject: Re: Monthly fish counts at RI ?
Hi Susan,

Yes, like Chris said we will be seining on Saturday, June 10 from 10am-12pm on the beach along the Water's Edge garden. On Monday, June 12th from 12:30pm-2:30pm we will be seining in the Little Hell Gate Salt Marsh.

We have not yet solidified July's seining date, but I will let you know when we do!

John Butler (he/him) | Natural Areas Manager

Julkaistu kesäkuu 7, 2023 09:09 IP. käyttäjältä susanhewitt susanhewitt | 6 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

toukokuu 30, 2023

Roosevelt Island once again -- finding hundreds of weedy Orchids

Ed and I went over to Roosevelt Island again on Monday, 29th, Memorial Day. I wanted to try iNatting in the green and woodsy park which is opposite the Post Office on Main Street. I think it is called Manhattan Park. The last time we visited the island, the bus driver accidentally dropped us off at the northeast corner of that park, and I took the time to briefly photograph two examples of the weedy orchid, the Broad-leafed Helleborine, Epipactis helleborine, as well as seeing another two examples of that species a bit further north on the wild edge of the soccer field that lies south of the Community Garden.

I started iNatting at the southwest corner of Manhattan Park, and I walked clockwise round the edge of the park, photographing weeds. Most of the weeds were quite ordinary and unsurprising. But I also found what looked like stinging nettles, Urtica dioica, and bracted sedge, Carex radiata. If I got the IDs right, both of these plant species I was seeing for the first time. However, I did not try to see if the nettles would sting, and so I can't really be sure they were Urtica dioica. There were large masses of the Meadow Anemone Anemonastrum canadense, and that species is native to the Northeastern States, but I believe it is also sold as a garden plant, so it may not have been wild in this park.

Once I got over to the northeast corner of the park, I started to see lots and lots of Epipactis helleborine. Some of the plants were still quite young and small. Others were larger and had a flowering spike tucked inside of the leaves, but I reckon it will be a minimum of two or three weeks before any actual flowering starts.

So many orchid plants! I reckon, if you could count all the youngest plants, there seemed to be at least three hundred orchid plants in total, all growing in the broad flower bed which forms the eastern edge of the park. But there were no orchid plants at all that I could see in the northern, southern or western flower beds of the park.

Another plant which was present in a few spots, and which I think may be wild, was "Green-and-Gold" - Chrysogonum virginianum - that species is native to New York State.

At the edge of the soccer field a bit further north there was another colony of the weedy orchids, but only very few of them compared with the huge numbers in Manhattan Park.

Ed and I also walked north to the Community Garden and to the vacant lot too. We looked to see if the tuxedo cat was there, but we did not find her/him.

As for the Weedy Orchid, I have previously found it a few times in NYC -- on Randall's Island, and several times in Central Park around the Reservoir, and I once found one plant of that species in Carl Schurz Park.

Julkaistu toukokuu 30, 2023 12:23 IP. käyttäjältä susanhewitt susanhewitt | 56 havaintoa | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti