The meadow at Wilson Mountain

The meadow at Wilson Mountain is by no means the most impressive acre of open space in Dedham in terms of biodiversity, but I still love to go there and try to see beyond the invasive worts, weeds, and spurges (click HERE to see the Massachusetts prohibited plant list – but be warned – you may find out that almost everything in your yard is invasive).

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There are lots of beautiful native plants there, common milkweed, spotted Joe Pye weed, black eyed Susan, and New England asters, to name just a few. I think my favorite is common milkweed, because it is the host plant for monarch butterflies and many, many other insects.

I managed to get out of the house for about an hour today (my first time outdoors since kids got out of school earlier this week), and I’m so glad I chose to go to Wilson Mountain for a much needed recharge of my mental batteries.

Check out this spider I found on the bottom of a milkweed leaf.

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This cute little plume moth (Geina sp.) was hanging out on a nearby plant.

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On the underside of yet another leaf, I found the tiny eggs of a monarch butterfly.

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Click HERE to see a really nice close-up photo of a monarch egg from bugguide.net.

Here is a deer bed. Haven’t you always wanted to know where deer sleep??

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While I was laying on the ground looking under the leaves of milkweed plants, I noticed these tiny eggs on a blade of grass. Thanks to one of the coolest books I own (Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates by Charley Eiseman and Noah Charney – order your own copy HERE), I am able to make a tentative guess that they are from some kind of True Bug, possibly a stinkbug or assassin bug. Well, that narrows it down.

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It was a great visit to the meadow, a wonderful hour-long retreat. I spent an hour looking down at the ground and on the bottoms of leaves and I was not disappointed. So, it was just gravy when I was walking back to my car and I saw these amazingly cute little barred owls up in a pine tree (thanks to another couple who were taking photos – otherwise I never would have noticed them).

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Ridiculously cute, and a little bit scary, too. I’m glad I’m not a mouse in the meadow.

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