The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Posts tagged fauna

  • Monarch Rescue 2015

    | September 4, 2015

    The Reserve's annual late summer effort to save monarch eggs, caterpillars, and chrysalises from the mowers that cut our fields happened last week. The mowing is essential in preventing the fields from growing into forests over time, and also as a management strategy for invasive species.

    Monarch rescued

    Thanks so much to the eleven volunteers who spent several hours in the warm sunshine combing the ubiquitous milkweed plants for signs of monarchs! We saved 38 caterpillars of all sizes, removing them from the fields that will be mowed within the coming weeks to fields that will not be mowed this year. The smallest of the caterpillars measured less than one inch in length, whereas the largest were several inches long. A handful of monarch butterflies were spotted fluttering over the fields during the rescue mission, providing hope that some of the rescued caterpillars will also reach adulthood.

  • Wing'd XXXII: Worth the Run

    | August 19, 2015

    Not often you see a dude rounding a hedgerow, coming down the trail at a lilting half-run, tripod hanging off one hand, but that's exactly what I saw last Tuesday. It was Josh Fecteau on the chase. He had news I hadn't heard. Wilson's Phalarope. In the marsh. From the dike.

  • Hope on Four Wings

    Wells Reserve Contributor | August 3, 2015

    Empty Chrysalis

    Sometime between this past Friday evening and Saturday morning, the copper beech tree chrysalis shell was abandoned, and a monarch took to the sky! This monarch will most likely continue the northward path of its parents — monarchs take 3-4 generations to reach their northernmost extent in the summer migration. Perhaps the offspring of this monarch will make the journey, over 2,000 miles, to the same branches of oyamel fir trees of Mexican mountains that their great-great grandparents overwintered on last year.

  • Group On

    | July 18, 2015


    The following was published in the Biddeford-Saco Journal Tribune Sunday edition, 7/19/2015.

    The Fuligo septica, or dog vomit slime mold, as it is picturesquely known, appeared in our front garden after a particularly humid day last week. The five-inch-wide, bright yellow splatter was impossible to miss on the black mulch. To the touch, it felt like scrambled eggs. My son declared it “ick.” I was delighted.

  • Emerald Jewel on Copper Beech

    Wells Reserve Contributor | July 16, 2015

    Monarch butterflyWe listen to the rain patter against the roof of leaves of the wise old copper beech tree as campers and I munch lunch. The vast canopy gives the impression of a complete ceiling of wood and leaves, but campers are able to look closely and discover something remarkably unique.

  • The Table Manners of Spittlebugs

    Wells Reserve Contributor | July 6, 2015

    Cuckoo Spit

    Who’s been spitting in the grass? Stick your fingers into the frothy mass and you’ll likely find a cool and moist tiny lime-colored creature with black eyes. This is the nymph (or immature form) of a spittlebug (Cercopidae).

  • More than meets the eye

    Wells Reserve Contributor | July 1, 2015

    lookI have volunteered at environmental centers for most of my life at this point and have heard just about everything when it comes to people's impressions of a site. Most of my background is in Florida, so I've heard "It's too hot"  more times than I can count. However, the most popular question by far is some variation on "Where is everything? We didn't see anything!"

    Now there are only two situations in which I will believe somebody who says they didn't see anything:

    1. They were blindfolded, or
    2. They went out in the middle of the night on the new moon without a light and there were no stars

    Otherwise, they probably saw lots of things — but just didn't notice them.  Here at the Wells Reserve, there is always something to discover, even if it isn't always apparent. We are well into wildflower season right now, which means there is plenty to see!

  • Wing'd XXX: Wednesday Walk Wrap

    | January 30, 2015

    European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris, licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia CommonsMy tight-timeframe Wednesday birding routine started in March and carried on through December. Over that span I missed 7 mid-week morning appointments with the birds, but still completed 33 checklists accounting for 61 species.

    Starlings were evident on 20 surveys, crows turned up on 19, and a handful of species appeared 11 times: robin, bluebird, a sparrow, and goldfinch.

  • First Flights

    Wells Reserve Contributor | July 29, 2014

    The campers match up the names and numbers of the butterfliesIt’s not every day you meet a butterfly named Sargent Buck. Similarly, it isn’t too common to come across a butterfly named Colonel Adams. However, if you should happen to visit the Wells Reserve in the next few days, you might just get the chance.

    Last Monday, Kate brought in 26 Painted Lady chrysalises, which were pinned to the top of a small netted enclosure and left to hatch in the Teaching Lab. Though not explicitly related to the theme, the butterflies became an integral and exciting part of last week’s Seashore Sleuths camp. That day, we ogled as the chrysalises shook in anticipation of their next transformation.

  • Wing'd XXIX: Rare Flycatcher is One-day Wonder

    | June 11, 2014 | Filed under: Observations

    A scissor-tailed flycatcher spends a few hours along the Muskie Trail.