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July 2020

Monday Morning Mystery Answered for Real!

IMG_1435On Monday, I asked:

Near a stream by the Red Trail at the High Mountain Park Preserve, I saw several rocks with small holes in them.

Anyone know what's going on?

William Paterson University Geology Professor Martin Becker writes:

The rock does not appear to be a vesicular or amygdaloidal basalt.

It is also more rounded and not angular as one would expect from the local Preakness Basalt Formation.

The surface color is not a good match either for weathered basalt.  

I think it is a glacial erratic and piece of the Oriskany Sandstone of New York State and what you are looking at are one of two things:

a) non-quartz minerals that have chemically and physically eroded away leaving behind the “holes”

b) remains of ichnofossils in the form of “holes” or “tubes.”  

Prof. Becker asked me to do a test on the rock. Will try to do so...  (Thanks, Prof. Becker!)

Caterpillar I.D. Needed

Saw this guy on the way into downtown Allendale today. Didn't see anything like when I scanned a  few caterpillar sites.

I don't know why I think it might be a hornworm caterpillar, but... iNaturalist wasn't helpful, but I am still learning how to use it...

Can you I.D. it?  (Thanks!)

What a House Wren's Nest Looks Like

This has been a bumper year for nesting House Wren in the Celery Farm. Two nest boxes have yielded young, and the two nest boxes used earlier this year by Tree Swallows now appear to be occupied by House Wrens (above).

House Wrens successfully nested in my backyard as well (below), and I photographed the interior of the box after the babies fledged (the entry hole is on the left, and the birds nest in a small indentation in the back of the box.