Field and Swamp: Animals and Their Habitats

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Sandy Creek Park, Durham, NC

Sandy Creek Park is a small but very interesting natural area near a major highway exit.  Although most of the trail is along Sandy Creek, the trail leading from the far end of the parking lot to the main trail is the best spot to view insects: on one side is a pond also bordered by a grassy field.  I have seen a Chinese Mantis, a Dion Skipper and Red-necked Cone Borers in that area.  This pond borders a much larger lake in which are often seen large wading birds such as Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets. The main trail is also a good place to see dozens of Boxelder Bugs mating in the early spring.  Horsetails abound on the creek side of the trail. 

See the live map of the park and environs at the bottom of the page.  The "A" locator isn't especially helpful on this map; you need to scroll lower to see the entrance to the park.


Red-spotted Purple Shrub White Smartweed (Persicaria attenuata) Spotted Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) Straw-colored Flatsedge (Cyperus strigosus)

Mystery wildflower Mystery wildflower American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) Carolina Anole Asiatic Dayflower (Commelina communis)


Mystery aster Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum) Common Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) Fungi Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens ssp. mexicana)

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) Hog Peanut flowers (Amphicarpaea bracteata) Other Hog Peanut flowers Marsh Fleabane (Pluchea odorata) Pale Smartweed (Persicaria lapathifolia)

Pearl Crescent Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata) Another Pickerelweed Powdered Alligator Flag (Thalia dealbata)  


Syrphid fly (Toxomerus genus) Green Six-spotted Tiger Beetle Katydid nymph Lesser Celandine Male midge


Pennsylvania Bittercress (maybe) Periwinkle interior Spring Beauty Globular springtail on Lesser Celandine Branch of small bush


Yellow Fumewort        


Male Sachem Horse fly Pennsylvania Leatherwing Least Skipper Mystery wildflower

Male Widow Skimmer Virgin's Bower Virgin's Bower Female Horace's Duskywing  


Dion Skipper on Purple Coneflower Red-necked Cone Borers (Agrilus ruficollis): One female, two males, mating going on... Moth Mullein Female/immature Widow Skimmer  

Robber fly (Laphria divisor)        


American Lady Wolf spider, which walked easily on the surface of this puddle over to land Mallard family Bumble flower beetle Cuckoo bee (Nomada genus)

Orange Sulphur on Common Dandelion (note separate flower parts) Seven-spotted Ladybug Beetle, attempting to hide Forget-me-nots Canada Goose  


Green Six-spotted Beetle Large Bee Fly on spring Beauty flower Lesser Celandines Mysterious bushes Bee (Andrena genus)

Tufted Titmouse Rue Anemone Boxelder Bug seeming to hide under what look like Sycamore seeds.  Before, it scurried furiously, then somehow wound up in this position almost instantly. Forget-Me-Nots  


This was an unusually warm day, with highs in the mid-60s.  Dozens of adult Boxelder Bugs apparently overwintering inside the greenway sewer lines came out.  Small spiders were all out and about.

Boxelder Bug, beside trail Boxelder Bugs on top of manhole cover.  One seems to be going inside. View of the same Boxelder Bugs from above Probably Purple Deadnettle growing in crack of manhole cover  

Giant Wolf Spider Turtle Yellow-rumped Warbler  


Chinese Mantis Checkered skipper (dorsal view).  They can look golden in the right light. Checkered skipper (lateral view, ventral view of wings).  Gemmed Satyr  

Mating Pearl Crescents, which were doing a lot of flying Thread-waisted wasp (Eremnophila aureonotata).  A common wasp without a common name. Spider wasp (Auplopus mellipes mellipes) looking for nest entrance in sewer manhole. Spider wasp entering sewer manhole hole. Argiope aurantia (big photo is oriented correctly!)


Moss, with sporophytes.  Seen near the lake. Horsetail Winged Elm flowers and fruit Field Pansy (Viola bicolor) Green Six-spotted Tiger Beetle  

Common Vetch Common Wood-Sorrel Common Blue Violets Forget-me-nots (view from above)  


American Toads mating Periwinkle Mysterious tracks on the creek bed Horsetails  


Green Six-spotted Tiger Beetle, actually with 10 spots Prunus genus flowers.  Wolf spider Common Blue Violet  

Mating Boxelder Bugs, two of dozens, maybe hundreds, where the trail first came besides Sandy Creek. Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)      

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