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Western Maryland in late April. Last updated: 4/21/2008.

Above and below two: OK, that settles it. Everything is cute as a baby. Here are two downy Black Vulture young in P.G. Co., Maryland (4/23/2008). I had always wanted to find a Black Vulture nest, so when I saw two adults fly out the window of an abandoned house, I had a feeling I might be in luck. These two little Muppets were on the floor in the corner of a room - no nest to speak of - sitting quite peacefully. I snapped these strangely adorable photos and let their parents get back in there.

Below: A pair of Barn Swallows nesting along the Patuxent River, P.G. Co., Maryland (4/23/2008). Note the plumage differences between the male (front) and female (back).

Below three: This Spring Peeper convinced me that it was a Wood Frog due to unusual paleness, lack of red coloration, and lack of the diagnostic "X" on its back (it is there, just very faintly). Structure should have been the bigger clue, including overall shape and lack of dorsolateral ridges (as on leopard frogs). It's not the first time I've been tricked by an unusual Spring Peeper! Kudos to Ron Gutberlet and David Yeany for the good catch. Photographed in Green Ridge SF, Allegany Co., Maryland (4/19/2008).

Below: A Caspian Tern drops in on Rocky Gap SP in Allegany Co., Maryland (4/20/2008). The stormy weather in western Maryland on Sunday (4/20/08) caused a noteworthy fallout of terns, gulls, loons, and grebes.

Below: Red Columbine blooming in Green Ridge SF, Allegany Co., Maryland (4/19/2008).

Below: A Northern Red-bellied Snake (Storeria o. occipitomaculata) in Allegany Co., Maryland (4/19/2008). According to Harris (1975), "A spotty statewide distribution. Very common only on the Alleghany Plateau. A brown and a gray phase are known in Maryland. The gray phase predominating populations on the Alleghany Plateau and occassional melanistic individuals are also not uncommon."

Below: A wild Sedum species in Green Ridge SF, Allegany Co., Maryland (4/19/2008).

Below: Heavy rain grounded migrant Forster's Terns in both Garrett and Allegany Counties, Maryland (4/20/2008).

Below: Finding this beautiful Wood Turtle was a real highlight--I've wanted to see one since I was 6 years old endlessly flipping through my "Golden Guides" (Allegany Co., Maryland, 4/19/2008).

Below: A Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle (Cicindela patruela patruela) in Allegany Co., Maryland (4/19/2008).

Below: Birdfoot Violets (Viola pedata) on a moss-covered slope in Green Ridge SF, Allegany Co., Maryland (4/19/2008).

Below: A female Falcate Orangetip in Allegany Co., Maryland (4/19/2008).

Below: Cutleaf Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata or Dentaria laciniata) in Allegany Co., Maryland (4/13/2008).
The host plant for Falcate Orangetip.

Below: An Eastern Painted Turtle feeds on a cluster of salamander eggs in the C&O Canal (4/13/2008).

Below: Spring Beauties blooming in Green Ridge SF, Allegany Co., Maryland (4/19/2008).

Below: A recently emerged Uhler's Sundragon in Green Ridge SF, Allegany Co., Maryland (4/20/2008).

Below: A Northern Fence Lizard in Green Ridge SF, Allegany Co., Maryland (4/19/2008). It may be just this individual, but its appearance strikes me as different (including plainer) than fence lizards on the Eastern Shore. And why not?  The population in western Maryland has certainly been long isolated from their relatives across the Chesapeake Bay.

Below: A Northern Rough-winged Swallow at Rocky Gap SP, Allegany Co., Maryland (4/20/2008).

Below: A Phlox species that we found common in eastern Allegany Co., Maryland (4/19/2008).

Below: Another common wildflower along Allegany's roadsides, Early Saxifrage (Saxifraga virginiensis).

Below: Azure Bluets, also known as Common Bluets (Houstonia caerulea), in eastern Allegany Co., Maryland (4/19/2008).

Below two: Two Dreamy/Sleepy Duskywings in Allegany Co., Maryland (4/19/2008). This is one of the tougher butterfly IDs. The lack of glassy white forewing spots rules out Juvenal's, Horace's, and Wild Indigo, but separating Dreamy and Sleepy is a real challenge. The verdict is that the first individual is a female Sleepy Duskywing and that the second is probably a Dreamy Duskywing. Thanks to Dick Smith and Bob Ringler for helping me appreciate the difficulty of distinguishing the two species.

Below: Yellow Trout Lilies (Erythronium americanum) blooming along the C&O Canal, Allegany Co., Maryland (4/13/2008).

Below: Virginia Bluebells are especially common along the C&O Canal (4/13/2008).

Below: A distant documentation photo of an Eared Grebe at Rocky Gap SP, Allegany Co., Maryland. Seeing one in breeding plumage in Maryland was a rare treat.

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