Archive for the 'Fieldnotes' Category

BFH Nest Down

nestBald-faced hornets (Dolichovespula maculata) have been in the news recently. There seem to be a lot of their nests in Brooklyn: a bumper crop or just people noticing more of them? While some seem to think they are the Ebola of wasps, the wasps won’t bug you if you don’t bug them, or their nest. This magnificent specimen of wasp-paper was on the ground in Prospect. This year’s wasps are mostly done, except for mated queens, who stash themselves for the winter elsewhere.

Tail-less

Turdus migratoriusThis Am. Robin has molted away its whole tail. Don’t worry: new tail feathers will emerge, and meanwhile, flight, including in the sense of escape, is still possible. The silhouette is now a bit reminiscent of a woodpecker’s.

The forest for the trees

TaurusTreesA hike in the fall woods is always a sensual and philosophical experience.KatydidI was in a yellow light under oaks and beeches in an overcast sky, later speared through by shafts of sunlight.Yes, both the woods and I were speared. My eyes kept shifting from the whole to the parts. Walking over even relatively smooth trails still requires at least one eye on the path for rocks and roots and unexpected katydids. You can just see one of the animal’s tympana, or ears, on the top foreleg, just under the joint, here.Shroom1And of course you must stop, and catch your breath, which has run away from you, and turn around. I mean all the way around.Shroom2This Chicken-of-the-Woods, with its cascade of yellow and orange petticoats, wouldn’t have been noticed otherwise.

Cepaea nemoralis

Cepaea nemoralisSlicking up the back door. Faster than you think.

Step into my funnel

funnel1Appropriation of the unnatural: this fence post has been taken over by what I think is a sheet-web building grass spider of the genus Agelenopsis. Note the funnel descending into the post. That’s where she hangs out. funnel2I picked up a leaf and gently tapped the other end of the webbing, which brought her out alert and curious. About 1.25″ long.

In the Hudson Highlands

panoramaOn the flank of Mt. Taurus above Cold Spring, NY, yesterday. (Click on this image to view a larger version.)

Leaf Color Chat

leaves1What are the leaves saying?leaves2These colors maybe signaling something. Several somethings, in fact. leaves3I’ll be talking about our friends the leaves tomorrow night at OutdoorFest’s Mappy Hour, 7-9, at the brand new Threes Brewing Co. in Gowanus. So new that it hasn’t opened it; this is a preview event. See here for more details.sumacLeaves, beer, and then maps. A good trio.

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