Archive for the 'Fieldnotes' Category

Black Swallowtail

Papilio polyxenes Papilio polyxenes

Twilight’s Last Gleaming Wood Ducks

sunset1We’ve been having some magnificent sunsets lately. This was last night, from the Nethermead. Aix sponsaWhen I crossed over Payne Hill, I found a mess of Wood Ducks still at the far end of the Upper Pool.

I went hoping for a repeat of the previous night’s phenomenon, which I heard about from two witnesses: masses of dragonflies at sunset. I saw one Common Green Darner, so I guess I missed the migratory flight. There was a lone Common Nighthawk as consolation, though, rollicking over the Long Meadow.

Winged Ones

antsHymenoptera, the insect order that includes the wasps, bees, and ants, are named after their “membrane wings.” But ants don’t have wings, at least not in the colony, where such appendages would get in the way. The reproductives, males and virgin queens, however, do have wings. The queens break their wings off after mating flights and start new colonies. The males, or drones, die off after their work is done. Last week, a subtle glittering in the grass caught my eye. It was this colony all a-flutter.

Coincidental Juxtaposition

A flash of yellow in a flock of House Sparrows caught my eye in the Nethermead. The bird quickly flew back down to the ground from its temporary perch. Melopsittacus undulatus, no? Buteo jamaicensisThe same day I saw four Red-tailed hawks kettling above the Lake. Later, one flew low over the Nethermead. And then later still, another flew across the Long Meadow and landed on this fence. Could have been six different birds, since hawks are moving now.

Webs

web1A complex of webs connected to a seven-foot-long horizontal piece of spidersilk. web2Remarkable. A view from the side of the complex, showing another web, making for one large and three satellite webs.web3The only spider in evidence was sucking on dinner.

Chestnuts

Castanea dentataAmerican Chestnuts (Castanea dentata). Be careful handling these burrs, or pods: the spines are v. sharp! Castanea dentataMost of the nuts produced by these young trees are scrawny, undeveloped things, quite fibrous inside, but they still seem to disappear into the maws of the squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis).Sciurus carolinensisThis one was vocally displeased with my poaching of the two plumpest nuts.

Dusky

IMG_7811A duskywing, perhaps Horace’s (Erynnis horatius), the other option being Juvenal’s (E. juvenalis). All very classical, no? The similar species overlap around here, with Juvenal’s the more northerly and Horace’s the more southerly.


Share

Bookmark and Share

Join 300 other followers

Twitter

Nature Blog Network

Archives


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 300 other followers