Flying between these absurdly large flowers of hybrid rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos), this bumblebee was practically glowing yellow from all the pollen.But note how the wings remain mostly clean. Bees are hairy, the hairs statically charged to help pollen stick to them. Of course, you wouldn’t want your wings to be laden with pollen or anything else when you fly.
Posts Tagged 'plants'
Tags: butterflies, insects, invertebrates, plants
As you probably know, we have done quite a number on this spectacular species, through deforestation in Mexico, reducing its food crops further north in the U.S., and poisoning its habitat everywhere; such blows make them even more susceptible to external pressures, like severe weather, in particular the drought in Texas (“external” if you don’t count our carbon-dirty hands in disrupting traditional weather patterns through global warming).
Here are some graphs of the shocking declines and here’s an interview with a biologist whose entire professional career has been about them disappearing. There’s nothing personal, of course, in this drive to extinguish one more species; we’ve done it to the whole planet, and even ourselves.
Can you do anything to keep this remarkable animal, which has a multi-generational, continent-spanning migration, around for your grandchildren? You can plant milkweed, stop the wide-spread poisoning of the environment through herbicides and pesticides, and drive less.. say what? The field-to-field cropping of corn to meet the ethanol demand means that “weedy” edges have been plowed under. We must all change our lives.
Tags: Brooklyn, damselflies, dragonflies, fish, plants
I was enjoying the life above the Duckweed (Lemnaceae) recently, marveling that I’ve never seen so many Eastern Amberwings (Perithemis tenera).There were also a few Blue Dashers (Pachydiplax longipennis), making more Blue Dashers.A damselfly of unknown provenance was depositing eggs.
And then, along the edge of the lake, some disturbance from below. There was an agitated simmering, not quite bubbling. I wondered what it might be. Then, rising, a mass of little black fish, tightly clumped together at the surface, swarming over each other, some half out of the water momentarily. They were feasting on something. The individual fish visible on the edges of this mass had serious whiskers, barbels, making me think of some kind of catfish. What the hell, I took the plunge.I’m taking a semi-wild guess that these are Black Bullheads (Ameiurus melas); what do you think?The barbels are flush to the sides here.As an added benefit of my open-handed catch and release, the underside of the Duckweed, some of the smallest flowering plants anywhere, is revealed as purple.
I’ve eaten a lot of rhubarb in my time, usually with strawberries. I’ve never seen it gone to seed, though, before now. Rheum rhabarbarum.In the same community garden, Red Currants! Ribes rubrum.Elsewhere in the borough, High-bush Blueberry, almost ripe! Unfortunately, gleaners usually pick these too soon, cheating themselves (and me!). Vaccinium corymbosum.
Tags: Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge Park, flowers, plants
Tags: Brooklyn, galls, insects, plants
Tags: flowers, fungus, Maine, mushrooms, plants
A few more from Maine. Here’s Low-bush Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) in flower. I’m mad for those little Maine blueberries, which I get frozen and eat all winter.Starflower (Trientalis borealis).Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), a wildflower relation of Dogwood.Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) needs to be revealed. Hiding its light under a bushel. This is a plant I’ve never run across locally, and more is the pity.A lichen? Red-belted or banded polyphore (Fomitopsis pinicola).A fine example of witch’s broom, whereby something (fungi, insects, mites, nematodes, viruses, etc. are all possibilities) causes the plant to grow wildly thusly. They are variations on the principal of the gall: another life form hijacking the plant’s own growth systems. In this case, the intruding element interferes with the hormone that limits bud growth, and the tree goes wild.
Ball moss (Tillandsia recurvata) isn’t actually a moss; it’s a flowering plant. This particular example was found on the ground after it had flowered. This plant is in the same genus as the famous dripping Spanish Moss (and both are in the same family as the pineapple). These not-mosses are epiphytes, aerial plants that attach to, but do not parasitize, trees — particularly liveoaks (Quercus virginiana and Q. fusiformis) — and even some fences and power lines.I was really intrigued by these. Those photographed in hand were found on the ground (I try to be as non-interventionist as possible), presumably snapped off in the wind. The plant likes dead wood best of all. I wonder how long they survive after hitting the ground?Here’s one above.
Tags: birding, birds, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge Park, plants
Yesterday, in Brooklyn Bridge Park:A lone female Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator).As a Man of Hair, I do appreciate the random crest feathers.Unexpectedly, a Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena). I last ran into one in February. The red of the neck, breeding plumage, looks like it is just starting to come in. The bird was spending more time underwater than afloat.Note the rather startling red-orange mouth of this Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis), cleaning up after a human’s mess. The gull’s thick neck is a handy storage system for gulped food; the other half of the baguette’s already in there. Female Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) hunkered down, but definitely alert to my presence. Male nearby. Nesting soon? This spot’s probably too exposed, but the species does nest in the park. A White-thoated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) kicking up lunch.And blooms! Pussy Willow (Salix discolor), that early bud that…gets the worm of spring.