Appropriation 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. I picked up a leaf and gently tapped the other end of the webbing, which brought her out alert and curious. About 1.25″ long.
Posts Tagged 'Prospect Park'
Tags: Brooklyn, Prospect Park, spiders
Tags: birding, birds, Brooklyn, dragonflies, insects, invertebrates, Prospect Park
Insect-summer is over. But last week I was in Prospect Park and saw masses of dragonflies over the Butterfly Meadow, in a patch of the Nethermead, and then in two clusters along the Long Meadow. They all seemed to be Common Green Darners, the large migrating species. And they were hunting on the wing. Gnats, for want of a better description, filled the air.
Tags: birds, Brooklyn, insects, mammals, Prospect Park
A large clump of leaves in the branches of a tree is often mistaken for a bird nest. It’s actually a drey, or squirrel nest. More specifically, it’s a summer nest. Winter will find them squirreled away in warmer, sturdier spots, like your attic.
This Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula), helping to perpetuate the impression that this is a bird’s nest, was rooting around in the leaves, which had no doubt attracted various invertebrates over the months.
My Shorter OED and Webster’s 3rd both throw up their hands on the origins of “drey,” which may also be spelled “dray.” The OED has it going back to the early 17th century. Also, it should be noted that, given English’s often multipurpose flexibility, there are no other definitions for the word.
Update: I am in error. See comments. THere is another definition for dray.
Tags: Brooklyn, Green-Wood, Prospect Park
Tags: Brooklyn, Prospect Park, trees
There is a single old Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus flava) on the edge of the Long Meadow. I walked by on Tuesday, wondering if there might be any of the big seeds, or buckeyes, still around, or yet to fall. Well, I hit the jackpot. There were many and they had just fallen, so they were plump and gorgeously colored. They’ll darken, fade, and shrivel soon enough, so enjoy them now.
Yellow Buckeyes are native to southern Appalachia. We don’t have to many up here; they don’t even rate on entry in New York City Trees. Much more common are the Common Horsechestnut (A. hippocastanum), a native of Eurasia, and the Red Horsechestnut, a hybrid between the Horsechestnut and the Red Buckeye.
While the seeds — buckeyes, conkers — look very similar, the larger Yellow Buckeyes have fleshy, smooth pods that tend to decay quickly, while Horsechestnut pods are spiky and dry to hard little cases. The buck’s eyes?
Tags: dragonflies, Green-Wood, insects, invertebrates, Prospect Park
The red meadowhawk dragonflies are difficult to identify in the field, since several members of the genus Sympetrum look rather similar.But I figured these out because of the legs. These are Autumn Meadowhawks (Sympetrum vicinum), in some sources called Yellow-legged; other meadowhawks have black legs. They’re small: 1.3″ long. Their colors, especially the bright males, rival fall’s leaves.“Typically the last species on the wing northern climes,” says the Stokes guide, although it was a balmy 80 when I ran into them in Green-Wood this weekend.