Flying Food

Birds were out in force on Saturday morning in Green-Wood when Eastern Subterranean Termites started “hatching out.” The winged reproductives pour out of their colonies and take to the air. They’re not the best of fliers, and many never even get into the air.

Half an hour after I took a picture of this stump swarming with the termites, and two American Robins shoveling them in, they were all gone.

This was another nearby stump. This male House Sparrow is probably taking this mouthful back to the nest.

Kingbirds were in the middle distance. Higher still were Chimney Swifts and swallows, including some Northern Rough-winged (here taking a break).

New Insects (And a Spider)

Looking very like a potter wasp, this is a female Williston’s Wasp Fly (Sphiximorpha willistoni). An excellent mimic.
Looking rather fly-like with those yes, this is actually a Liris argentatus square-headed wasp.
Habronattus coecatus, evidently. A jumping spider.
Rufous-backed Cellophane Bees (Colletes thoracicus) have emerged. This isn’t a new species to me, as I found this very active slope last year. They build individual nests, but aggregate them together.
And this is a Nomada genus bee that parasitizes the nest of other bees. Rather smaller than the cellophanes, they’re flying around the same nesting ground.

Still On The Edge

The female House Sparrow foraged along the edge of the Sylvan Water. Looks like she got a newly emergent damselfly. She took a look at the big Snapping Turtle and vice-versa.

There are at least four Common Snappers in Green-Wood’s largest water body. This one is third-largest, the shell being about 18″ long. The creature’s neck is perhaps twice as thick as my wrist.

More Watery Edges

At Water’s Edge

(May 2nd: first dragonfly sighting of the year! Three species, and not a one since as the temps stayed below 70F.)

Not directly relevant, but I found this article on global shipping’s monstrosity fascinating.


Rufous-backed Cellophane Bee, I think, with Western Honey Bee.
Not sure…
Honey Bee gobbling pollen.

This, on species solidarity, and the nature of the word “nature,” could be longer…

Raptor Wednesday

Well, energy makes the world go ’round.

The transmutation of duckling into hawk… this mature Red-tailed Hawk made two passes over the edge of the Sylvan Water recently, to the accompaniment of loud duck squawking. The second pass was successful.

This was the other Red-tailed that showed up soon afterwards. No duckling on the menu for this one, at least while I was around. On Tuesday, I’d counted fourteen ducklings on Sylvan with a female Mallard. There were none after this incident on Thursday. On Wednesday, Green-Wood staff and an animal rescuer got a bunch of ducklings out of a storm drain and released them in Dell Water.

Here’s one of them. It’s tough out there for ducklings.

Somewhat Thematic Color Scheme

Not an atypical look at a Brown Trasher.

Luckily, this bird was showing itself nicely just a few moments before. And since I had to backtrack, I came upon two of them in the same spot, one with what certainly looked like nesting material in bill.

Wood Thrushes are out and about, too.

Ovenbird. The wiping of the bill, both sides snicker-snack, after a gooey tidbit is one of my favorite bird behaviors.

Saddened to hear of the passing of John Beetham, known in the social media world as Dendroica or John B. An indefatigable blogger, iNaturalist contributor, and Twitter person, he’s just taken part in the World Series of Birding on Saturday. I’d never met him, but hoped to do so someday in New Jersey.

Mammal Monday

A front-end loader stopped so this one could cross the road.

Very fresh.

Two more at another nest site.


Horned Oak Gall Wasp on pin oak.
Wooly Catkin Gall Wasp on scarlet oak.
Macrodiplosis majalis on pin oak. This one is a midge, not a gall wasp.

This is the work Contarinia racemi, a midge that forces these swellings on black cherry racemes. You really have to immerse yourself in the foliage this time of year.

Petiole gall on eastern cottonwood. Perhaps an aphid this time.
Elm Sack Gall Aphid, I think, on elm.

There are a lot of these out there. So far I’ve found some 9 species of gall mites; 20 species of gall midges, and 33 species of gall wasps in Brooklyn, almost all in Green-Wood Cemetery.

Not counting this one, on red oak saplings. Folks on iNaturalist think it may be un-described.
Same with this one, unknown on catkins of willow oak.

The collection plate…


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