Spider diversity is underrated. I have 130 spider observations on iNaturalist, and 97 of them are in need of identification. Only twenty-one are research grade, meaning at least two people agree on the species level ID. (The difficulty in photographing them doesn’t help.)

Charismatic Galls

Hedgehog Gall Wasps (Acraspis erinacei) on white oak.

Bluegill Sashimi

Heron tongue and fish tail glimpsed here.
Six minutes between spearfishing forays. Two similar-sized fish, Bluegills I think, flopped down the gullet.
Second one came up with a long root or branch that wasn’t in the way for long.
A combination of tongue and shaking dislodges the prey from the lower bill?
I was so concentrating on photographing the Green Heron that I didn’t notice the Great White coming along the other side.

Twig Hunting

The Green Heron really wanted this curved twig. It could not break it off.

Meanwhile. Literally, at the same time, another Green Heron was further up in the woods. This one was successful, snapping off a twig and then flying it back to the nest site. The first heron flew back as well, but without a twig. The birds are nest-building. As with Red-tailed Hawks, they seem to want fresh twigs, not ones already on the ground, which, I assume, could be too wet and/or carrying unwanted lifeforms.

“Green Heron” sure is a misnomer. The specific epithet, virescens, means becoming green. “Possibly it is losing its green, of which the bird has very little,” snarks Choate. Anyway, they’re nesting nearby and their hunting and gathering show is great.

Brood X: A Spectacular Spectacle

The abdomen is mostly hollow.

Brood X is nearing the end of its absolute reign upon the regions graced with it. The tiny larvae are probably already dropping out of their twig nests and burrowing into the earth. They will emerge in 2038. What will be the state of the planet then?

2024 is the next periodical cicada year: the Great Southern Brood (Brood XIX; 13-year cicadas) will emerge across fifteen southern states. Brood XIII also emerges in 2024, in IA, IL,IN, and WI. Here’s a schedule.

Passing the plate for blog-support.


On the pale bark of a big white oak…
…a Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus).

First of these I’ve seen. Eastern Red Bats are more typical here in Brooklyn. Several other species of bat have been identified by their distinctive sounds as they fly over Green-Wood.


The ribbon marks a nest. Both parents were present recently.
The male seemed to have a bit of food for the nestlings.

Baltimore Orioles have nested in this linden tree for at least two previous breeding seasons. Do they ever recycle their old nests? Or the materials contained in them? There’s a lot of human-made material incorporated in their woven bag nests, including ribbon (many bunches of flowers in a cemetery…) and string. This stuff doesn’t break down as easily as the more traditional nesting material of grasses and plant fibers.

New Wasp

Another Vespula ground yellowjacket species in the ‘hood! Southern Yellowjacket, Vespula squamosa. This is a queen. She was probably looking for a nice hole at the base of this old cherry to start a nest. This is the first report for this species in Brooklyn on iNaturalist; they’re recorded on Staten Island, Manhattan, and further out on Long Island. That makes five Vespula species I’ve seen here in the borough.

Raptor Wednesday

Red-tailed Hawks can’t fly in the vicinity of Green-Wood’s Sylvan Water without Common Grackles going after them. The Grackles are nesting and want you to know about it.
Passing Osprey don’t get the same treatment.
Peregrine on the car service antenna.
Female Kestrel on same at another time.

Recent Pollination Events



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