The Business End

Eastern Cicada-killer Wasps (Sphecius speciosus) mating.The larger female is holding onto the leaf, the smaller male dangling.
Obviously a strong bond.
A different kind of wasp entirely, but note that back end…
This is a Five-banded Thynnid Wasp (Myzinum quinquecinctum). But, because this is a male, this isn’t a stinger. Stingers in the Hymenoptera are modified ovipositors: only females can sting. On the male, this is described as a pseudostinger.

More Green Heron

Some stretching and flexing. Though these wings look wimpy, these fledglings can fly.
A bit of heron tongue…

They’re Here

Spotted Lanternflies were first reported in the U.S. in Berks Co., PA, in 2014. They have since spread. Last year, there were a few sightings in Brooklyn, the westernmost part of Long Island. I saw my first on Monday near the entrance to Bush Terminal Park.

Lycorma delicatula is a particularly large planthopper. Although associated with ailanthus, it will feed on at least 70 species, including fruits, hops, grapes, maples, and walnuts. It’s being treated as a serious threat to agricultural and forest health. Aggregations of them also make an awful mess because of the amount of honeydew they expel.

You can see the long tube-like mouthpart in this picture. I saw some of the early instar nymphs in Princeton NJ in May, and I was surprised how much larger the adult form is, a solid inch long and about half that wide. This PDF from the NYS DEC shows the instars and compares them with “look-a-likes” that don’t look really look like it. (But I guess for non-bug people….)

They’re definitely striking. I only saw this one. It was on an ailanthus sapling growing along a weedy fence. Sightings should be reported to the DEC. Egg masses should be destroyed by squashing them firmly with something like a credit card. For the adults, use what you can. A boot in this case.

Very Green

Sweet baby Butorides virescens!

I tried to get all three of these fledgling Green Herons to pose together, but you’ve heard of herding cats? Imagine trying to herd fresh herons.

The Joint Was Jumping

With lots of these Draeculacephala antica sharpshooters.
And smaller numbers of meadow katydids. Then they mowed the area. Damn it!
Elsewhere: the most common grasshopper species I see: Differentia. This is a late nymph stage.
Not a great photo, but then this is rarely seen: Jumping Bush-cricket.
Pine-tree Spur-throat. This was a new species for me.

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Stab, Flip, Swallow

With some greens…

Cute Scute

A piece of turtle carapace found along the edge of Valley Water.
This is keratin, the same material found in nails/claws, hooves, hair, horns. In turtles, these horny plates cover the bone of the shell.
Here’s a Painted Turtle with some exfoliation of the scutes or plates visible. My sample above looks too big for this Painted, the only one I’ve seen Valley Water, so it probably came from a Red-eared Slider.

Odonata Update

It’s rare to run into a new Odonata species in my patch. The other day, though, I noticed a large dragonfly cruising along the edges of Sylvan Water. That red abdomen was so distinctive. This turned out to be a male Comet Darner (Anax longipes).

A month ago, I managed to capture an Epitheca genus baskettail, also at Sylvan. Can’t quite take it to species level with my photos, though. Like the Comet, this one did not stop moving.

Raptor Wednesday

Circling Red-tailed Hawk.
While a Green Heron keeps an eye on it.
A few minutes later, probably the same Red-tailed.
Being read the Riot Act by a pair of Northern Mockingbirds.
Nearly an hour later, I heard some American Robins sounding the alarm and looked up into a black oak. But the culprit was on the ground.
With a Gray Squirrel for lunch.
This russety throat made me think this was a juvenile bird, but it had the red tail feathers of an adult after all.
An hour and a half after my first encounter with the first Red-tail, I was back in that area. The hawk had moved to a nearby tree, and so had one of the Mockingbirds.

Sparrow Ice-cream


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