Archive for the 'Fieldnotes' Category

Wasps and Caterpillars

This Euodynerus hidalgo wasp was digging into this old rudbeckia (or maybe it’s a coreopsis).
For almost nine minutes.
This European Tube Wasp (Ancistrocerus gazella) seemed interested.
Caterpillar! From deep inside the flower. I think it’s Homoeosoma genus.
The Tube Wasp did not steal this prize.
The wasp flew her prey off to her nest, where it will feed her young.

Several minutes earlier, in the same patch, an earlier extraction of a caterpillar. Could be the same female wasp. I don’t know how many caterpillars she needs to provision her nest, but up to twenty get stuffed into a Tube Wasp’s.
Same patch, same time period: caterpillar crawling up flower stem and sliding into what seemed like a pre-existing hole in the flower. A future moth…or wasp food?

Raptor Wednesday

On Sunday morning, there were five American Kestrels on and off the solar building, which is about one-third of the way down the block from here. Two males, three females. In this pic, there’s a male on the left. There are two females on the chimney, and another female on the far right pipe.
On Monday morning, there were an astonishing five females!
Five plus one male. Are all these females siblings? I would expect the mother to be hunting like mad and not perched with her chidden.

One of the female fledglings on our roof.

I wonder what they think about the fireworks? Saturday night was the worse night yet, launched from nearby in the park and from right across the street, an intermittent barrage from 10pm until 3:30am. Bursts could be seen through closed eyes.

Squash Vine Borer Moth

Wow! Nectaring on common milkweed, this moth is just a little bigger than a Western Honeybee.
Have you ever seen one? I never had until Friday.
You might know them from your zucchinis. The caterpillars of Melitta curcurbitae love to eat summer and winter squashes, but if this is your reward, perhaps a little homage is in order?

Note the clear hind wings. There are several other clearwing borers in the family Sesiidae. They’re diurnal bee/wasp mimics.

Also found flying during the day are the two clearwing sphinx moths in the family Sphingidae: Hummingbird Clearwing and the Snowberry Clearwing.


With inner eyelid close, the eyes of this young Raven look blue.
In addition to being harried by a Northern Mockingbird, the Raven was also hassled by this male Baltimore Oriole, who let up a non-stop calling.
When the Raven finally flew away, the Oriole followed.

And was joined by a female Oriole.
They both saw the Raven out of the cemetery.


Tampon in the crappachino? On police lies and the media that broadcasts them.


Last year’s fruit, found like this, split right in half, with one of this year’s in the background.
The leaves were glistening in the hot sun, sticky with honeydew. Aphids were at work.
Assuming these are Tuliptree Aphids (Illinoia liriodendri).
Some kind of leaf-spotting fungus

And turn a leaf over. Hugging the center: a tree cricket nymph of the genus Oecanthus!

Another Very Special Edition of Raptor Wednesday

I was worried. It’s late June. Shouldn’t I have seen these fledglings sooner? In truth, they don’t look like they came out of the nest yesterday. I suspect they’ve been out and around for a few days now.
She scrunches down before lift-off.

There was actually a young male up there, too. I’d heard somebody behind the bulkhead, but it wasn’t until the female flew that I found the source of the vocalizations.
So, at least two successful fledglings! Keeping an eye out for more.

Raptor Wednesday

Two young Red-tailed hawks of the class of 2020 were screaming their heads off the other day in Green-Wood. Because they were so close to the big pine nest, I presume that’s where they came from.
Opposite corners here. As far as I understand it, the young raptors were demanding meat.
One of the parent birds was nearby, berated by Mockingbirds and Jays. Interestingly, the smaller birds did not go after the mewling fledglings even though they were more out in the open.

A Very Small Jelly Donut?

Spotted this small object on a swamp white oak leaf yesterday.
With help from iNaturalist and Tracks and Signs of Insects, I learned that it’s an egg of a Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus).
You may recall that I found a half dozen of the large cocoons of this species over the winter. I’ve seen several reports of adult moths being spotted around Brooklyn on iNaturalist, although I haven’t seen any myself. But they’re obviously finding each other…

Good to know another generation has a chance.

Mammal Monday

Hanging from a tree by the back legs.

Discovery Week V

I could barely see, and barely photograph, this one on the side of a tree. I first thought it was some kind of moth.
The very long antennae forms, mostly in shade, are rather un-mothlike, though.
Turns out this is a giant casemaker caddisfly, possibly in the species Banksiola. The aquatic larvae stage given them their general name; they make protective cases of silk, plant material, even tiny bits of gravel.


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