Archive Page 2

Beewings

bee1One the Megachile leaf-cutter bees. bee2A nice look at the bee’s fore and hind wings. Hymenoptera, the “membrane-winged” insects (bees, wasps, and ants) and have four wings.

Dragonflies and butterflies would surely agree with the Hymenoptera that four wings are the best, but flies probably wouldn’t. Flies (and mosquitoes) are in the order Diptera (“two-winged”): they have vestigial wing-stubs called halteres which seem to act as stabilizers in flight. Beetles, whose forewings have turned into elytra, or wing-coverings, might disagree too…but then, they’re not known as great fliers, so maybe they wouldn’t.

One Singular Sensation

Danaus plexippusI have not seen a Monarch caterpillar in New York City since 2010. Now, I haven’t been actively surveying for them, but whenever I see milkweed, I do look closer. Danaus plexippusSix years is way, way too long a period to go without. As you probably know, Monarch have taken a severe beating from habitat destruction and climate change. This year is forecast to be another bad year for them. For the adult, butterfly, stage, I rarely see more than one or two a day in season.Danaus plexippusSo even seeing one is heartening. And yesterday I saw precisely one, munching steadily away.Danaus plexippus(These were my phone pictures; I have a few more on my camera which I’ll post in a couple of days.)monInternet comrade Erin out on the other end of this long island has been raising a herd of Monarchs this summer, documenting their stages from egg to chrysalis and beyond. Check out her IG for pictures still and moving.

Magic Hour Bird & Feathers

Some bird identification challenges: img_9816A.) Spotted at distance about 45 minutes before sunset in Prospect Park two weeks ago.featherB.) A single feather found in Green-Wood.feathersC.) Also in Green-Wood sometime later, with quite a few others of its kind. Somebody was plucking.

Crane

parlorRowhouses are damned dark! With windows only on the short ends (and skylights on the top floor), the late 19th century brownstones Park Slope, Brooklyn, make for a gloomy weekend. The one we were recently house-sitting in had some amazing original details, like the door knobs, but boy were they a challenge to photograph in the permanent twilight. The hardware for the front door and the parlor doors were a sort of Chinoiserie/Japonesque style; the great gates of the parlor doors had hinges illustrated on both sides. I was particularly taken by the crane on the handles.door

Question Mark

Polygonia interrogationisThere are two comma or anglewing butterflies of the Polygonia genus we see regularly here in NYC. You can tell them apart when their wings are spread, but it’s subtle.Polygonia interrogationisBut they often perch upright. So the namesake comma mark on the hindwing is the tell-all. Of course, this is hard to see in the field!Polygonia interrogationisThe fabled question mark. You won’t be the first grammarian to say it looks more like a semi-colon.

This example is perched distantly on some Duckweed, in case you are wondering about the curious pebbly-look of the background.

Frog Saturation

frogsA single frog can lay 20,000 eggs.img_9708The low murk of the Dell Water was full of hundreds, if not thousands, of frogs on a recent visit.img_9710Boy, are they jumpy! They know you’re coming before you know they’re there. Until you can’t ignore all the plops taking to the water. It was a little H.P. Lovecraftian, if you know what I mean.frogs1So what are these? Bullfrogs? No dorsal ridge…

Sunset Park Elm

UlmusOur mighty elm is looking a little worn-out after a long hot summer of chlorophyll. Man, baby carriage, trash can underneath for scale.

There’s just a touch of color in a few leaves yet. Here’s the whole series of portraits of this tree.

UlmusThe cathedral branching.


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