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Great Blue at Low Tide

Ari Berman puts it well concerning the corporate-tool Krysten Sinema’s announcement that she’ll continue supporting the filibuster: “Sinema, by refusing to support changes to the filibuster, is now giving the anti-democratic party veto power over protecting democracy. She is saying it would be divisive and partisan to respond to a divisive and partisan effort to weaken democracy.” Even as Republicans attack voting rights in her home state of Arizona.

Yesterday was a very bad day for our future.

SLF Egg Masses

Last Sunday, I noted that I’d only come across one batch of Spotted Lanternfly eggs so far. That morning I returned to Bush Terminal Park and hit the jackpot, such as it is.

The Cottonwood thicket beyond the fencing is evidently well-stocked with the egg masses. I spotted fourteen from the path. I could reach about half of these with a stick taken from a pile of trimmings.

The vertical lines of eggs are coated with a putty or mortar-like substance. This can wear away through the winter. It’s best to scrape and squash the whole mess.

Raptor Wednesday

The scene.
On the left, on the fire-escape: an adult Coopers Hawk..
On the right, on the chimney pot: a female American Kestrel. Everything here belongs to her, get it?
Swoop after swoop, banking and returning to swoop, the Kestrel dived at the Coopers.
The Coopers did not budge.

Not Nearly A Hundred Legs

This is, I think, a Brown Centipede Lithobius forficatus, an introduced species.
Very impressive creature. The front legs contain venom that helps them take down their prey, like slugs, worms, larval insects, etc., in short, other things found under rocks and bark.


A glimpse of the tongue of this male Down Woodpecker grabbing something from inside the beech limb he was pounding away at. Will this branch be undermined by this work?
Here’s a rather larger tree limb that came down with a woodpecker hole almost perfectly intact. This hole is about 9cm across.


For all the Spotted Lanternflies seen in the city this year, I have hardly seen any of their egg masses. Here’s one I did find, in the same place I saw some last year, Bush Terminal Park. These were terminated.
I think these are the eggs of Lymantria dispar, formerly known as Gypsy Moth and now the Skull-capped Tussock.
A small, woven cup nest in an oak. Some suggestion that it may have been a Warbling Vireo nest. Note the incorporation of ribbon: Baltimore Orioles also use these, salvaged from the many bouquets left in the cemetery.
Yew berries (well, cone with aril) in a puddle. Taxus is poisonous to many mammals, including us. Were these regurgitated? I mean, they don’t look like they went through the (raccoon? groundhog? skunk?).
Waste not, want not…
Let’s face it, most excreta is pretty grim. I’ve saved you from a lot of scat pictures over the years. But this little bit is intriguing.
Somebody ate somebody here.

The donation button.

A Snail’s Pace

The air temperature was below freezing, but the pond was still liquid as this small snail made its way over the algal rock. This blue is amazing.

Lichen Camo

A bit of lichen?
Yes, attached to the back of this green lacewing larva. You can tell because the lichen is 1) moving, and 2) much paler than the living lichen on the tree.
Top and underside view of this one, too. These are quite a challenge to photograph. Over the weekend, before the temperature plunged, I saw six of these, more than I had ever seen before. Leucochrysa genus, iNaturalist suggests.
My dearheart first pointed one of these nearly-hidden gems out to me.

Street Scene

Two of these House Sparrows have white feathers.
One rather prominently. (Here’s some information on leucristic feathering.)
Bossy pigeon moves in.

Raptor Wednesday

Fifth day of the new year, and the raptors haven’t stopped.


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