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Winged Critters

Yesterday I pictured some warblers enjoying winged termites, which kept fluttering through the air.
Here are some of the termites on the ground. Birders often call these eruptive spring events “hatch-outs” as all sorts of birds come for the feasting at ground level or close to it.
Both male and female reproductive caste members of a termite colony have wings. Some of the wings seem longer than others: could that be sexual dimorphism? They’ll take off searching for a mate.
Once mated, they lose their wings, which are pointless underground.
These might be Eastern Subterranean Termites.


Sometimes they land right in front of you. Magnolia Warbler.
Other times, most times, not so much. Bay-breasted Warbler.
Rather more typical view… Wilson’s Warbler, named after pioneering ornithologist Alexander Wilson.
And sometimes, termites reproductives, the winged ones, emerge, and the songbirds fly right overhead hawking them out of the air. (As I was trying to count Cape May Warblers, a Rudy-throated Hummingbird got close enough to me for me to hear its wings.)
American Redstart.
Two different Blackpoll Warblers. “Poll” old word for head. One of the farthest flying migratory warbler species.

All spotted yesterday amid the rain/reign of Swainson’s Thrushes in Green-Wood.



As the light hits this male Scarlet Tanager…
Too much light in this case. That’s a ground Yellowjacket, one of the Vespula wasps.
A female, hunting in the same area. Perching at eye-level or even below, looking all around. Zipping after Hymenoptera. The male virtually crash-landed getting his prey.
Piranga olivacea is actually named for the female: olivacea means “olive-colored.” Choate’s Dictionary of American Bird Names says this probably because the Summer Tanager was named for the color red: P. rubra. The genus name Piranga seems to come from a native South American word “for some kind of bird.” As does “Tanager,” from tangara.

Small Flowers

One of the cinquefoils.
Two different wood sorrels (Oxalis), I think.
Two different Brassica.
Corn speedwell (Veronica arvensis). Tiny.
Little mouse-ear, Cerastium semidecandrum. A little bit bigger than the speedwell.

Raptor Wednesday

Two years ago, this London plane tree had a dead, vertical branch on it that was a regular American Kestrel perch. It broke off in a storm in November, 2018, and, ever since, this tree has not been as blessed as a place to see the locals. But yesterday evening, the male was preening here.
Also spotted yesterday was an Osprey over Sylvan Water, hovering as it scoped out the view. Looking for fish in the pond. The bird did not dive here.

Vireo gilvus

Warbling Vireo.
The species epithet gilvus means “yellowish.” That’s very light-dependent from our modern view, that is, a live bird not in hand, rather than the dead bird such taxonomic nomenclature is based on.


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