Posts Tagged 'Brooklyn'

Cats!

When a body meets a body coming through the…
Apiaceae.
Black Swallowtail caterpillar fit to pupate.
The Asteroid, AKA Goldenrod Hooded Owlet.
A reprise of the Common Buckeye caterpillar.
Five were seen in the same small patch.
The blue spines!
Our old friend the Monarch. On the same day, two days ago, a female was laying eggs nearby. This has not been a great year for Monarch caterpillars in Green-Wood.
An addendum to last Friday’s post on Tiger Swallowtails.
This is a brand new chrysalis.

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This is hard to read, but the unspeakable has become our reality.

Raptor Wednesday

Summer is quiet when it comes to raptors, unless you have American Kestrels breeding down the street.But now fall is in the air. This Red-tailed hawk perched on a #BrooklynKestrel landmark recently. One of the local falcons, now days generally heard more than seen, was not happy about it. The kestrel’s alarms calls got me to look outside.
Coast Guard ship in the harbor beyond.
Another day, another RT or the same one? This building is just to the left of the one with the chimney pot. Someone’s observation on iNaturalist pictured one just down the street from here yesterday.
This one dropped down to the roof here three times from various perches around. Came up with nothing. What was the attraction?
Balancing on one leg is not unusual, but usually the bird will bring the other leg up into the breast. Here it just hangs down. It’s raptor contrapposto!

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Something I wrote on the origins of the general strike.

Nine-Spotted Lady Beetles

Do you remember when the Flatbush Gardener released Nine-spotted Lady Beetle larvae in his native meadow garden? Coccinella novemnotata is the New York State insect, but it is almost non-existent now in the state. In fact, the species is hardly to be found anywhere in the east. Cornell’s Lost Ladybug Project has been working to both document and re-introduce the species, which may be endangered by all the god-damned invasive lady beetles introduced by people thinking they’re doing a good thing.Anyway, no sign of that original release in 2016 were ever seen again. This week, FG tried again, this time with both adults and larvae. (Same plump larva under flash above and natural lighting, below.)
How will they fare? Some neighbors are receiving them too, to spread the wealth up and down the block. This is a unique part of Brooklyn, with substantial houses on suburban-style lots. It’s good and tree-y, but has an awful lot of lawn, which is habitat for very little. Flatbush’s all-native species yard, front and back, really stands out, but there is some creeping diffusion of his model nearby.
There were very robust specimens, packed with aphids. In both senses: the containers — available here — come with food for the little beetles, and they evidently eagerly partake of said food. Yum, aphids!It was very drizzly-misty that evening, rather more than a mizzle at some points. The adult beetles quickly tucked themselves out of the way under leaves.
Good luck, little ones!

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

I’m missing the egg stage, but otherwise here’s the run:
The first few instars of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail mimic bird droppings. This one was on the nearly horizontal surface of a magnolia leaf, right out in the open. Finally saw one!
The caterpillar is green in youth. Or is that middle age?
Old age, or…
…the the start of something new?

These images represent multiple years and different individuals. I found them all except for the green instar, which was a sample taken by an entomologist at the BioBlitz on Saturday; what a illustration of how it blends in with the green of a magnolia leaf! The late instar was on the sidewalk in my old neighborhood, under a tuliptree (which is a rare street tree here, but found in all our woods). The pupa was just something I ran into. “Found” suggests intentionality: of course I’m always looking for life, but fairly haphazardly. If I see something, I say something. Only the bird-turd form was a reward of some intentional close examination of several sapling magnolias. Having seen the ento’s specimen, I said to myself, now where would I find some magnolias? At around a centimeter long, it was most difficult to photograph.

Webworm Days

Fall Webworm caterpillars have been everywhere. This one was on a raised bed on the sidewalk next to the local high school last week, with barely a tree in sight.
I don’t even remember where this was, back in July.
Here’s yet another, along the 5th Avenue Green-Wood fence. Uh-oh!

You see, everybody knows the prolific caterpillars are out and about. Dozens of parasite species attack Fall Webworm, which provide a lot of meat. This one is an ichneumon wasp. I’m not sure what her strategy is because I can’t get her down to species level. She’s a member of the tribe Gravenhorstiini of the family Ichneumonidae.
But that strategy ain’t good, at least according to the caterpillars. The wasp, of course, has another agenda.
Those are, in fact, caterpillar droppings. These colonies are messy.
Here’s more. These are cocoons of a Meteorus genus wasp. They hang from rather crinkly silk under the webworm nests. Both look like they have exit holes at the base. According to Eisemen and Charney, if the exit whole is irregular and on the side, it’s the work of another wasp who parasitizes the parasite.

BioBlitz Notes

Birds are hard to capture with phone cameras, the standard way people enter information on iNaturalist. I led two bird groups of Macualay Honors College students on the BioBlitz Saturday. This is the only picture of a bird I put into iNaturalist. We tallied birds seen the old fashioned way, with paper and pencil.

Macaulay the honors program at CUNY. They do a BioBlitz every year for their sophomores. This started in 2012 when the in-coming dean, a primatologist, was dismayed to see the one science course sparsely attended. A BioBlitz is a survey of lifeforms over a specific time-span. Every year the blitz has been in a different location in the city. Up to five hundred students take part. The data they help collect is used throughout the year in their classes. Here’s what we found.

This year they divided the blitz between Green-Wood and the Gowanus Canal area. In one of these things, volunteers, or in this case students, accompany educators, naturalists, etc., to search and record. You’ve seen some of the moths I photographed during the night component; there was another moth unit and a bat team that night as well.

The students were not particularly familiar with the common birds, although they all knew what a pigeon was. We had good views of a Great Blue Heron and Red-tailed Hawks, both the perching one pictured and another flying a few minutes earlier. There were lots of warblers out and about, especially American Redstarts. A northeast wind bought a fallout of migrants to town. Following these through binoculars takes some practice. The sight of a Belted Kingfisher bought a real smile of joy to the face of one young woman, an Indian-American — a dozen species of kingfishers are found in India.

My 3pm group was a quartet of the most insect-phobic humans I’ve ever seen. They were terrified of flying things, doused themselves in citronella, and one even jumped away when I pulled a cicada exuvia off a tree. It wasn’t a surprise: knowing how jumpy they were, I announced that it was coming — a hollowed out exoskeleton, lifeless, harmless — but no matter. (I was nervous around bees until after graduate school, so there is hope.)
While looking for birds, the motion of large dragonfly can easily catch the eye. This looks like a Shadow Darner, a species I’ve never seen in Brooklyn before.
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On the absolute necessity of cities for biodiversity.

What Came To Light

Moths spotted during the Macaulay Honors College BioBlitz in Green-Wood cemetery Saturday night:
Black-bordered Lemon Moth (Marimatha nigrofimbria).
Explicit Arches (Lacinipolia explicata).
The Gem, or Gem Moth (Orthonama obstipata).
Idia genus.
Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda).
White-speck (Mythimna unipuncta).
Same individual, showing the effects of different light regimes on the subject.
Greater Black-letter Dart? Opinions differ on iNaturalist.
Suzuki’s Promalactis (Promalactis suzukiella). A species native to Japan, Korea, and Taiwan that seems to have shown up here fairly recently. Small and showy, also a fast crawler.
Lunate Zale (Zale lunata). This was the biggest moth of the night (wingspan 40-55mm) while I was there, and it flopped and flapped all over, including landing on people trying to get a picture of it.
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Speaking of bringing to light, here’s an excellent article on the independent anti-fascist movement working to de-platform Trump’s Nazi’s allies on the internet.


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