Posts Tagged 'Green-Wood'

More Wasps

This Cicada-killer Wasp was emerging from her nest. She had just deposited a paralyzed cicada inside and, presumably since this is what they do, laid an egg on the cicada. I tried to get a photo of her carrying her progeny-to-be’s food inside, but she was too fast for me. I waited for about fifteen minutes to see is she would return with another cicada. Not on my watch. I could hear three cicadas in surrounding trees.
About ten feet away, on the road, this one patrolled the entire time, often perching, occasionally tangling with another passing by.
Elsewhere in Green-Wood: the lower nest here (the dirt slide is more than a foot long) has been here since at least July 28. Besides the second nest seen here, there were four others in this area. Most were on the flats above this slope.
This is that same lower-on-the-slope nest seen in the two-shot. It poured the afternoon before this picture. There has already been some maintenance.

And one more nest appeared this weekend.
This is some sexual dimorphism, isn’t it? Female on the left, male on the right.

Remember, it’s the larval form that eats the cicada. The adults eat very little, says bugguide. I have seen them taking nectar at flowers before. Recently I hit the mother (and father) lode of feeding for these large wasps. Stay tuned.

More Cicadas

I’ve seen and photographed more adult cicadas this year than I ever have before. The spent larval husks are easy to find, just look on tree trunks… and leaves. This quartet, plus another that fell by the wayside, were on a single horse chestnut.
Of course, most trees I look at don’t have any of these exuvia on them. But they also show up in more surprising places, like this Asteraceae less than a foot off the ground.
Some of the adults have been in the tall meadows in Green-Wood. They’re pretty skittish, giving a zzzt sound when they’re spooked.
This one flew away and then back, into this tree.

All of the above are side-views, the best available for these individuals. Makes them hard to figure out as to species.This one, however, is iNaturalist approved as a Swamp Cicada (Neotibicen tibicen tibicen). The vocalization of Swamp (also called Morning) Cicadas are similar to Linne’s Cicada Neotibicen linnei.
Might this be a Linne’s Cicada?
I think so.
This one made a couple of buzzing attempts to get out this mesh fencing. The fencing had rolled over, off the ground, so I gently tapped the creatures so that it fell down, as far as the reach of the mesh. It zooming out of the trap and across the street. (Note the chalky white of the underside. We’ll return to this later in the week.)
Do I think there are more cicadas in Brooklyn this year than, say, last year? Not necessarily. But I have gotten much better at spotting them.

A Bigger Cowbird

I don’t know if this is one of the Brown-headed Cowbird chicks I saw in the last couple of weeks.

If not, it would be the third one I’ve sighted this summer. I’d never seen one before this summer.
As in the other cases, I heard this youngster calling for food before seeing it or its host Chipping Sparrow surrogate parent (who is glimpsed in the background of these shots).


Mating Black Swallowtails. Papilio polyxenes. When I first saw this, I though it might be a hanging dead butterfly, all torn up from the vicissitudes. Always double-check the anomalies!Interestingly, this pair attracted another male, if not more than one over the ten to fifteen minutes I was there. (Black Swallowtails are all over.)The second male really wanted in on the action.Does this work?

Bonus Swallowtails:
The female Black Swallowtail. She lays her eggs on many members of the parsley family (Apiaceae).
The male Black Swallowtail.
This is a male Spicebush Swallowtail, missing some of his hindwings. Papilio troilus. The Black Swallowtails are all over Green-Wood, but this is a rarer butterfly there — this is the only one I’ve seen this summer so far. No photograph of a female at present. The female lays her eggs on spicebush, sassafras and other laurels (Lauraceae).

Raptor Wednesday

There is no mistaking a mature Red-tailed Hawk, at least in this part of the country. And there is no mistaking the sounds of song birds upset by the presence of such a hulking predator. Four Northern Mockingbirds were fidgeting in this tree around the hawk. On a nearby obelisk — cemeteries! — a Chipping Sparrow was raising the alarm, too.

Genus Ardea

Two juvenile Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) and a Great Egret (Ardea alba) were hanging out at the same “water” in Green-Wood recently. Ardea is Latin for heron, herodias is Greek for heron. Alba is white. The egret was scarfing down small fry with abandon. Never saw either of the herons make a strike. (“Heron” and “egret” are basically interchangeable, but we’ll go with the common name distinction.)And the herons were much jumpier, stirred up by people and vehicles. Last year a juvenile here seemed quite unconcerned by people. Different experiences, different personalities.

How Now, Cowbird?

A late season chick. But what species?Here comes a parent… oh-oh. Chipping Sparrow.And Brown-headed Cowbird. Brown-headed Cowbirds are brood parasites. They lay their eggs in the nests of other species. The hatchling may kill off the hosts’ own offspring. I’ve never seen this in action. BHC’s lay their eggs “in 220 species of birds. Recent genetic analyses have shown that most individual females specialize on one particular host species.And another, seen two days later not so far from the first scene. Couldn’t see who was feeding this one, but it was pretty small, and may very will have been another Chipping Sparrow.


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