Posts Tagged 'Green-Wood'

The Butterfly International

Was it my imagination or where the (Red) Admirals in Sweden redder? Vanessa atalanta is found all around the northern hemisphere and is often the last butterfly seen flying in the fall.This birch sap leak was attracting them all at the edge of the ljung (heath).

We also saw our old friend the Cabbage White in its native continent, too. But it paid to look closer: this one on inspection turned out to be Pieris napi, the Green-Veined White, Rapsfjäril.

Meanwhile, in the Bronx…This Monarch was having some trouble, dragging her wings like a wet prom dress. She didn’t seem to be able to fly and was crawling around the leaves as a wasp harried her. The wasp actually took off a piece of wet, damaged wing.Nearby, a caterpillar was at the start of pupation. Also in the NYBG, this Calastrina genus blue was quite obsessed with a small bird turd, coming back to it repeatedly and allowing me to get my phone in its face. One of the “Spring Azure” complex, rather late in the year?Green-Wood, meanwhile, was busy with Painted Ladies and several other species, including this skipper slurping up some nectar. And a Monarch caterpillar was still growing strong.

Current Lepidoptera

And even more butterflies. This is a Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus). Mostly southern, but makes forays as far north as New England. First spotting of this species for me, in Green-Wood.Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) caterpillar. This is the one that gets on your parsley; the earlier instars or stages are black with a white splotch in the center, making them look somewhat like bird turds. Behind a fence on a lot in Red Hook, where several Killdeer, a couple of Semipalmated Sandpipers, and a Semipalmated Plover were patrolling the mud of a stalled development project. Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis) on a sidewalk in Brooklyn Heights.And another, this time in Coffey Park, winking its wings in some sun-spotted shade.A Red-baned Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops) found with swarms of bees and wasps on a non-native aralia at the NYBG. This is another mostly southeastern butterfly species that strays up into our parts (but I supposed all these reference books are old; planetary warming means species are moving north.Same pollination frenzy. This Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis) looks species-perfect on the outside, except for some ragged edges to the wings.But looks rather like an “intergrade” between Red-spotted and its co-specific White Admiral, which is generally found further north (I’ve never seen one). Here’s another I spotted some years ago in Prospect with more purple.

Painted Ladies

There were more Vanessa cardui butterflies around the Green-Wood Buddleja planting than I’ve ever seen in one place in New York City.Really nice to see so many individuals of slightly different sizes and color intensity.What is up with this hanging out on the stone or tarmac?

Papilio glaucus

Now, that’s a flag. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.Another specimen. This one was working so close to me that I could put my phone next to it to measure the wingspan: slightly longer than 5″. Open up this image to get a sense of the magnificence of life scale. Note that one of the swallowtails is missing: it may have ended up in a bird’s beak.

Vespa Crabro

The last two summers, I saw solitary examples of a very large, yellow-abdomened wasp in Green-Wood. They moved constantly, never staying still long enough to be photographed. Last summer I identified them as European Hornets, Vespa Crabro; the species has been in North American since at least 1840.This summer, I finally found one hanging around. They will take larger prey, but this one caught and dispatched a Honey Bee (Apis mellifera; another Eurasian species). Worth opening up this image for a larger view if you have the stomach for it.They use their powerful jaws to chew up wood to make paper nests, rather like our Bald-faced Hornets. That means this bee got chomped up pretty quickly in those choppers.  The wasp is hanging by its hind two legs as it maneuvers the bee around with its other four legs. It was quick work.These Vespa live in nests of up to a thousand workers. I’ve only ever seen one at a time, but then, they generally hunt at night (which is unusual for wasps). Although big and scary looking — you wouldn’t want to be the bee here — they are “gentle giants” and are only aggressive in defending their nests.

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Everything but the sheet: Donald J. Trump is an avowed Nazi-symphathizer.

Monday Again?

Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius). Shorebirds are already on the move, heading south from their breeding grounds.

I saw at least two of these in Green-Wood yesterday. Like the Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria), this species is often seen away from the ocean shore, along freshwater shores.

In its non-breeding plumage, as now, the Spotted lacks the rich spotting on the breast that gives it its common name.

I was outside quite a bit over the weekend. Sunday’s mildness was a welcome relief from the heat and humidity that makes being outdoors trying to focus on tiny bugs sweaty work. My cameras are full of nature to share with you. So look out….

Long-legged Fly

One of the genus Condylostylus long-legged flies.
A little jewel. Same specimen: the light does wonderful things with the metallic sheen. There are more than 30 species in this genus north of Mexico; they usually feed on smaller insects and mites.


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  • Sharp-shinned, Red-tailed, & Broad-winged dominating Chestnut Ridge and State Line Lookout hawk watches this gorgeous day. 3 hours ago
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