Posts Tagged 'Jamaica Bay'

Monarch Monday

Some of the dozen Monarch caterpillars (Danaus plexippus) seen feasting on swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) in the Bronx recently.  This was my highest ever count to this date, although to be fair I’m much better at spotting them now. Good to see some action on one of the other milkweeds besides A. syriaca.In Queens a few days later: a trio of Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillars (Euchaetes egle) were on the same plant as two Monarch caterpillars. These colorful and hairy milkweed specialists, not done any justice by this photo, are, like Monarchs, walking advertisements for tasting bad. Nearby on another milkweed was a Fall Webworm caterpillar (Hyphantria cunea). This species, which makes tent-like webs in trees and so is often confused with Gypsy Moth, is a generalist: will eat practically anything. Milkweed, too? Speaking of eating. Here’s a nymph Spined Solder Bug (Podisus maculiventris) feasting on a Monarch. This was one of the dozen Monarchs seen in the Bronx. The rest were alive, but life’s a risky business.

Have you thought much about civil disobedience?

Ischnura ramburii

Wednesday is traditionally Raptor Day here at B&B. Damselflies are quite the airborne predators, so….

This one is an immature female Rambur’s Forktail (Ischnura ramburii), spotted at Jamaica Bay with numerous others of her species. I’ve seen a male away from the Bay, in Green-Wood once. Several of the Ischnura genus have orange colored immature females.

Michel Edmond de Sélys Longchamps (1813-1900), a Belgian considered the founder of odontology, named this species after Jules Pierre Rambur (1801-1870), a French entomologist.

I wonder how many times Kavanaugh has committed perjury so far? His opening statement yesterday was full of them. While judges can be impeached for lying, this seems unlikely as long as we put all our hopes in corporate Democrats. The long march of the right to capturing the judiciary is almost complete. For generations, these corporate, fundamentalist fascists will try to stifle the will of the majority of us. It’s going to be a hell of a fight.

Milkweed Continues

Large Milkweed Bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) on common milkweed pod.

This I learned: a note in Evan’s NWF Field Guide to Insects and Spiders says this species has been used extensively in physiological experiments. Easy to raise, they were also used to test insecticides from the 1940s. Carolina Biological Supply sells them for uses in experiments “from biochemistry to behavior.”

My favorite among the McCain hagiographies was the ex-GOP operative — with second thoughts about her party’s direction now that it’s too late — who envisioned McCain joining Aretha Franklin in heaven’s “freshman” section! Pretty good ascension for a man who voted against MLK. Jr. Day, rarely saw a war or bloated defense budget he didn’t like, and tirelessly fought against sanctions against apartheid in South Africa.

Blue On Blue


Two Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) were cutting across the parking lot repeatedly. They were gathering nest material: Seems awfully late, doesn’t it? Many species have already fledged this year. Others are well into incubation. But Cedar Waxwings are very late nesters: they want their young to be hungry around the same time as summer’s fruits and berries ripen. A Diamondback Terrapin nesting at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. She comes ashore, clambers towards some sandy soil, and starts digging a hole with her back feet before laying her eggs and covering them up. We saw more than a dozen in the waters, crawling around, or in the hands of Hofstra’s Jamaica Bay Terrapin Research crew. These terrapins, the only local turtle species that lives in briny water, have, like many turtle species, temperature sex determination. That’s right, the sex of the wee baby turtles is determined by temperature. Read more about JBTR research.

I also had a fantastic Independence Day with the terrapins (hey, it’s not their fault some idiots built JFK on their breeding grounds) some years ago.

Raptor Wednesday

Red tail feathers coming in! This Buteo jamaicensis looks like it was one of last year’s fledglings. They don’t get their brick-red tails until they’re a year old. Also a good view of the cummerbund-like belly-band that most of our best-dressed eastern Red-tailed Hawks sport.

Tree Swallows

Tachycineta bicolor.
The problem is staying on. Remember how the male American Kestrel bunched up his claws so not to dig into his partner’s back? Here, the male bites some head feathers. Ouch!


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