Posts Tagged 'Staten Island'

Red Meadowhawks

Obelisking meadowhawk of the Sympetrum genus. This abdomen-up position minimizes the amount of heat hitting the body.The Sympetrum are difficult to distinguish out-of-hand in the field. This could be the White-faced, Cherry-faced, or Ruby-Faced.This male was the only specimen seen at NYBG. The females are even harder to distinguish, but they all know the drill: the sex parts are all unique for the individual species. This dragon made many sorties and perched in multiple spots within a very short compass, but he always faced the pond.Another, this time on Staten Island. Note that segment 2 of the abdomen doesn’t seem as keel-like as the one in the first three pictures. Also the only example seen at this location. They seem to like the perch and foray style, unlike, say, the gliders, which are constantly on patrol in the air.

Swamp Loosestrife

Decodon verticillatus is also called water-willow and whorled loosestrife. The flowers are spectacular, but you sure have to get close to them.These leaves certainly look rather “willowy,” but the species isn’t related to Salix. It is related to Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), the dreadful invasive, but D. verticillatus is a native from Maine to Louisiana. Talk about liking to get its feet wet! It grows in fresh water. One source says muskrats like to munch on these bulbous underwater bits.

Great Golden Digger

Busy as a wasp. A Great Golden Digger Wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus).She builds a nearly vertical burrow with cells off of a central tunnel, each stockpiled with paralyzed grasshoppers and katydids for her young.

Raptor Wednesday

Ran into a family of four Bald Eagles at Mt. Loretto on Staten Island. Haliaeetus leucocephalus: this is one of this year’s youngsters. The white head and tail feathers come in fully by age 4 or so. The bird was making a racket, calling its parents for food. Big, but still learning. An adult flew in with a fish; this one joined it, and then the other youngster, unseen and unheard before this, did as well. Eventually, both parents perched over the pond. There was something rather curious going at the other end of this pond. It looked like a mostly submerged, dead Canada Goose was being jerked about in the water (primaries were occasionally seen) and chomped on by at least two large Snapping Turtles. I do not think this escaped the eagles’ eyes. They are great scavengers. Probably the closest I’ve ever been to one of these birds. Looked so much bigger on the ground and in the water than up in a tree. From the back, I was reminded of a Turkey.The bird was poking at things in the water, picking some of them up.

We urged it to drop this (plastic bag, mylar balloon?). It did, luckily. The first year is fraught with hazards.

Some Birds

House Wren. Looks like they were nesting in this old snag.Brown-headed Cowbird male. The female was nearby.
Sign. Look up:Robins; late or second brood.

I usually only catch Little Blue Herons distantly, passing overhead at Jamaica Bay or bobbing distantly about in the marshes there. This one was hunting on Spring Pond in Blue Heron Park.These birds are about the size of Snowy Egrets, so rather smaller than Great Blue Herons. And, unlike the Great Blues, these are of a much more uniform color; this slate blue actually blends into the foliage well. The bird favors this horizontal stance while hunting, it’s head in near constant motion as it stalks. We saw it snag a frog and a fish, both flipped down the gullet without ceremony.There was a Green Heron in the mix, too.Saw this in Brooklyn before heading out to Staten Island. Didn’t pose the butt. Tobacco-junkie numbers are down, but their butts are still one of the most common forms of toxic litter.

How Great?

The Great Egret, Ardea alba.Working it.And another.

Black toes, yellow bill. White plumes once worth so much the birds were almost slaughtered to extinction.

Nymphs, Satyrs, Buckeyes, Monarchs

Common Wood-nymph (Cercyonis pegala).
Little Wood-satyr (Megisto cymela).(One of the eyespot patterns is torn.)Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia).Monarch (Danaus plexippus).

All spotted earlier this month at Mount Loretto State Unique Area. The Little Wood-satyrs are early summer fliers, which probably explains why I’m not too familiar with them. It’s hot out there in the meadows of Mount Loretto and I don’t think I’ve been there in July before.


Share

Bookmark and Share

Join 492 other followers

Nature Blog Network

Archives