Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Meanwhile Up In the Trees ...

As I was watching the Hermit Thrush splash in the fish pond waterfall, a gorgeous Red-shouldered Hawk flies by.


I quickly changed focus (pun!) and took some shots of the hawk.


This species is a relatively common visitor to our yard. But a skittish one. Had I opened the door to get a clearer shot (if you look closely you'll see curious artifacts caused by shooting through the window) it would have immediately flown away.

So I enjoyed it through the window as it surveyed the yard.

I hope you enjoy it too.

🦅  🦅  🦅  🦅  🦅

You can find all of the Yard Critter posts listed here.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Bath Time

I was sitting at my desk Sunday morning, having finished my yard work for the day (it was too cold out to do much) and looking out the window I saw this:


A bird with its butt in the air. And its head in the water.


A Hermit Thrush joining the Polar Bear Club. I did mention it was cold out, right? When I woke that morning the initial forecast called for snow, albeit flurries. But still.


And Hermie here spent enough time in the water for me to notice, find a camera, turn it on, find the bird through the deck rail posts (why couldn't they disappear this time?), and fire off some shots.


This is the second bird I've seen using the waterfall in our fish pond. The other, a female Black and White Warbler, at least had the sense to do so in the summer.

The Hermit Thrush was later seen enjoying the berries from our Beauty Berry Bush in the feeder garden.

Where we have a heated bird bath.

The thrush has not been seen using that though.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Honey Bee

Apis melifera.


A non-native species introduced by early European colonists to North America, for honey and wax, and now used in agriculture for pollination. We had a hive for one season, but were not successful bee keepers and the hive failed. Not good, but all too common for new and experienced bee keepers these days.

Honey Bees then took up residence in our flying squirrel box. Alas, they did not survive the winter (the squirrels appear to be fine).

But I know of several hives in the area. And we are surrounded by farms: corn, cranberries, blueberries, and more. Thus it is no surprise that a Honey Bees would show up in the yard. I'm surprised we don't see more.

🐝  🐝  🐝  🐝  🐝

Look closely at the image. Above the bee one can clearly see the deck railing post. Below the bee ...

Where'd the post go?

🐝  🐝  🐝  🐝  🐝

You can find all of the Yard Critter posts listed here.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Stink Bug

Apoecilus cynicus, one of the native stink bugs. And a predator of other insects and small critters.

This is the first record, on BugGuide, of this stink bug species in New Jersey. Cool.

Stink Bug

And that's a good thing as, "... the predatory wheel bug, Arilus cristatus ... and stink bug, Apoecilus cynicus were found feeding on adult spotted lanternflies in Pennsylvania (Barringer and Smyers, 2016)."*

Spotted Lanternflies are an invasive insect that is causing significant damage to a number of native plant species. Fortunately we've not found them in our yard.

Wheel Bug

And it's good to know we've two predators waiting to pounce on them should they show up.

🐞  🐜  🦟  🦗  🕷  🦂  🦋  🐛  🐝

You can find all of the Yard Critter posts listed here.

~~~~~~~~~~
* reference link.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Narrow-headed Marsh Fly

Helophilus fasciatus.


Not a bee, rather a bee mimic. The eyes give it away, they are fly eyes. But the pattern and colors send a message to would be predators, "stay away or get stung!".  A lie, but a seemingly effective one, used by many members of the insect kingdom.

This critter is a type of "Flower Fly", so called as they like to visit flowers. As many are good fliers they are also known as "Hover Flies". But Flower Fly is probably the better name, as, like the bees they mimic, they are excellent pollinators.


This critter was in the leaf litter in our side garden, having been investigating one of the rapidly deteriorating Jack-o'-Lanterns there.

🎃  🎃  🎃

It's Flies all the way Down
Fly magnets, these Jack's are.

🐞  🐜  🦟  🦗  🕷  🦂  🦋  🐛  🐝

You can find all of the Yard Critter posts listed here.

20 or 368?

Given the choice of two routes from Point A, call that Florence, NJ, to Point B, which we'll call Vincentown, NJ*, with distances of 20 miles or 368 miles, which you choose?



I ordered an item on November 12. It was at the distribution center in Florence. The original delivery estimate was the 19th. It was delivered on the 15th.

I suppose it's a good thing that they beat their estimate by four days. Right?

🚚  🚚  🚚  🚚  🚚

* Southampton, where I live, and Vincentown are both in Southampton Township and share a zip code, 08088. For reasons that are unknown to me, Vincentown it the name more often used when 08088 is entered.

Friday, November 15, 2019

More Bugs

Lots more.


Swarming all over the lily pad leaves in our back pond.


Thousands of them.


I had thought they were nymphs of some kind, but it turns out they are adults. Megamelus davisi, a species of plant hooper the specializes on water lilies.

Thanks to John Maxwell for figuring out what these critters are.

🐞  🐞  🐞  🐞  🐞

You can find all of the Yard Critter posts listed here.