Sunday, July 28, 2019

We Need More Spiders ...

... because we have way too many biting flies.

Like Black Horse Flies (Tabanus atratus).

Black is a good color as this is definitely one of the bad guys flying about in the yard.

Here's a US 25¢ piece for scale. This is a big fly.

Until recently, the next place west from ours had horses. We don't know why the horse are gone, but the flies prey on large mammals. And Patty and I both qualify as such.

And from the "those which live by the bite, die by the bite" this critter has another critter biting it.

A mite, for which my friend John Maxwell suggested the mite might be in the Suborder Parasitengona, in the Subcohort  Erythraeia.

So maybe, we need more mites?

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Bloom Time - Meadow Beauty

First we have Maryland Meadow-Beauty, Rhexia mariana.

This flower is growing in the area out back that we've stopped mowing. It showed up last year and to our pleasure has returned. There are several plants which have just started to bloom.

We also have Virginia Meadow-Beauty, Rhexia virginica, growing in the bog garden. Lots of it.

Whereas the R. mariana showed up on its own, R. virginica was purposely planted. The key difference is not a you might think from the images, in the flower, although R. mariana is generally paler than R. virginaca. No, it is in the stem with mariana having a round stem and virginica a winged one.

It is nice to have them both adding some July color to the yard.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Reptiles ...

I wonder if Hamster is having second thoughts about spending the summer in the back pond.

It's getting crowded in there ...

Thursday, July 25, 2019

More Moving Lichen

I had mentioned in this post that it was not the first time that I had seen moving lichen.

This is the first one I saw:

And here is a video of it in action: Lacewing Larvae Video.

This one was in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, in Uganda.

There was other cool stuff in the that forest ...

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Yard Critter - Lacewing Larvae

I was checking on some temporary deer barriers out by the quonset hut when I spotted this:

A bit of lichen on the tree.

Nothing special, right, as we have lichen all over the trees in our yard?

Except this bit was moving.

A quick search of the inter webs for "lichen covered insect" solved the mystery. It is a Lacewing Larvae.

You can watch the video of it doing so by clicking this link: Lacewing Larvae Video.

Note at the very start a 'pellet' shoots out of the top of the bit of lichen, the arrow in the image below shows where to look.

Here is a close up, you can see two legs sticking out at the top.

And here I'm holding it. You can see legs, and the pinchers pointing to the upper left.

As always, click on any image to bigafy it.

And this gives an idea of the size. Note the leg at the bottom right of the lichen on my thumbnail.

A cool find and the first time I've noticed it in the yard. But not the first time I've seen such a creature.

🐞  🐞  🐞  🐞  🐞

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

The Church of Christ, Junk Collector

There was an episode of Sanford and Son, The Reverend Sanford, where Sanford Sr. gets ordained by mail order and turns his junkyard/home into a church, to avoid paying taxes.

Perhaps we have a case of real life mirroring art?

Although there was a "No Trespassing" sign posted, so perhaps, like Sanford and Son, weekly performances/services have been canceled.

Sadly, there does not seem to be a patron saint of junk dealers, garbage collectors, hoarders, and such. But there are patron saints of coin collectors and of syphilis, among others. Go figure.

Seen somewhere in the Poconos.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

More Mothing

In addition to birding and other wildlife viewing we set up a couple of sheets and lights at Edie's Pocono Place and did a bit of mothing. And had a number of nice moths visit.

The large moth in the center of the image is a Catalpa Sphinx. I know not what the other two are.

Salt-and-Pepper Geometer. It blends in rather well with the fence board don't you think.

A somewhat worn Giant Leopard Moth. I like the blue spots (regular leopards should sport such spots!).

Another worn moth, this one I think is a Walnut Sphinx.

A very stylish Northern Pine Looper.

This one is called "The Angel". I suppose it looks like it is in religious garb, maybe?

The Lessor Maple Spanworm. Named for the caterpillar of course. Looks angelic to me.

The three similar looking large moths on the board are Common Lytrosis Moths. And, living up to it's name, they were the most numerous at the sheets, showing up in double digits.

Another sphinx, the Virginia Creeper Sphinx. We had five species of sphinx visit this evening. Big moths, they are crowd pleasers at mothing events. And here at Edie's as well.

A Medium Dagger.

One of my favorites, the Banded Tussock Moth. And one of the stars of my first ever mothing blog post.

This methinks is an Early Button Slug Moth. Regardless, where does that name come from?

Yet another sphinx, the Pawpaw Sphinx.

The moth is a Mottled Snout. Ok, I can see where that name came from. (I've not ID the other critter, difficult with the head cut off.)

The Large Maple Spanworm.

We'll end with the Beautiful Wood-nymph. Along with two leafhoppers and a smaller unidentified moth.

We had a very nice and very late night of mothing. It was a long day and I was quite tired when we finally headed in for bed. Note that I didn't say turn the lights out. We left them on lest one of us wake up and want to see what else may have fluttered in. I did not wake up. And there were plenty of moths on the sheet the next morning, much to the delight of the resident avifauna.

🦋  🦋  🦋  🦋  🦋

Thanks to Edie Parnum, for hosting and moth ID's, and Patty Rehn and Ann-Marie Woods for help with moth ID's. Any mis-identifications are mine.

ID'ing Moths Is Hard

In honor of National Moth Week here is a short moth ID exercise. Have Fun!

Here are four more moths we saw while mothing at Edie's. See if you can identify the species of each.

Look at those "eyes", very distinctive. This should be an easy one.

Another one with underwing "eyes", although it looks a bit different, more robust. The overall shape is a clue. Good luck!

Another one with "eyes".  Hmmm ...

And another, although this seems to have clearwings. Perhaps a clue?

🦋  🐛  🦋  🐛  🦋

Ok, ready for the answers?

1. Blinded Sphinx.
2. Blinded Sphinx.
3. Blinded Sphinx.
4. Blinded Sphinx.

They are all the same species. Only the second looks like the moth in the field guide. The other there are worn, the last considerably so. Only the second has the canonical 'Sphinx' shape.

Here's the field guide page for Blinded Sphinx.

Reproduced from the Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America
by David Beadle and Seabrooke Leckie*.

When I was working out the ID's I truly thought they were four different moths. And I only found the second in the field guide. It was driving me crazy, the first one should have been a slam dunk, with that distinctive eye pattern. After paging through the field guide, all 600 pages, twice, I gave up and asked Patty (she had already worked through here images of that night). And she told me, Blinded Sphinx.

Hmmm ... maybe moth ID isn't hard after all. I was just doing it wrong.

🦋  🦋  🦋  🦋  🦋

* If you are at all interested in moths this is the field guide to get. Highly recommended.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Promised Land

We met our friend Edie through our birding club, the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club, so it should come as no surprise that we went birding while visiting. We spent the day at two local places that given they abut, could be considered one place. Promised Land State Park and Delaware State Forest.

And we saw a few birds, like this Cedar Waxwing.

And this American Robin. But the birding was not great. July is not the best time for birding as the migrants have passed through and the locals are on their nests.

The area has a population of Black Bear, and Edie saw one just the week before at this spot:

But the only bear I saw were of the gummy kind ...

... as I stepped out of the car in a parking area. We did however see a Black Bear on our drive up. A young bear ran across the highway in front of us. Silly bear. Fortunately it did made it across unharmed.

There was a variety of damselflies and dragonflies.

Some which even stayed still long enough to have their picture taken.

We visited several lakes ...

... where, in a addition to the Odes we saw ...

... Snakes, including this Northern Water Snake ...

... and Frogs ...

... and Toads ...

... and Fish ...

... and Flowers ...

... and Snails, among other things.

🐸  🐍  🐟  🐌  🦟  🦜

Along the way we had a nice picnic lunch, visited the visitors center and museum, and searched for a missing eye-cup from Edie's binoculars. Around two in the afternoon we headed back to Edie's place where we relaxed and enjoyed some nice wine and yummy cheese. A very fine way to spend the day.