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Archive for the ‘insects’ Category

buckeye-on-ironweed_symetryeffect-2

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The Ailanthus moth feeds on nectar, but the young feed on Ailanthus leaves. As we are NOT fond of ‘Stink Trees’, we find this visitor downright patriotic. 

  

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The NY Times just had an article speculating about whether, given the existence of specific brain anatomy, bees might have some form of awareness.  They rule out “why” questions, like “why am I not queen?”, but I can easily imagine that awareness might include some form of “Whew!”….as in…

“Unit has successfully avoided being eaten”

or

“Unit is wet. Unit does not have stable footing. Unit is out of correct operating temperature range…. NEW DATA: stable footing.  NEW DATA: sunlight and warmth.  NEW DATA: food available…. PROCESSING….”

…which really means that I’ve fished another three bees out of a bucket of rainwater and set them out to dry on dandelion flowers…

 

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Spring Singer alerted me to the emergence of this year’s first crop of jousting carpenter bees [Xylocopus] in regional gardens.  This afternoon they are bumbling in and around the magnolia blossoms and riding the willow catkins, which bow under their weight in the March breezes.

First-Xylocopus-Spring-2016

At least, around here, at the moment, those are ‘breezes’.  I understand Colorado got a blizzard, and sections of the Northeast got a recent blast of snow.

Big bees, little bees; it’s been a good day for watching wildlife in the warming weather.  A wood thrush poked around in the leaf litter by the back fence.  White throated sparrows haven’t disappeared yet, and the downy woodpeckers are tap tap tapping to see what might be waking up under loose bark.  Cardinals, blue jays, song sparrows…. Squirrels, rabbits, and oh, I hope that was something other than a rat — aren’t those supposed to be nocturnal?  Couldn’t it be a stoat, or something more pleasant, with a brown agouti coat and bright black eyes?

We’ll see.

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Seriously.  People grumble about weather in the 40s and this is happening down the block:

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I should be grateful at least evening looks about right:

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There were bees out today.  I’m happy for them being able to get a last snack or two, but really.  BEES?

Fine.  Click through to some hysterical Torch Songs in which the word ‘Me’ has been replaced by “Bees”.

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PrimeHookNWR-waterclouds 001Cool breezes off the water, egrets foraging and roosting, and most of the humans are still crowding the other sections of the sandbar.  A short hike at the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge was just what we needed yesterday! [Well, that and getting fresh peaches, and looking at Victorian architecture, and that salsa-free guacamole at Agave Tequila Bar and Restaurant, and…]

PrimeHookNWR-DikeTrailOutbound 002

At the end of the Dike Trail, a few people seemed to be fishing, or at least scooping things out with nets, and nearby one of the boats shifting sand for the Marsh Restoration project was operating.

Anyone want to confirm the bird here as either a Least Bittern or a Kingfisher?  The former is predictable for the area, but the latter is what it looked like to us.

PrimeHookNWR-BitternOrKingfisher 003Egrets, we had a few….

PrimeHookNWR-MarshEgrets 004There were at least four species of butterflies [monarch, pipevine and black swallowtails, buckeyes], and plenty of dragonflies [including a lovely big bronze one with saddlebags], but I only got this shot of a big green dragonfly for my efforts…

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Swallowtail-and-butterfly-bush

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