Sunday, October 14, 2018

An Illustrated Life List: Hermit Thrush

I've been watching Hermit Thrushes eat Virginia Creeper berries in our backyard all weekend.  The V. Creeper vines hang down over a window at the back of the house. 

This afternoon I sit at a desk by the window the Hermit Thrushes flutter up from the ground to nab a berry, sometimes perching for a bit within view.

Snow fell in the morning.  As the backyard garden disappeared under a thin layer of white and the thrushes kept coming for berries I had the satisfying sense that all my hours of work in the garden were for these Hermit Thrushes.

Seeing the berries eaten by these birds gives me a sense of completion for the year's garden season

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Small Things That Make You Itch

A pictorial guide to the life cycles of very small critters that can leave you with an itchy rash.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Late Summer Moth and Caterpillars

All moths and caterpillars in this post were found at Whitewater State Park.

Every night it sounded like there was a slow, gentle rain falling on our tent.  But there was no rain, there were barely any clouds in the sky.  I think the sound was that of frass (caterpillar droppings) falling from many unseen caterpillars in the Hackberry tree by our tent.

White-marked Tussock Moth - Orgyia leucostigma
Tussock Moth family, Lymantriidae.  Feeds on a wide variety of woody plants.

Pale Beauty - Campaea perlata
 Looper, Inchworm and Spanner family, Geometridae.

Grapevine Skeletonizer - Harrisina americana
Leaf Skeletonizer family, Zygaenidae.  Feeds on Grape vines and Virginia Creeper.

Banded Tussock Moth - Halysidota tessellaris
Tiger, Lichen and Wasp moth family, Arctiidae.  Feeds on a variety of woody plants.  The individual pictured above is missing most of its hairs, which are technically called setae.  We found one other Banded Tussock Moth caterpillar that was in a similar state.   The missing hairs might be caused by birds trying to eat them.

"Caterpillars of Eastern North America" by David L. Wagner

Monday, August 6, 2018

Mushroom Log: Late July 2018

All the mushrooms in this post were photographed at Lake Carlos State Park

Lactarius subserifluus
Some noteworthy features note apparent from the photographs include a tough stem and ever so slight fragrance of . . . something (pleasant).

Pluteus chrysophlebius

Omphalina epichysium
Possibly symbiotic with moss.

Asterophora lycoperdoides (left)
Lactarius or Russula species (right)
A. lycoperdoides is parasitic on species of Lactarius and Russula.  If you look carefully at the picture on the left, you'll notice that whitish A. lycoperdoides are on the cap of another mushroom, which is pictured to the right.

Hygrocybe sp.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Moth Party

Last week I did a little program about moths at the nature center I work at (it was National Moth Week).  I "painted" a number of trees with a mix of bananas, honey, syrup, fermented apple sauce and rum extract to attract moths.  After the program was over I went out and photographed as many of the moths as I could.  I think the pictures turned rather well considering the fact that I just used my iPhone and a handheld led light.

Presented in Hodges # order.

Herpetogramma abdominalis

Lettered Habrosyne - Habrosyne scripta
Three patched Bigwing Moth - Heterophleps refusaria

American Idia Moth - Idia americalis

Glossy Black Idia Moth - Idia lubricalis

Dark-banded Owlet Moth - Phalaenophana pyramusalis

Black Zale Moth - Zale undularis

Semirelict Underwing Moth - Catocala semirelicta

American Angle Shades Moth - Euplexia benesimilis

Old Man Dart - Agrostis vetusta
Unidentified Moths

 Moth Photographer's Group


"Moths and Caterpillars of the North Woods" by Jim Sogaard