Beaver Dam: More Timber!

Team Beaver continues to add logs, branches, and mud to their dam beside the Dutchess Rail Trail:

Beaver Lodge and Dam - DCRT N of Golds Gym - 2020-05-26
Beaver Lodge and Dam – DCRT N of Golds Gym – 2020-05-26

Apparently they’re now busy raising a bunch of little beavers inside the lodge. Next year we expect the water will begin rising in other marshes along the rail trail.

Go, beavers, go!

Robin Nest: Construction

A pair of robins picked the best place for their nest:

Garage Robin Nest
Garage Robin Nest

I disabled the remote control for those spotlights, as we won’t be using them for a while.

Although I’m sure it’s a wonderful nest, robins certainly leave plenty of debris around their construction site:

Garage Robin Nest - overview
Garage Robin Nest – overview

I can’t figure how to mount a camera close enough for a good view and keep it out of their landing pattern.

Snakeskin

A shed snakeskin appeared when I opened the garage door:

Snakeskin - overview
Snakeskin – overview

The skin sits atop the retaining wall next to the door, on a stone(-like) background with poor contrast: even an empty snake has good camouflage!

The exterior looks like genuine snakeskin:

Snakeskin - exterior
Snakeskin – exterior

I didn’t know the interior has an entirely different pattern:

Snakeskin - interior
Snakeskin – interior

As far as I can tell, the snake was going about its business elsewhere in the yard.

To be fair, there’s some luck involved.

Update: After Mitch nudged me, I found the (somewhat the worse for wear) snakeskin again. The head end was split, much as I described, but the tail end was intact (the snake having pulled out like a finger from a glove) and what I though was the inside of the top was the outside of the bottom, just pushed inward to form a very thin double layer.

Today I Learned … to always look closer!

Monthly Science: Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Wasp Nest Disassembly

The empty Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Wasp nest popped off the wall with relatively little damage:

Organ Pipe Wasp Nest - overview
Organ Pipe Wasp Nest – overview

The open cells on the back side show the wasps don’t waste any effort on putting mud where it’s not needed:

Organ Pipe Wasp Nest - wall side
Organ Pipe Wasp Nest – wall side

Cracking it in half shows the rugged walls between the cell columns:

Organ Pipe Wasp Nest - cross section
Organ Pipe Wasp Nest – cross section

Several cells contained three or four (thoroughly dead!) spiders apiece, evidently the result of un-hatched eggs:

Organ Pipe Wasp Nest - failed egg - spiders
Organ Pipe Wasp Nest – failed egg – spiders

Each successful cell contained a brittle capsule wrapped in a thin cocoon, surrounded by fragments of what used to be spiders, with an exit hole chewed in the side:

Organ Pipe Wasp Nest - capsule detail
Organ Pipe Wasp Nest – capsule detail

I regret not weighing the whole affair, as all that mud represents an astonishing amount of heavy hauling and careful work by one or two little wasps!

Groundhog Activity

The groundhog responsible for trimming the lawn greenery in our area has discovered the long-disused driveway salt barrel:

Groundhog - in salt barrel
Groundhog – in salt barrel

There’s always another appointment on the calendar, though:

Groundhog - trotting on driveway
Groundhog – trotting on driveway

A busy critter with no time to waste!