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Posts Tagged Wildlife

Hawk vs. Praying Mantis

A young Coopers Hawk swooped across the yard, landed on a branch, and proceeded to dismantle something yummy, scattering little bits on the driveway below. One piece fluttered down like a feather, but, after the hawk flew off, we found this:

Praying Mantis - wing
Praying Mantis – wing

It wasn’t a feather, it was an entire wing!

A few feet away, we found another:

Praying Mantis - wing parts
Praying Mantis – wing parts

Not that there was any doubt, but these parts clinched the identification:

Praying Mantis - foreleg and wing parts
Praying Mantis – foreleg and wing parts

Some days earlier, we admired eight Praying Mantises on the decorative grasses and bushes out front. Perhaps it was this one:

Praying Mantis - brown wing covers - in grass
Praying Mantis – brown wing covers – in grass

Or this one, a few feet away:

Praying Mantis - brown wing covers - on bush
Praying Mantis – brown wing covers – on bush

We don’t know what, if any, the difference between brown and green wing covers might indicate. Age? Gender? Attitude? Skill level?

It’s a food chain out there!

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Walnut Husk Fly Damage

A recent Amazon purchase of three 3 lb bags of walnuts from a known-good seller arrived with many damaged nuts:

Damaged walnuts - detail
Damaged walnuts – detail

The damage matches what I read about Walnut Husk Fly infestations: shriveled kernels and terrible taste.

In round numbers, I found 8 oz of damaged nuts in each 3 lb bag, enough to ruin the entire batch. The seller immediately refunded the purchase price for all three bags, so there’s that.

It’s definitely not one of the counterfeit products plaguing Amazon, but I wonder why that lot didn’t fail incoming inspection.

I’m loathe to buy more walnuts for a while, though.

Memo to Self: Always inspect incoming purchases, even from reputable sellers!

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Monthly Image: Praying Mantis vs. Monarch Butterfly

The Butterfly Bush in front of the house attracts all kinds of insects, including Monarch Butterflies (shown here on the Goldenrod planted in the garden):

Monarch on Goldenrod - left
Monarch on Goldenrod – left

This year, the bush also attracted a Praying Mantis:

Praying Mantis in Butterfly Bush - 2019-09-05
Praying Mantis in Butterfly Bush – 2019-09-05

Then lunchtime happened:

Praying Mantis vs Monarch - 2019-09-11
Praying Mantis vs Monarch – 2019-09-11

A closer look:

Praying Mantis vs Monarch - detail - 2019-09-11
Praying Mantis vs Monarch – detail – 2019-09-11

Now, if that isn’t enough nightmare fuel for you, find some in your own neighborhood.

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Monthly Image: A Tree Full of Turtles

Spotted along Robinson Lane:

Tree full of turtles
Tree full of turtles

A closer look at the same number of pixels:

Tree full of turtles - detail
Tree full of turtles – detail

The little one way over on the left is definitely having an adventure!

I’d read of goats climbing trees, but never turtles.

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Pedestrian Hazard on the Hudson Valley Rail Trail

I ride slowly and ding my bell when overtaking pedestrians on the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, but this group of walkers paid almost no attention as I rode toward New Paltz:

HVRT New Paltz - Canada geese - Eastbound - 2019-07-16
HVRT New Paltz – Canada geese – Eastbound – 2019-07-16

I contented myself by practicing my slow-riding skills while they ambled along and, eventually, moved far to the left.

A few hours later, they seemed to be having a picnic in the grass:

HVRT New Paltz - Canada geese - Westbound - 2019-07-16
HVRT New Paltz – Canada geese – Westbound – 2019-07-16

We parted as friends, which is always pleasant.

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Monthly Science: Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Emergence

An industrious pair of Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Wasps assembled their nest last August:

Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Wasp Nest - side view
Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Wasp Nest – side view

Their offspring began emerging in early July, with our first picture on 3 July. I’ll leave the image file dates in place so you can reach your own conclusions:

IMG_20190703_184657 - Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Nest - right
IMG_20190703_184657 – Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Nest – right

We think a titmouse (a known predator) pecked some holes, including the upper hole on the middle tube, as they seemed to expose solid (and presumably inedible) chitin from the outside:

IMG_20190703_184647 - Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Nest - left
IMG_20190703_184647 – Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Nest – left

More holes appeared in a few days:

IMG_20190709_172632 - Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Nest - right
IMG_20190709_172632 – Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Nest – right

The irregular spacing along each tube suggests they don’t emerge in the reverse order of installation:

IMG_20190709_172623 - Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Nest - left
IMG_20190709_172623 – Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Nest – left

Three days later:

IMG_20190712_181634 - Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Nest - right
IMG_20190712_181634 – Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Nest – right
IMG_20190712_181625 - Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Nest - left
IMG_20190712_181625 – Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Nest – left

Two weeks after the first holes appeared:

IMG_20190717_172908 - Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Nest - right
IMG_20190717_172908 – Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Nest – right
IMG_20190717_172922 - Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Nest - left
IMG_20190717_172922 – Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Nest – left

No more holes have appeared since then, so it seems one young wasp emerges every few days.

This nest produced about a dozen wasps, with perhaps as many launch failures. We’ll (try to) remove it and examine the contents in a few months.

We expect they’ll start build nests all over the house in another month …

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Monthly Image: And Then There Were Two

The turkey hen who once had nine chicks, then seven, now has only two:

Turkey Hen with two chicks
Turkey Hen with two chicks

We haven’t seen the fox since it nailed the previous chick, but it may be responsible for taking a chick a day, every day, for a week.

We wonder if she misses the rest of her brood as much as we do …

Taken through two layers of 1950s window glass, zoomed all the way in, with a phone camera.

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