Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hawks and moths and hawkmoths

Green Leuconycta [Leuconycta diphtheroides]
photo by M. Winn

The recent flurry of excitement about Pale Male made it to the front page of two New York tabloids. The happy outcome should make everyone a bit wary about newspaper exaggeration. Now that our favorite hawk is a superstar, the nespapers will use him to sell papers the way they use superstars, no matter how remote their story is to the truth. And though many of you were on tenterhooks unnecessarily, the whole episode served a good purpose. The miserable wretch whose picture Lincoln snapped as the guy spat and threw pebbles at Pale Male was exposed to the world for the creep that he is. I hope the Fish & Wildlife Service gives him a whopping fine for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Or perhaps the guillotine is called for.

Thje moth season began a few weeks ago when we set up our "black" insect-attracting light in the Shakespeare Garden and had our first customers appear on our sheet. The moth pictured above is The Green Leuconycta [Leuconycta diphtheroides] a brand new moth for the Central Park List. Our total is now up to 106. This is not really a lot, by the standards of mothers [rhymes with authors] but for us it's pretty exciting.

And talking about hawks and moths, we haven't seen any hawk moths yet this year, but a common one for Central Park is the Nessus Sphinx, a moth that usually comes at dusk -- crepuscular, as that behavior is called. Here's a picture:
The Nessus Sphinx - Amphion floridensis
Photo by Bill Oehlke