Saturday, July 21, 2007

Uncooperative Underwing

The Moth Tree, on the East Drive between 72nd Street and the Boathouse, is oozing less moth-attractive sap this year, but the Mothers [rhymes with authors] are gathering there anyhow, ever hopeful. Last night the beautiful Ilia Underwing pictured below arrved a little after nine and proceeded to feast on sap, slurping it up with its long proboscis [ends with sis, not with kiss]. But it refused to open its forewings more than the sliver seen on the photo below. [Click on it to enlarge]

Here's a photo of a more cooperative Ilia, taken on July 23, 2006, also at the Moth Tree
Photos by M. Winn

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hawks dine with my publisher

Yesterday at 5 Bruce Yolton sent me this e-mail note:

At lunch time, I got a call from my company's Chief Operating Officer. Two Peregrine Falcons had joined our COO for lunch. They were both on a 20th Floor window ledge of the Flatiron Building. I only had my iPhone camera but the pictures came out fine.

Bruce works for my publisher's parent company and sent a copy of his note, along with a bunch of pictures, to my editor at Farrar Straus Giroux, whose office I had just left minutes earlier. Who says New York City isn't a small village?

Check out Bruce's website (if you don't already do so regularly,) for more of the story and more great pictures.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Fordham hawks--and check the postscript

Last spring Fordham political science professor Rich Fleisher kept us posted about Hawkeye and Rose, the redtail family nesting on the Fordham campus. He has been on vacation in Peru. He recently returned and sent an update:

On the days that I have been on campus, things have been quiet. I would have thought that given five Red Tails it would be easy to spot one or two of them but that has not been the case. I finally spotted Hawkeye up high on Keating Hall but no sign of Rose or the three youngsters.

Postscript from Marie: In case you were wondering, the first photo shows an Andean Condor. The second one is Hawkeye. Both were taken by Rich Fleisher.

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