Saturday, August 30, 2008

Night and Day

After several years of night-time observing I'm beginning to make the transition to day. This week I spent several bright sunny afternoons with Nick Wagerik and the bug watchers at their various observation posts. Here are two highlights:

Ambush Bug on Black-eyed Susan at the Shakespeare Garden.
This small insect stays in one spot for hours, waiting for prey.

Dogwood Borer Moth [Synanthedon scitula] seen on Mountain Mint patch near Sparrow Rock. This insect is tiny - smaller than a penny. One of the Clearwing moths, this one uses protective mimicry as a defense. The Mountain Mint was buzzing with bees and wasps, and this little creature looked just like them. But it's a moth, and a new one for our Central Park list.

Now, back to last week's unidentified micromoths. Regular website correspondent Nan Holmes saw my photos and wrote:

Dear Marie,
Micromoths? How micro is micro?. Is there a definition to this or do we just mean very tiny?
And I wrote back, smart-alec style:

Well, my [non-scientific] definition of micromoth is any damn lepidopteran too small to be included in Covell.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Many apologies Nan.Two of the three turn out to be in Covell's Field Guide to Eastern Moths. After I posted the photos Davie Rolnick, one of the charter members of the Central Park Mothers [rhymes with authors] wrote in from MIT [he is just starting his first year there] with an ID to #3. Then Hugh McGuinnes provided IDs for the two two others, with one of them also included in Covell.

Below the photos I posted last week, now identified:
Tufted Apple Bud Moth -- Platynota idaeusalis
Covell Plate 60 #16

Scoparia species

Elegant Grass-Veneer Moth -- Microcrambus elegans
Covell- Plate 64 #5

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Flying creatures last Thursday

Flutter Fly [taxoneura sp.] at Turtle Pond
Photo by Charles S. Matson

Note: There's an informal insect study group that convenes near the stand of Boneset on the northern bank of Turtle Pond on most non-rainy afternoons. Quiet observers are always welcome.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Strawberry Fields
photo by Bruce Yolton

On 8/21/08 Bruce wrote:
For the next few weeks, anyone wanting to see a Central Park Hummingbird, just needs to find the Jewelweed [now blooming] on the south central edge of the Strawberry Field lawn and wait for a Hummingbird. They usually have a route they repeat every twenty minutes in the early evening, so with a little patience you're bound to see one.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Night at the Shakespeare Garden plus a warbler

At the black light last night-- a Differential Cricket
Click on image to enlarge

And three micromoths - as yet unidentified

photos above by M. Winn

Meanwhile, earlier that day
[click on image to enlarge]

Photographer Beth Bergman sent in the photo above, and wrote:

Dear Marie,
Seen Sunday, August 24th, 12:27 pm in Maintenance Field, second tall tree on East side of field facing North. I think this is a blue wing warbler. This is the most complete image. It was doing the standard warbler behavior- flit, flit.
Beth Bergman

PS It IS indeed a Blue-winged Warbler.