Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cricket Crawl coming up

Save the Date: Friday, September 11
(rain date: September 12)
Starting at Dusk
The First Annual NYC (and surrounding area) Cricket Crawl
A one night project for anyone interested in crickets and katydids

Help us count crickets and katydids in the New York City area
All you need are good ears, the ability to learn the simple calls of 7 species, and a cell phone.
For Details and Instructions go to the Cricket Crawl Website:

To enlarge this study of local crickets and katydids, we are also looking for art, poetry, video and literature
on the subject of crickets and katydids
to be posted on the Cricket Crawl website.
Please send submissions to Proteus Gowanus, at
Note: This project is designed so it can be replicated in any city with singing insects....
Please feel free to take the idea and recreate it locally. Results and information will be posted back at the site.
Contact Sam Droege ( for further information.

The Cricket Crawl is a collaborative venture among the following organizations:
American Museum of Natural History
Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), New York - North Jersey Young Members
New York Entomological Society
Proteus Gowanus Interdisciplinary Gallery and Reading Room
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Discover Life

The cricket sang,
And set the sun,
And workmen finished, one by one,
Their seam the day upon.

The low grass loaded with the dew,
The twilight stood as strangers do
With hat in hand, polite and new,
To stay as if, or go.

A vastness, as a neighbor, came,--
A wisdom without face or name,
A peace, as hemispheres at home,--
And so the night became.

- Emily Dickinson
Dear Readers: I'll be participating ! Hope you can too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stunning mystery moth and mystery solved

The images above and below, printed here courtesy of
were photographed yesterday in the Shakespeare Garden. They reveal another clearwing moth, captured while sipping nectar -- yes, that's his proboscis you see below the antennae.

But what is its species? I've spent more hours than I'm willing to admit looking through photographs on two major moth websites: The Moth Photographer's Group and BugGuide.

I haven't come up with an answer. My first thought was that it is a Maple Callus Borer Moth - Synanthedon acerni. But it doesn't look quite right.Now I've written an SOS to my favorite moth expert, Hugh McGuinness. I'll let you know what he says. [McGuinness is the hero of a chapter of Central Park in the Dark called "Miss Jones, you're beautiful"]

In the meanwhile, you can try to solve the mystery yourself by clicking on the links below. They will take you to the clearwing family -- Sessiidae--on each site.

Hugh McGuinness quickly answered:
Hi Marie,

It's Hemaris thysbe, a Sphinx Moth.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rebekah and Tom report

Is it a lumbermill? No, it's the north part of Central Park.
Photo by Rebekah Creshkoff - 8/22/09

Rebekah Creshkoff writes:

I was away for the major storm last Tuesday. The North End of the park -- my end -- bore the brunt of it. Now there's an amazing number of tree crews and their trucks and equipment around, and the constant din of wood chippers and buzz saws. Trucks tearing up vast swathes of lawn and patches of woods transformed to clearcut slopes. Here's a link to the pix I shot on Sat. after three days of cleanup, but they don't begin to convey the extent of the damage:


Tom Fiore's report:

Hi Marie,

I have been away for a few days, and on my 4th visit to Central Park's north end viewing the sad tree situation, it truly was difficult to take in... some of these had become like old friends, simply expected to be there always. Life has many lessons. I'm not happy with how many trees that were damaged but not downed will be removed and with other aspects of the "clean-up" yet at the same time I do understand the ways & necessities of the folks that are making decisions and for what's being done there. In some other city parks such damages would take months or years to be assessed and in some areas the woods would simply be left to heal on their own schedule in their own way. Central is different for many reasons yet knowing that, I still have an internal view of a wild-ness.

I had a walk around most of the north end this Monday morning and it was difficult to see all the large trees being cut down, or cut up, limbs and branches shredded into chips or just hauled away. There seemed to be well over a dozen tree crews out, likely even more than that, from the reservoir path to both the northern corners and many places between. The damage is indeed worse than I originally had seen, a day after the storm of 8/18. More than a few areas in the north end will look rather different than before to anyone who noticed trees, and probably most park regulars would at least subconsciously feel a difference even without being here this week or in coming weeks while all the 'clean-up' work continues. It is very, very hard to watch a century-old tree being taken down.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

How did the wildlife survive the storm?

photographed by Bruce Yolton on 8/16/09

Many readers have written to ask how Central Park's various critters survived last Tuesday's storm. Here's at least one happy answer: On 8/20/09, two days after the storm, Bruce Yolton wrote on his blog [see above for link]:

Tonight, we heard both of the North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls loud and clear. The female called loudly and the male answered. It was great to have confirmation that they had both survived the storm.