Tuesday, January 27, 2009

January 21, 2009

Temperatures in the 60s again today – but not for long. I went out in search of Eastern Tent Caterpillar egg cases, but couldn't find one. I did find 2 flies – a blow fly, but the other one had to remain unidentified. I also kicked up a small overwintering grasshopper (Caelifera) and a small moth. I had hoped to photograph the moth, which almost landed on a small shrub. But after fluttering through the shrub, it disappeared into the top of an adjacent tree.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

January 9, 2009

Back into the high 60s today. While out on a walk to enjoy the warm, sunny day, I stopped under a Goldenrain Tree (Sapindaceae Koelrueteria paniculata) where I found 2 Red-shouldered Bugs (Jadera sp.). Here's a photo of a Red-shouldered Bug on a seed pod under a Goldenrain Tree taken November 2005.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

January 3, 2009

Wow, a high of 67 F today! Almost hard to remember it's winter and not early spring.

I didn't take my camera along on our bike ride today, figuring I wouldn't need it – after all it's early January. But I'd have used it if I had it.

When we got to our turn-around point, we sat at a bench along the creek. After a few minutes, we noticed our orange and red bikes and helmets had attracted a honey bee. A little while later, I saw what I thought was a Polygonia sp. flutter through the woods. Unfortunately not a good enough look to rule out Goatweed Leafwing.

Before we left the bench, a 4 mm long rove beetle landed on Jim's shirt. And then we noticed a tiny weevil crawling along the trail.

Friday, January 02, 2009

January 2, 2009

A sunny and relatively warm (47 F) day prompted me to take a short break from working on the butterfly and moth field guide to go for a walk. I searched a pipevine (Aristolochia sp.) for chrysalids; the vine fed dozens of Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor) caterpillars during the summer. No luck with the butterflies, but I did find 2 praying mantis egg cases. Unfortunately, they both appeared to be Chinese mantids instead of native species.

Highlight of the day was a swarm of what appeared to be winter crane flies (Diptera Trichoceridae). I tried to catch one for a firm id, but the flies were much quicker than my hands. They look like small crane flies, but can be separated by the presence of ocelli on the winter crane flies. Larvae overwinter in decaying plant matter. Here are a couple of photos from a previous post.