A little view of the front yard as a storm dropped down from the north west.
Be sure to visit Skywatch Friday this week.
I was fairly excited to find this dragonfly a week ago a week ago in Ipswich, Massachusetts. The best guess that I have is that it is a female Ashy Clubtail. The second choice would be a Dusky Clubtail, my books tell me that it is best determined “in the hand”.
This female has been through a great deal. Her wings are missing bits and pieces.
This dragonfly was about 100 yards away from the Ipswich river.
Just for fun, here is a female Blue Dasher.
This is one of my nemesis species. I’ve botched so many American Redstart photos that is isn’t funny. I was walking along a deep woods path to one of my favorite dragon locations. I could hear a Black-and-white Warbler in a nearby tangle. Then up popped this guy about 20 feet from me!
He grabbed a bug and headed out for the nest. While I was waiting for the B&W Warbler to come out, the Redstart came back! He flew right in my direction, about two feet away from my face as he went over to the other side of the path. I was able to get two half-decent shots out of about ten.
Later that day, I ran into my other nemesis. The Belted Kingfisher. I threw away about 80% of the pixels to get these pictures. Bear with me, sometimes I will post a shot like this just to change my luck with a species.
I was walking along the Ipswich River in Ipswich, Massachusetts and found these moths. I was feeling quite excited to find a new bug. They seemed to be everywhere. When I got home, my excitement was diminished by learning that what we are looking at there are Gypsy Moths. The This bug is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa.
I have walked in the woods of Vermont and Massachusetts for nearly all of my life I’ve never seen these, but as a boy I knew of them and their destruction.
The Gypsy Moth was brought here to the United States by Professor E. Leopold Trouvelot in the 1860s. He was trying to identify and breed a silkworm species that would survive in North America.
Interestingly enough, Trouvelot was breeding Gypsy Moths in his back yard. He noted that some of the larva escaped and he knew that this would have dire consequences. He tried to alert a local entomologist, but no steps were taken to divert the disaster.
In 1890, the first outbreaks started. The effect of these outbreaks is that whole forests become defoliated by the caterpillars. The preferred target are oak trees, however other deciduous hardwoods are attacked and they will even attack pines if the hardwoods are not available.
Did I mention that this all started in Medford, Massachusetts? You can read more about this on the USDA Forest Service web site.
The male moth has plumose antennae to detect the sex pheromone emitted by the female.
After mating, the female lays eggs in a single mass covered with hairs from the abdomen. Most egg masses are located on tree trunks. The winter is spent in the egg stage. In the spring the eggs will hatch and the larva will climb up to the tops of the trees and suspend by a strand and wait for the wind to take them to a new location.
An overcast day can be a good time to shoot. I found a Mulberry Wing
Dragonflies may not be out on an overcast day, but if you can find them, then it is a great opportunity to get photos without the blown out catch light spot in the eyes.
I have a special post today. All of these images are tied together by a single Mulberry tree. This year the bugs are very light and I have been able to spend some early morning time capturing the birds that visit this tree.
Male Baltimore Oriole
Female Baltimore Oriole
Juvenile Baltimore Oriole
Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Be sure to visit Wild Bird Wednesday this week
We do not get many Hairy Woodpeckers here in Ipswich. This year I noticed that a female spent the winter and this is the first time that I have seen a male. He was poaching mulberries from the tree. Here he is in the morning light trying to get the mulberry down.