Questionmark Pears

There are more than a few Bradford pear trees on our 84 acre campus. One, a volunteer that sprouted next to our north parking lot has been dropping fruit. The rotting fruit is attracting flies, bees, and butterflies. One butterfly in particular is the question mark. It belongs to a group of butterflies known as anglewings, referring to the angular edges of the wings. Question marks are named for small whitish markings on the underwings, a “c” and a dot.Read more

Spring has Sprung!

If you needed more proof, other than the 60 and 70 (even 80) degree weather we’ve been having, that spring has come early, here’s more evidence to the affirmative. I’ve been hearing spring peepers, upland chorus frogs, pickerel frogs, cricket frogs, and even American toads calling. And, I’ve been seeing a handful of species of butterfly fluttering about, including question mark, spring azure, American snout, sleepy orange, and falcate orangetip. The peepers and chorus frogs don’t surprise me. A couple of nightsRead more

Butterflies are flying!

On Saturday, March 5th a Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis) landed on one of the river rocks that make up the border around the U-shaped pond in Catch the Wind. I’ve been seeing butterflies for several weeks, but this is the first one that sat long enough for me to get a photo. And, if they (the butterflies) don’t sit still it’s not always easy to identify them, especially one like the Question Mark that has a close relative that looksRead more

The Wheel, a Hopper, a Borer, and a Carpet Beetle

Dragonfly and damselfly species are picking up. Seen this period were (dates next to names indicate day in which that species was first observed this season) Fragile Forktail, Citrine Forktail (4/18), Orange Bluet (4/27), Skimming Bluet (4/28), Common Green Darner, Swamp Darner, Common Baskettail, Eastern Pondhawk (4/25), Blue Corporal (4/25), Blue Dasher (4/27), Common Whitetail, and Black Saddlebags (4/27). The Skimming Bluets in the image at left are configured in what is referred to as the “copulation wheel.” This configurationRead more

Aquatics, Early Butterflies, and Bees and Wasps

Although the first few days of March were cold and snowy, by the end of the first week it had warmed enough so that many insects, absent for months, were once again busily going about their daily routines. Aquatic insects observed in the Wetlands during the first half of March were Whirligig Beetle, various diving beetles, Water Boatman, Backswimmer, and Water Strider. Cabbage White, Falcate Orangetip (3/11), Sleepy Orange, Orange Sulphur, Spring Azure (3/11), Questionmark, Mourning Cloak (3/11), and AmericanRead more

Exploratory Outing

The warm weather which arrived on the 7th of February brought out two butterflies that winter as adults tucked away under tree bark or in small cavities in trees: a well-worn American Snout and an equally worn Questionmark. A very fresh Sleepy Orange was also seen and had apparently emerged from a chrysalis not long prior to being observed flying along the path on the north side of the Wetlands. A paper wasp seen on February 2 was slowly walkingRead more

Some Most Unusual Beetles and other Goodies

While watching a small Northern Water Snake stalk frogs from the Wetlands Overlook, I happened to see something wiggling amongst the dense plants in the water. A quick look through my binoculars revealed two large Predaceous Diving Beetle larvae locked in mortal combat, one had a death grip on the other. These larvae were quite large. Depending upon the species, Predacious Diving Beetle larvae, or Water Tigers as they’re sometimes called, can get to 70 mm (2.75”). They have largeRead more