More Fall

Top Photo: Juvenile northern mockingbird perched in rain garden shrubbery.

The juvenile northern mockingbird pictured here is perched on the white-berried variety of the native American beautyberry. The bird’s parent was in the next shrub loudly calling schek, schek, schek as it watched the younger bird pick through the berries of the shrub.

Reaching for a beautyberry.

The overall brownish hue and spots on its breast, and the light colored gape (corner of mouth or bill) easily mark this bird as a juvenile.

Wide-eyed juvenile mockingbird.

Certain dragonfly species are known to migrate north in the spring, breeding along the way and, presumably, their offspring migrating south in fall. Black saddlebags is one of those dragonflies. I’ve been seeing them here at the museum for the past few weeks.

Just passing through.

Black saddlebags are one of several species of dragonfly characterized as fliers. It’s frequently said of them, they don’t perch often. It’s true, they do spend much of their time flying, zipping around the pond or lake’s edges. But, every so often, they’ll perch at the top of a shrub or tip of a twig or weed, face into the wind and wait for food to come to them, or simply rest quietly on the end of a twig, out of the wind.

Female black saddlebags resting.

Towards the end of the day I saw a large day-glow green caterpillar attempting to cross the path in Catch the Wind. It was a giant silkworm moth caterpillar. At first I thought it might be a luna moth larva. But luna moth larvae have a light colored lateral line on either side of their bodies. And, it’s a bit late in the season for luna moth caterpillars.

Day-glo green caterpillar crossing path.

A quick search through “Caterpillars of Eastern North America” and I found what I was looking for. In fact, on the very next page from luna moth is the polyphemus moth (pg 242). It’s caterpillar is large, neon green with red or pink dots, very similar to luna moth.

Antheraea polyphemus, a giant silkworm.
Safe passage to the edge.

Another fall day.

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