You are viewing urbpan

Dedham trail day!

This past Saturday I went to Dedham Trail Day. There were tables from local businesses and organizations (free pulled pork and ice cream!) and a friendly atmosphere. But the main reason I went was because my friend dedhamoutdoors was going to lead a nature walk on a newly opened trail! photo IMG_6470_zps913e5d80.jpg
As I waited for the nature walk to start, I walked along the milkweed looking for creatures. I found several longlegged flies, but they move so quick that the only way to catch one was to get this shot of its shadow from below.

Read more...Collapse )

May Urban Nature Walk at Cutler Park

 photo IMG_6207_zpsd9d75b69.jpg
Yesterday we held the May Urban Nature Walk despite the technicality that it was June first. We went to Cutler Park, a 600 acre marsh on the Charles River. We had more participants than any previous walk, I suspect, although it's hard to tell because some people arrived later and some left early! There were three small children, one teenager, and two dogs. All present were enthusiastic nature lovers, including people who knew a lot about plants, reptiles, birds, insects, mushrooms, and so on. These photos are mostly about the people--I can't wait to see everyone's pictures of all the cool creatures we found.

Read more...Collapse )
 photo IMG_6046_zps1b6b0661.jpg
Alexis cleans the coop.

 photo IMG_6042_zps421e5ba0.jpg
A friendly face by the back door.

 photo IMG_6045_zps0eb9580f.jpg
Oh, excuse me! I didn't realize that the nook between the trash and the compost was occupied! Get a room, you two. (They did--we found them in the compost bin later).

3:00 snapshot #1361: Charlie in Turtle Pond

 photo IMG_2779_zps0a8c1919.jpg
On Sunday, Alexis and I took Charlie and Albee to Turtle Pond. It was pretty warm but not as hot as it has been earlier in the summer. The Pond had many bathers in attendance, some of whom appear to be riding Charlie's head.

Read more...Collapse )

3:00 snapshot #1317: Eclosion Box and more

 photo IMG_1739_zpsbf9ddbeb.jpg

Look who's freshly eclosed! Why it's a... oh, dip I forgot to make note of what species these butterflies are. Suffice it to say they're all native North American species, mostly from Florida. If you really want to know you should go to the Franklin Park Zoo and go into the Butterfly Pavilion. On these wicked hot days when all the birds and mammals are sacked out and panting, the butterflies are super enervated.

12 more from the pavilionCollapse )

100 More Species #13: Agreeable tiger moth


Agreeable tiger moth Spilosoma congrua
Agreeable, no?

The caterpillar of this moth feeds on dandelion and plantain. It's a wonder it isn't even more common in the city and suburbs.

These two seem to agree. Smaller male (with larger, pheromone-gathering antennae) on right, female on left.

100 Species #91: Bicolored bolete


This bicolored bolete (Boletus bicolor/campestris complex) was growing beneath our shagbark hickory tree in the front yard.

"Bolete" is a non-specific term for mushrooms that produce spores through a spongy surface rather than the more familiar "gills." At one time all such mushrooms were in the genus Boletus, but as knowledge increased, these were split into dozens of other genera. Now just a few species of boletes are boletus. One dangerous misconception about these mushrooms is that none are poisonous--or that simple rules can distinguish poisonous ones from edible ones. The truth is that identification to species is the only way to be sure any mushroom is poisonous, and several species of bolete can make a person quite ill.

Bicolored boletes are a complex of several species of yellow and red mushrooms with flesh that bruises blue when damaged. You can see in the photograph that when I pulled some grass around the mushroom (to get a clearer shot of the mushroom) my hand brushed against the spore bearing surface which quickly turned blue. Boletus bicolor is supposed to bruise slowly, while B. campestris bruises quickly--but campestris has very small pores, and this mushroom has relatively large pores. This specimen was also heavily water-logged, which could probably affect both field markings. It will have exist in ambiguous realm of a "species complex" for now.

Not far away, a pair of dusky slugs work at making more mushroom-munching mollusks.

100 Species #85: Jagged ambush bug


These jagged ambush bugs, Phymata sp., are clinging to one of the stalks of goldenrod featured in an earlier entry.

Yes, yes, these ambush bugs appear to be gettin' in on. However, this insect is known to practice pre- and post-copulatory guarding behavior. In order to help ensure that he is the only male to fertilize the female, he'll cling to her back and deter other suitors. The female may not have even accepted this male yet, or maybe he's old news. I only stayed long enough to get the picture.

Jagged ambush bugs are lumpy and dense, with coloration that breaks up their outline. (The genus name means "tumorous.") They can be pretty hard to notice on a plant, hanging out near the flower. There they sit, motionless for as long as it takes, waiting for a pollinating insect of the right size (larger prey for the females, which are bigger than the males). Then they grab it with those inflated-looking front legs--"raptorial forelegs," a fun adaptation that has evolved in several species of true bugs, as well as in mantids--and suck out the goo inside with a beak-like "rostrum."

Crocus and bee, doin' it.


Thanks to reader SB of Chestnut Hill Massachusetts for providing this photo of a crocus participating in an ecosystem in North America. This hairy little bee is just covered with crocus pollen. It's a lovely picture as well as a clear answer to my earlier query.


The Urban Pantheist

Latest Month

October 2014



RSS Atom
Powered by
Designed by Witold Riedel