Monday, May 25, 2015

Butterfly catches eyes of BioBlitz hikers

We spotted this beauty along the oak trail during our May 22,2015 BioBlitz hikes with Mrs. Black's 3rd/4th grade class. Still working on i.d. and hope to post this soon.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Indian Milkweed (also commonly called Woolly Milkweed) provides food for hungry caterpillars

Indian or Woolly Milkweed, Asclepias eriocarpa, with monarch caterpillar and red-spotted milkweed beetle adult. Pictures taken May 4,2015 on the LATO trail. mk
We found this small monarch caterpillar on the same group of A. eriocarpa during the May 14,2015 hike on the LATO trail with Missy Teel's 2nd grade class. An exciting discovery for the kids!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

White-breasted Nuthatch has a fitting name

The White-breasted Nuthatch gets its name from its habit of jamming large nuts and acorns into tree bark, then whacking them with their sharp bill to “hatch” out the seed from the inside.

They eat mainly insects, including weevil larvae, wood-boring beetle larvae, other beetles, tree hoppers, scale insects, ants, gall fly larvae, caterpillars, stinkbugs, click beetles, and spiders.  They also eat seeds and nuts, including acorns, hawthorn, sunflower seeds, and sometimes crops such as corn.

The clutch size is 5-9 eggs.  They have one brood.  The incubation period is 13-14 days and the nesting period is 26 days.

Females build the nest on their own, lining the nest cavity with fur, bark, and lumps of dirt.  She then builds a nest cup of fine grass, shredded bark, feathers, and other soft material.  White-breasted Nuthatches often reuse their nest holes in subsequent years.

They build their nests in natural tree cavities or abandoned woodpecker holes.  They sometimes enlarge these holes but rarely excavate them entirely on their own ( as Red-breasted Nuthatches often do).

These photos were taken on May 2, 2015, on the LATO trail.

Ash-throated Flycatchers are busy now

The Ash-throated Flycatchers are busy getting some of the birdboxes ready for their nests.  The clutch size is 2-7 eggs. 
Ash-throated Flycatchers eat arthropods and small fruit.  Sometimes, they eat small reptiles and mammals.  It captures insects off vegetation and on the ground.  It's a “flycatcher” somewhat less often.
These photos were taken on May 2, 2015, on the LATO trail. mk 
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Friday, May 1, 2015

Bushtit nest discovery

This Bushtit nest was first noticed on the LATO trail on Sunday, April 25, 2015, by Ruby Klatt.  I took the photos on Friday, May 1, 2015.   

The male and female Bushtit spend a month or more building their hanging nest.  The nest may hang up to twelve inches below the anchor point.  There is a hole near the top that leads down into the nest.  The nest is made using spider webs and plant material.  Bushtits stretch the nest downward by sitting in it as the nest is being constructed.  Feathers, fur, and downy plant material are used to insulate the nest.  The outside is camouflaged using bits taken from nearby plants and the tree the nest is built in.  

The male and female Bushtit plus helpers sleep in the nest while it is active.  The nest is often used for a second brood each season.  There may be from 4-10 eggs in the nest.  The incubation period is 12-15 days, and the nestling period is 18 days. mk