Birds go ballistic!

Yikes it was a cold morning for June: 50°F, and the wind made if feel like 45°F. I had to break out a fuzzy hat, and maybe that’s what set off these red-winged blackbirds.

I was just walking around the pond on the paved path, minding my own business, and they were simply not having it! Besides all the shouting and glaring, there was a bunch of hovering just above me, which I found too mesmerizing even to think of taking a picture. Plus, I was worried about aerial projectiles, air-to-ground missiles, if you will.

Anyway, when I stopped by again on my way back south, they couldn’t care less, so at least I wasn’t too close to their nest or something. Maybe it’s the Stanley logo on the hat instead of Milwaukee Tool.

Meanwhile, the bugs were all still snug in their beds. Luckily, I’ve accumulated a couple of nice-looking bug pictures over the last couple of days that I’d better get out of the queue before they get too old.

First are these pair of common whitetail dragonflies (Libellula lydia). You may recall the male from Wednesday, on the left. He was enjoying the pavement again, but this time he allowed me a slightly clearer picture. Then I spotted what looks like a female, or so I thought, on the sand at the southern playground striking a similar pose. It turns out, according to the fine anonymous contributors at the Pedia of Wik, that:

females have a brown body and a different pattern of wing spots, closely resembling that of female twelve-spotted skimmer.

So that guy on the right above is an immature male common whitetail. As it turns out, I also managed to record a dragonfly that fits the female description:

But this one, on the right, truly is a female twelve-spotted skimmer, I believe. Man, it’s all so confusing! I wonder how even they manage to keep it straight.

Speaking of confusion, our next bug, which looks like a giant mosquito, is actually a crane fly, “a common name referring to any member of the insect family Tipulidae.”

Despite their alarming appearance, crane flies neither bite (fore end) nor sting (nether end) (though an ovipositor may look like a stinger),” but the parts that fascinates me are the “two tiny, stemmed knobs called haltare on their thorax,” which are “a vestigial second pair of wings … used for balance,” says the self-described Bug Lady at UWM. Wild, eh?

I’ve got some nice new flower pictures, too, but we’re nearing the end of my attention span, so I’ll just have to save those for the next morning when I come up empty.

Lastly, for those of you just joining us, welcome aboard. If you haven’t been keeping up on the website, I want to point out the big news from yesterday is the launching of our fundraising calendar project. The only detail for sure so far is that we’re doing a calendar, and the rest remains to be sorted out. If you have an opinion about it, I’d love to hear it, and if you know someone who might be interested, please forward them this link: signsoflifeinestabrookpark.net

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic

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