Right off the bat, let me present the reader photos of the week sent in by local naturalist John Giesa, which show the absolutely astounding caterpillar of the white-marked tussock moth (Orgyia leucostigma). The moth looks pretty cool, too, but we haven’t captured an image of one of those yet. In the meantime, tell me this doesn’t look like the fine work of some skilled but exasperated graphic artist whose boss said, “looks good, but what if you added some white bristles sticking out of the top, too?”
Speaking of fine graphic arts, check out the amazing detail in the wing and leg of this Carolina grasshopper (Dissosteira carolina), also known as a Carolina locust, black-winged grasshopper, or road-duster, which I spotted in the middle of the center parking lot.
Meanwhile, back in the pond, there are even more catfish this morning, probably channel catfish, and these are both much larger and much smaller than the ones we saw Monday. The adults were easily 8-10 inches long, and the young were less than 1/2 an inch. As before, I’ve posted on youtube a short video showing them swimming around that you can watch by clicking on this link.
There’s also yet another new yellow flower opening in the park, especially in the wildflower meadow at the north end, and this time it appears to be field sow-thistle (Sonchus arvensis). There are several sow-thistle species in the Sonchus genus, and all appear to have similar dandelion-like yellow flowers, but this one grows in Wisconsin and has leaves closest to what I saw in the park. Of course, the pollinators are all over them, and I’m not yet sure about the first one (top/left), but the second one (bottom/right) is our ol’ buddy, the bicolored striped-sweat bee (Agapostemon virescens), that we saw just yesterday on a chicory blossom.
Lastly, thanks for all the comments yesterday about reaching 100 episodes. This whole project is a labor of love, of course, but your feedback helps get me out there even when I don’t quite feel like it at first. Hasta mañana.