Episode 150

That’s right, this is our 150th day of continuous reporting, since all the way back to March 30, and the heat and humidity are definitely back. The river has risen again, too, due to the heavier rain they received upstream on Tuesday, I suppose, and taking its sweet time to get here.

The new find for today is actually a threefer, if you can believe it. I stumbled across this amazing scene on the river trail just south of the falls, and what we have here seems to be:

  1. a long, narrow, and colorful ailanthus webworm moth (Atteva aurea), an ermine moth. Yes, a moth that resembles a beetle when not in flight, but a wasp in flight, which I didn’t think to witness;
  2. a slew of tiny, triangular bold medicine moths (Chrysendeton medicinalis). Their wingspan isn’t even 1/2 an inch;
  3. and they all are crowded onto the just opening blossoms of some grass-leaved goldenrod or flat-top goldentop (Euthamia graminifolia), a native member of the daisy family, and that second common name isn’t even a typo.

Another astounding sight I got to witness this morning is our striking female black and yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia), whom we just saw on Monday in the bull thistle, quickly handling a fresh catch in her web, some sort of small cricket or katydid. And, once she had it all wrapped up, in just a minute or so, she immediately went back to her post on the stabilimentum she created down the center of her web. If you look closely at the middle image, you can even see the wide band of silk strands she is secreting to wrap her prey way more efficiently than she should could with just one strand at a time.

Meanwhile, the bull thistle continues to do a yeoman’s job of keeping everyone fed. This gallery of familiar faces include a couple of Peck’s skippers, a female eastern black swallowtail butterfly (Papilio polyxenes), and, of course, a couple of bumblebees.

That’s it for today, I’m afraid. Just bugs and blossoms. Sorry about that. I’ll try for some bigger critters next time. Maybe a salamander. We haven’t seen one of those yet, and who doesn’t want to see a salamander, right? I know I sure would like to.

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

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