Monday, 14 July 2014

Insects eating things and warbler nests

I am back home after another long week and a bit up north looking for birds, plants, rattlesnakes, and more! I had been taking my camera with me more often on this July trip than I had earlier in the year, as the bugs weren't quite as bad this time around. Well, I guess they were pretty bad on some sites, but the Black Flies at least had really died down. The deerflies had definitely replaced them, however. It was a common theme to take a photo of a dragonfly that had just flagged one of the fighter-jet shaped Tabanids.

Slaty Skimmer

getting a better grip

Racket-tailed Emerald

Racket-tailed Emerald

With all the walking through shrubby areas and woodlands that I do, every now and then I stumble across a bird's nest. Some are easy, like a raptor's nest or a woodpecker's tree cavity, but other ones are more subtle.

This Black-throated Blue Warbler nest was cleverly tucked into the top of a Sugar Maple seedling at about waste height, and only visible from one angle.

Black-throated Blue Warbler nest

My highlight of the week however was this Ovenbird nest that I located. The Ovenbird is named for it's nest that it builds - a little oven shaped nest dug into a hillside or against a fallen branch, accessible from walking in through the side. I had never found one of these before and they can be very well hidden. One afternoon, a mouse-like bird scurrying away from my feet and flying up briefly to go into a thick black berry patch caught my attention. The nest only took a second to locate, just 30 centimeters from my foot.

Ovenbird nest

Inside were four speckled eggs.

Ovenbird nest

I left after a few moments so that I would not lead other animals towards the nest. Given how easily I found the nest, I wonder if her nest had failed already once previously if the eggs are this new. Most species had youngsters out of the nest already by this date.

Back to the insects eating things theme - here is a totally bad-ass Crab Spider knowing down on an unfortunate fly! I believe this is a female Misumena vatia, a species that is normally found on goldenrods (Solidago).

Misumena vatia

I thought that the pink stripe along the crab spiders abdomen was interestingly the exact same shade as the Common Milkweed flowers it was on. Interesting to think if that feature evolved due to the species close association with Common Milkweed?

I took the time to nab photos of these Dot-tailed Whitefaces. This is a common species, but I had never photographed one well before so I took the opportunity.

female Dot-tailed Whiteface

male Dot-tailed Whiteface

1 comment:

  1. Cool shot of the Crab Spider, among other things, Josh. Some crab spiders apparently regularly mimic the flower they are hiding out in, and can change their colour over a period of several days. I've seen brilliant yellow ones mimicking the goldenrods they are in. Others are white, with other variations.