Very worn Mulberry Wing
Proctocanthus rufus pair
I spent today poking around a few areas mostly in northern Middlesex county, mostly looking for bugs. Some highlights below:
Lancet Clubtail with Slender Spreadwing snack
Presumed Laphria sp Robber Fly, also with snack.
Common Buckeye (1 of 4!)
Brook Snaketail, the main highlight of the day, waiting for confirmation on some of the details but likely the northeasternmost for Mass. Also thought that spot should have a snaketail. Update: confirmed as first for the Merrimack watershed in MA.
Why it’s named
Also American Kestrel and a chickadee nest I could peer into, a very nice day.
And to follow up the birds of the year, some insects.
21 new odes, only 1 in Mass.
Runners up: Pygmy and Extra-striped Snaketail, Superb Jewelwing, Umber and Stygian Shadowdragon (DSA writeup still coming)
Best: Spatterdock Darner
10 new butterflies, 1 in Mass
Runners up: Mestra, Arctic Skipper, Pipevine Swallowtail
Best: Two-spotted Skipper
Barely looked for Tiger Beetles and Asilids this year, will have to change that next year.
I joined an insect survey at Bear Creek Sanctuary in Saugus yesterday. It was a bit dry for dragonflies but the butterflies weren’t too bad. Some highlights:
Nicely posed Common Ringlet
Bug of the day: Common Buckeye
Wandering Glider, this may be the first one I’ve seen land. Didn’t get particularly close before it took off unfortunately.
Spot-winged Glider. Semi-posed shot, I had caught him to show the group the spots and he paused here after I let him go.
I never got around to posting about the DSA Northeast Meeting from last July, but it’s time for the annual meeting. Here’s a couple videos that somehow star me from last year to give a taste.
(there’s 1:15 of not much happening in the second one before I pop up)
Would have been nicer if I wasn’t swinging and missing as much.
Thanks to Meena Haribal for posting these videos.
A few bugs from Myles Standish State Forest today while I’m sorting through pelagic photos (not too many good ones this year I’m afraid).
He wouldn’t slow down enough to get a shot off, so I just caught him for a few seconds.
Atlantic Bluet (presumably) and Beetle:
Skimming Bluet guarding:
They were mostly in tandem pairs. This one appeared to be ovipositing. The male appeared to drag the female headfirst into the water down to some aquatic plant before letting go. He then hovered above the plant and appeared to be guarding while she disappeared. I’m not sure if she’s visible in either photo (I did see her climbing along the plant before I starting taking photos but haven’t found her in either one yet). Both can be enlarged by clicking and then on All Sizes.
And one of 4 Black Ducks on the pond, I’m wondering if they could have bred there.
I didn’t get out birding this morning as I was busy fighting Verizon’s overzealous filters blocking all Massbird, but I eventually got out for the Mass Butterfly Club’s trip to Horn Pond Mountain.
Horn Pond Mountain’s a great place to explore but with the recent two weeks of lousy weather it was on the quiet stuff. We did see most of the expected stuff but in low numbers. However, almost everything was spectacularly fresh, obviously having emerged in the last day or so at the earliest.
A couple highlights:
Summer Azure basking with wings open (they almost never do so)
And no longer basking
This Banded Hairstreak was nearby
And this Edward’s Hairstreak was stunning.
Finally catching up with last weekend.
Saturday, I headed out to do my first concentrated odeing of the year. I started at the heron rookery in Littleton (which has dwindled quite a bit). Lots of bugs including many dragonflies (12+ species including FOY Chalk-fronted Corporal, Marsh Bluet, Sedge Sprite, and Eastern Pondhawk), a few butterflies, and assorted other things including 2 true bugs and my first Robber Flies of the year (photos of the last few aren’t good enough to show off).
The only cooperative ode was this pair of Aurora Damsels (actually many pairs were cooperative but this is the one I stopped to photo):
After that, it was on to Fort Pond Brook. I headed for the stream, where I picked up my first River Jewelwings of the year. There were some clubtails buzzing up and down along with many baskettails, but I couldn’t get a swing off. Working back out to the path, I found a mating pair of Stream Cruisers that posed very nicely:
And another Robbery Fly that didn’t photograph well. After restocking on tissues, I headed up the hill where there were lots of butterflies and dragonflies. Butterflies included my first Ringlets and Dusted Skippers of the year and dragonflies included many Lancet Clubtails and first of year Spangled Skimmers and Turquoise Bluets.
Things clouded up and started to look a bit threatening, so I decided not to check one last spot and headed home.
Sunday, I headed to Prospect Hill to check out a few birds. I was quite successful with that. Insect highlights included my first Twelve-spotted Skimmer of the year, an Eight-spotted Forester, and 16 species of butterfly including first of year Northern Cloudywing and Viceroy along with Dusted Skippers for the first time in a couple years on the hill and at least 4 American Ladies.
The birds will have to wait for another time…