Category Archives: Fauna

Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar (not an American Dagger Moth Caterpillar)

This fellow made his way across the bluestone recently. I gave him a pretty wide berth – close enough to get a photograph, far enough that his spikey hairs didn’t touch me as they are somewhat poisonous and will cause irritation.

Thanks to gsmith and Carolyn King who correctly identified this critter as a Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar.  The original post incorrectly identified it as an American Dagger Moth Caterpillar.

Ms. King further notes ‘This is a Banded Tussock Moth caterpillar. American Dagger would have a pair of black “whiskers” about 1/3 of the way back, and wouldn’t have that row of dark-tipped “tussocks” down the middle.’

Gratitude for the clarification!!

Wikipedia reports:
Halysidota tessellaris, also called the pale tiger moth, banded tussock moth, and tessellated halisidota, is in the family Erebidae and the tribe Arctiini, the tiger moths.

Then, I noticed that nature had copied the pattern of his yellow starlike fur in green on the forest floor.

Cicada

This creature stopped by the patio for a few hours this morning, and was quite cooperative in having it’s picture taken.

This photo I think best showed off the detail of it’s beautiful striped and furred face.

Cicada’s are the source of the high pitched sound that seems almost like a buzz saw. 

Wikipedia reports:

The genus Neotibicen are large-bodied insects of the family Cicadidae that appear in summer or early fall in eastern North America. Common names include cicada, harvestfly, jar fly, and the misnomer locust…

Neotibicen species are the most common cicada in the Eastern United States. Unlike periodical cicadas, whose swarms occur at 13- or 17-year intervals, Neotibicen species can be seen every year, hence their nickname “annual cicadas”…

Neotibicen cicadas are 1–2 inches (25–51 mm) long, with characteristic green, brown, and black markings on the top of the thorax, and tented, membranous wings extending past the abdomen…

Bear

On the way to breakfast last week, this fellow was out for an amble through the state game lands.

I rolled down my window, and hollered “Hey, hey you!”. 

He made it clear that he had heard me by taking a couple of faster steps in the direction he was headed.

He also made it clear that he had absolutely no interest in conversing with me, as he refused to even look in my direction.

As another car approached, I put my arm out the window, directing the other drivers attention to the bear.

“See the labrador over there?” I asked, as at this distance, the bear could have easily been mistaken for a dog at first glance.

“Why that’s a bear!!” the woman exclaimed as we all laughed.

“I’ve been coming here for 68 years, and this is the first time I’ve seen a bear!” It was nice to share the experience with her.

Later breakfasting at Arlo’s a couple and their two young children sat next to us. We told our story, and the young boy told his story of having seen two dogs chase a bear just the day before!

 

Toad

The recent heat wave drove us to sleep on the patio.

One morning upon awakening, I noticed Mr. Toad nestled not far from the futon.

Figuring he’d eat some bugs, I left him be. By the next morning, he was gone, probably on to the next pond in search of companionship.

Temporary House Guests

Several weeks ago, I noticed a robin frequenting the eaves over the back patio.

After several days of this, I looked up and saw her new nest. Trying to save us both disappointment, I removed the nest and placed it on top of a pile of dead branches in the yard. 

Not an optimum relocation; I had hoped adequate. Nearby enough I thought she would find the nest in it’s new location, and either reoccupy or relocate.

My heart sank the next day when I noticed a blue egg shattered on the patio. Apparently, I moved the nest the day before she had no choice but to fill it.  Maybe from habit, or absent any other option, she left the egg on the ledge from where I had removed the nest. It must have rolled off the now smooth surface and smashed on the blue stone below.

A week or so later, a black bird, a starling I’m guessing, started to behave just as the robin had, swooping in under the patio porch roof, and then disappearing in the eaves.

Though I knew what she was doing, this time I didn’t do anything about it.

A week or so ago, a chorus of chirps erupted from deep under the tin roof. They’ll leave soon enough. It’s said that once some birds fly from the nest they grow so much they are unable to fit back in.

Once they abandon the nest, unable to return, they must continue on to their future.

After the youngsters make their way, I’ll invite the mother to leave, clean the mess made from their dwelling and contemplate ways to keep this from happening again.

Meanwhile, I listen daily as their voices thicken and strengthen, waiting as their wings do same, until they take flight.

 

 

White Geese

Meeting to allow substance abuse recovery center in Herrick Township
June 4 @ 7:00 pm
Herrick Township supervisors and the public will meet to discuss a change of use application allowing a substance abuse recovery center to operate on the current Stone Bridge Inn and Restaurant property. Monday June 4 7PM Township building

 

Unlike their cousins the snow geese who pass over in very early spring on their way back north and rarely rest in the neighborhood,  this couple floats around a local pond most of the time.

Wikipedia reports:

In Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia, the original domesticated geese are derived from the greylag goose Anser anser. In eastern Asia, the original domesticated geese are derived from the swan goose Anser cygnoides; these are commonly known as Chinese geese.

Both have been widely introduced in more recent times, and modern flocks in both areas (and elsewhere, such as Australia and North America) may consist of either species or hybrids between them.

Chinese geese may be readily distinguished from European geese by the large knob at the base of the bill, though hybrids may exhibit every degree of variation between the two species.

Cardinal

Yesterday, a brilliant cardinal came to, and knocked on the living room’s north window.

Given it’s persistence on wanting entry to the house, I wondered if the bird was someone I knew or had met before. 

A bud vase filled with feathers found, hawk, turkey, and others, decorates the view from one of the living room’s east windows.

Drawn there today, the cardinal perched, then knocked again before taking to wing.

Red Bellied Woodpecker

Wikipedia reports:
The red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) is a medium-sized woodpecker of the family Picidae. It breeds mainly in the eastern United States, ranging as far south as Florida and as far north as Canada. Its common name is somewhat misleading, as the most prominent red part of its plumage is on the head; the red-headed woodpecker, however, is another species that is a rather close relative but looks quite different.

Orange Orb Weaver

Walking out to greet the UPS man, I almost stepped on this little critter. Reminded me of a pumpkin.

Wikipedia reports:

Araneus marmoreus, commonly called the marbled orb-weaver, is a species of spider belonging to the family Araneidae. It has a Holarctic distribution.

Araneus marmoreus is found throughout all of Canada to Alaska, the northern Rockies, from North Dakota to Texas, and then east to the Atlantic, as well as in Europe. It is one of the showiest orbweavers.