Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fox Island County Park - Home to Butterflies and Dragonflies

Black Swallowtail taking advantage of the last remnants of the butterfly garden's Monarda fistulosa (Bee Balm). The Bee Balm is a favorite of many insects in the butterfly garden and can be easily started from seed.
Female Blue Dasher, a horizontal perching dragonfly, resting on the blossom of a False Sunflower. Blue Dashers, male and female, perch with wings extended forward.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

White Tail Fawns

While White Tail deer hunting was banned for 30 years, in 1865, the population has made a dramatic comeback.  It is not uncommon for healthy does to breed at 6 mos, and produce offspring.  Twins are common for older does and triplets are not that unusual.  Fawns do have a scent although much less than their adult counterparts.  While many times fawns appear to be abandoned or orphaned, more likely than not the mother knows exactly where they are.  Fawns are generally born in May or early June and will loose their spots and streaks by late fall resembling a mini-adult.

Photo:  Jonathan Ormiston, Noble Co., Indiana   July, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

Fox Island Pennants and Skimmers

Male Calico Pennant waiting for a date.  The Calico Pennant is a perching dragonfly but not territorial like many dragonflies.  Instead they can be seen along the edges of ponds waiting for prospective mates.  Calico Pennants lay their eggs on the surface of the water while the male and female fly in tandem.  Fox Island County Park, Bowman Lake.
                         Male Slaty Skimmer.  Fox Island County Park, Bowman Lake.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Assassin Bug - Jeff's deck

You just never know where or when something really cool is going to appear and want it's picture taken.  While watering the plants on our deck this little bug climbed out on the handle of the hanging basket.  This is an "Assassin Bug" nymph.  It hasn't developed wings but it is a true bug.  A friend of gardeners, the assassin bug preys on caterpillars and other insects. The assassin bug grabs it's prey with it's sticky grasping fore legs, impales the prey with it's beak (visible in the picture), injects a toxin that also dissolves the unfortunate victim's insides so they may be sucked back out through beak. It's best not to handle these bugs because they can inflict a bite that doesn't heal well.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Killdeer chick - Eagle Marsh

It's not always easy keeping up with Mom when your legs are short.  Getting out of harm's way with a little help from a friend.         Kildeer Chick - Eagle Marsh

Hummingbird Moth - Fox Island Park Butterfly Garden

 Male Common Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe) also known as a "Hummingbird Moth".
The Hummingbird Moth hovers near flowers and drinks nectar similar to a hummingbird. Although  about half the size of a Ruby Throated Hummingbird the Clear Wing is active during the daylight hours unlike most other moths.
The Clear Wing coils its proboscis between flowers and the "flair" at the back of the abdomen indicates that this is a male.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fox Island Mosquito Eaters - GO GET 'EM!!

Male Common Whitetail

Female Common Whitetail

Male Eastern Pondhawk
Pond Hawks typically perch horizontally on algae mats. 
 Dragonflies can eat their weight in mosquitos, in an hour, snatching the little blood suckers out of the air and littering the water with what's left.  On the other hand many will also eat their fellow dragonflies.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fox Island County Park Nature Center Pond

The Fox Island County Park Nature Center Pond is a small pond with a lot going on.  Beginning in early April with Spring Peepers, Chorus Frogs and Leopard Frogs the pond now has various dragonflies performing their aerial acrobatics.  American Toads, Green Frogs and now Bull Frogs have each taken their turns calling to perspective mates in a chorus that at times is deafening.  The dragonflies, after spending the majority of their short lives in water, emerge as feeding and breeding machines that are possibly the most accomplished fliers of the animal kingdom.

Male Blue Dasher

Female Blue Fronted Dancer - Damselfly

Male Twelve Spotted Skimmer