Saturday, July 6, 2013

July 6, 2013: Erv's Field Notes #60

Mourning Cloak catepillar. 7/5/13 (Erv Klaas)

Friday, July 5,2013, 1 pm. Sunny, southerly breeze, Temperature 86 degrees F.

I scouted the north shore of the north lake for Odonates and whatever else I could find. Walking slowly along the dirt path created by fisherman near the water’s edge, I spotted a good number of dragonflies and damselflies. These insects were slow to emerge this year but now that summer and hot weather is here, they are out in force. Today’s sightings included damselflies: Blue-fronted Dancer, Powdered Dancer, Familiar Bluet, Tule Bluet, Orange Bluet, Eastern Forktail, Rainbow Bluet, and Double-striped Bluet. Dragonflies seen were: Widow Skimmer, Common Baskettail, Common Green Darner, Calico Pennant, Eastern Amberwing, and Black Saddlebags. Many of the damselflies and dragonflies were mating and laying eggs. The Calico Pennant is worth special mention. This handsome dragonfly was first seen in 2002 when I was conducting a survey of the flora and fauna of the park soon after the city acquired the land but before any modification of the lake shoreline and before the wetlands were constructed. I recorded seeing a male at Jensen’s Pond on July 15, 2007, but the species was not seen again until this year. Wolf photographed a male in late June and I photographed another male today. With both Wolf and I surveying more intensively each year, it is unlikely that we missed this conspicuous species. It is nice to have it back.

I also saw several butterflies today: Black Swallowtail, Pearl Crescent, Eastern Tailed Blue, Orange Sulpher, and Common Buckeye. I photographed several large caterpillars feeding on Willow leaves; they were black with red spots on their back and had long bristles extending from each segment. Later with the help of the internet I identified them as the larvae of the Mourning Cloak, a common butterfly in the park. These butterflies are unusual in that they overwinter as adults and may live 10-11 months as an adult.

Erv Klaas

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