Tuesday, September 27, 2005

ENV: Observations

Revenge of the mini-Mayflies

TX: Kerr Co., Rio Vista 27 September 2005

So far (early a.m.) it's been a night for spotted moths! Also after about 2 a.m. there was an emergence of the tiniest of the mayflies i've recorded. That, after a few hours ago's emergence of the larger species. Also had some new visitors at the cricket cafe -- three raccoons, which were quite a bit warier than the skunks.

6:15 a.m. A new sphinx in the window this morning -- a Vine Sphinx, Eumorpha vitis, which i almost passed off as just another White-lined Sphinx. Pictures on the way.

6:45 a.m. I go to check the lights for the last time, and i see an animated critter at the lights. Usually my immediate thought would be Gray Fox -- i see them at least every other week, sometimes more often (especially at this time of year when the crickets are thick). But something seemed different. So i eased up and got my binoculars on it. It was a critter i consider one of the rarest in the county. In 20 years here i've only seen a couple -- a Red Fox. It's also the first on the property. Because it was just twilight i figured i didn't have much of a chance of a picture, but i wanted some documentation. With the camera in nightshot mode i started snapping away, easing up all the while. I really didn't think i'd have much, and soon the critter sensed me and started to take off, but i squeaked, mostly to get it to stop for one last picture -- instead it came running straight at me. It finally stopped and sat down about 50 yards away. It then got up and zig-zagged as though trying to get a better look at what i was. I kept squeaking and taking pictures. Even though none of them show color, you can see the long legs typical of this species, and in one pic you can see the black/dark legs. Very cooool.

At 7:30 a.m. i stopped by the pool below Ingram Dam -- several days this week i've seen the female Ringed Kingfisher roosting there early in the morning. This is a rare critter up this way. I see them one or a couple of times a year, but rarely can i pinpoint one for others to see. I posted on TexBirds yesterday that this one had been hanging out here. Since i'd spread the word i thought i ought to check to see if anyone was down there looking -- no one was. The bird is spooky. I'd try to photograph it yesterday but it zipped away before i could get a pic. This morning i tried easing my Jeep down the road and it sat long enough for me to get off one pic of it sitting. I fired off another as it took off, and just happened to catch it in flight. Both pics are pretty distant but they're identifiable. I'll post these tonight -- it's getting close to bedtime.

11:30 p.m. Almost no activity at the lights tonight. It's still and muggy after another 100 degree day. No large mammals about to speak of. The only two moths at the light are an Ironweed Root Moth and a little red Pyraulid that i suspect is a Pyrausta but can't match to species. Zero mayflies.

+ Fall Field Cricket
2 Green Mantis sp.
1 Brown Mantis sp.

1 Ironweed Root Moth, Polygrammodes flavidalis ph
1 Spotted Beet Webworm Moth, Hymenia perspectalis ph
1 Four-spotted Palpita Moth, Palpita quadristigmalis ph
1 Two-spotted Herpetogramma Moth, Herpetogramma bipunctalis ph
1 Plume Moth sp. I ph
1 Plume Moth sp. II ph
1 Sawgrass Moth, Xylena sp. ph
1 Scarlet-winged Lichen Moth, Hyproprepia miniata
1 Grape Leaffolder Moth, Desmia funeralis ph
1 Vine Sphinx, Eumorpha vitis ph

2 Tawny Emperor ph (one as prey of Robber Fly)
1 Variegated Fritillary
6 Phaon Crescent

1 Robber Fly, poss. Efferia sp. ph

+ 6 sp. Mayfly ph

3 Tiger Beetle sp. ph
1 Cotinis sp.

1 Great Horned Owl
1 White-winged Dove
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Golden-fronted Woodpecker
1 Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
1 Eastern Phoebe
2 Blue Jay
2 Carolina Wren
7 House Finch

1 Red Fox ph
3 Raccoon
4 Striped Skunk ph
8 White-tailed Deer
30 Axis Deer

TX: Kerr Co., Ingram Dam 27 September 2005
1 Ringed Kingfisher ph
1 White-winged Dove
1 Northern Mockingbird

TX: Kerr Co., Ingram 27 September 2005
2 Eurasian Collared-Dove
12 White-winged Dove
2 European Starling
10 Great-tailed Grackle

Vine Sphinx, Eumorpha vitis

Spotted Beet Webworm Moth, Hymenia perspectalis

Four-spotted Palpita Moth, Palpita quadristigmalis

Two-spotted Herpetogramma Moth, Herpetogramma bipunctalis

Plume Moth sp. 23, poss. Stenoptilia sp.

Unknown Plume Moth sp. 24

Sawgrass Moth sp. 25, Xylena sp.

Grape Leaffolder Moth, Desmia funeralis

Six species of Mayfly in one frame . . .

the numbers refer to the matching closeups in previous posts.

Robber Fly sp., poss. Efferia sp., with Tawny Emperor

Camel Cricket sp.

Cotinis sp.

Tiger Beetle sp., Cicindela sp.

Raccoon, Procyon lotor

Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes

Ringed Kingfisher, Ceryle torquata


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