Thursday, August 3, 2017

Bittersweet Beginnings

Phew! I've been at my new residence for about one and a half months. Life shows no signs of slowing down and I am far from settled. It's been impossible to keep up with my photos. I've catalogued a nice array of Wisconsin orchids, tiger beetles and robber flies since early summer from visits to northern Wisconsin including Town Corn Cedars SNA, Dunbar Barrens SNA and Kissick Alkaline Bog Lake SNA as well as visits closer to home including Quincy Bluff and Wetlands, and Pleasant Valley state natural areas. I've been most excited about adding some life species to my Wisconsin orchid list. Hopefully I will find time to organize these photos into a few blog posts at some later date.

Gnat Ogre, Holcocephala species (?calva), Bittersweet home, Dane Co, WI 20July2017
For the time being, I'm going to get another post churned out focusing on what I've been seeing more recently in my own yard. While working tirelessly to get a plethora flowers, shrubs and trees established in my yard, I've noticed plenty of whimsical insects.

Pictured-wing Fly, Delphinia picta, Bittersweet home, 30July2017
It's no wonder I have such a bounty of nature in my own backyard. My new neighborhood, Crestwood, was founded on an appreciation of green space and nature. Each residence in my new neighborhood abuts to a greenway that leads into the adjacent Owen Conservation Park or Bordner Park. While this post will focus on the insects, the bird diversity is also much more impressive than my previous more urbanized yard in Jefferson County.

Gnat Ogre, Holcocephala species (?calva), Bittersweet home, Dane Co, WI 1Aug2017
The most prolific bug present in my yard since my arrival has been these minute robberflies called gnat ogres of the genus Holcocephala.

Gnat Ogre, Holcocephala species (?calva), Bittersweet home, Dane Co, WI 1Aug2017
The ones I have seen are all likely Holcocephala calva. But I'm no expert so Holcocephala sp. will suffice.
Gnat Ogre, Holcocephala species (?calva), Bittersweet home, Dane Co, WI 1Aug2017
With a usual 6-10 flying around the yard on any given day, I've had many opportunities to photograph these tiny buggers even catching them in action preying on gnats of all things! Imagine that.

Gnat Ogre, Holcocephala species (?calva), Bittersweet home, Dane Co, WI 30July2017
Though it's difficult to ascertain from the photos, these robber flies measure less than 10 mm in length.
Gnat Ogre, Holcocephala species (?calva), Bittersweet home, Dane Co, WI 30July2017
Gnat Ogre, Holcocephala species (?calva), Bittersweet home, Dane Co, WI 30July2017
Along with some nasty invasives that I am working to remove, my yard also has several dwarf hackberry bushes growing which I am told are attractive to insects. This claim does seem to hold true. I've witnessed various hopper species and flies in and around these bushes. Here is a modest selection of the various hoppers, flies and other insects I've seen:

Citrus flatid planthopper, Bittersweet Home, Dane Co, WI 30July2017 

Coelidia olitoria, Bittersweet home, Dane Co, WI 30July2017 

Coelidia olitoria, Bittersweet home, Dane Co, WI 30July2017

Graphocephala leafhopper, Bittersweet Home, Dane Co, WI 30July2017
Acanalonia conica, Bittersweet Home, Dane Co, WI 30July2017
Ambush bug, Bittersweet Home, Dane Co, WI 1Aug2017
Condylostylus sp fly, 1Aug2017
And let's not forget the butterflies and dragonflies! They've been more sparse, but of decent quality. Just yesterday a Red-spotted Purple paid a visit to my hose nozzle.



And I managed to find a most wanted species for the Wisconsin Odonata Survey, a Great Spreadwing.

Female Great Spreadwing, Bittersweet home, Dane Co, WI 1Aug2017
With the all the activity in my yard, I have little need to leave. However occasionally I still like to mix it up and branch out to other areas. Wanderlust ya know. It keeps me moving and shaking!

Oh and let's not forget the under-appreciated mosquito! I have those too! In spades!




2 comments:

Seagull Steve said...

Crippling macro shots! Congrats on the yard upgrade, I'm sure you'll be getting new migrants any day now.

one of many said...

Thanks #7! Definitely excited to see what migrants grace the new yard! For now I'm digging hearing either Barred or Great Horned Owls almost nightly from my windows.