urbpan: (dandelion)
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At work there was quite a commotion when one of the landscapers noticed this pair of screech owls and their 5 chicks in a small tree next to the gift shop! They got a lot of attention from animal lovers with binoculars and cameras. The next day they were seen a couple trees away, behind the gift shop where it was a bit quieter. Nice to see these wild predators doing well here.

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Right next to the front door of the gift shop this evergreen tree was sprouting an unusual growth. A very quiet still dove pretended I didn't notice it, and then so did I.
urbpan: (dandelion)
That last post was a rhetorical question obviously.

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It turns out we spent 95% of our time in Venice (you know, where Venice Beach is)
Read more... )
urbpan: (dandelion)
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A spider (probably an Agelenid) takes up residence in the back of our mailbox.


Oct. 4th, 2015 07:58 pm
urbpan: (dandelion)
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Sure, I can find some pest grasshoppers in a city park, but I'll never find wild organisms on the 26th floor bar on a hotel.

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Still, it's a nice view of the ballfield, if you are into that sort of thing.

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Suddenly a visitor alights on the opposite side of the glass. Is it a stonefly? A caddisfly? I'm not sure, but it probably emerged from the nearby Mississippi River (seen at the left corner of the pic with the ballfield), then caught a nice breeze upward. It makes me want to study aerial plankton.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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Imagine my delight when our first excursion into the streets of St. Louis resulted in finding a new (to me) species!

Read more... )
urbpan: (dandelion)
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A house sparrow on her dragon mount.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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These are hop marks made by a rat moving quickly through very deep snow. Note the marks made by the tail keeping balance as the animal propels itself using mainly its back feet.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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I was sweeping up the zoo hospital laundry room when one of the dirt particles began flailing in protest.

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It turned out to be ground spider, doing some hunting in the corners of the dusty building.

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More specifically, this is a parson spider, previously seen two months ago here.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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Peekin' in at the end of a meeting.

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Not far away, a juvenile red-tail stares into the city streets.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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Sunrise pigeons on a West Roxbury billboard.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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My friend just bought a house in West Roxbury. She was horrified to discover cockroaches in and around it! At my insistence she captured one, and I identified it as an Ectobius cockroach, probably the Mediterranean spotted cockroach E. pallidus, but also maybe the dusky cockroach E. lapponicus. In either case, these are not pest cockroaches—the Latin name Ectobius translates to “lives outside,” which is what they do most of the time. They get into houses about as often as earwigs and maybe a little less often than ladybeetles. Both Ectobius species in New England are native to Europe.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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There were a couple of these creatures in this porta-potty in Franklin Park.
The most confident identification so far claims that this is Meconema thalassinum, a European insect in the group caled "quiet katydids." It's likely that quiet katydids are not so much quiet as they are singing in a pitch above what we can hear. This species is also called the "drumming katydid" since males will drum a hind leg on their substrate to make a noise, in addition to whatever "silent" singing they are doing. This species was first noticed in North America in the middle of the 20th century, on Long Island, and has been gradually spreading ever since.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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Gray fox kit, Franklin Park, Boston.

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Gray fox track.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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My dad came to visit this weekend, so I took him to North Point Park and Paul Revere Park--the same parks I went to on last weekend's Urban Nature Walk. It was about 20 degrees warmer, so it was quite pleasant andthere were a lot more people there. I didn't take very many pictures, since I took so many last week, but I couldn't resist trying to get a shot of this male common merganser.

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Wait, come back for your close-up!

These ducks dive for fish and other small aquatic animals, usually in fresh water. They migrate to the coast when the lakes and rivers freeze up. This one is getting the best of both worlds swimming where the Charles meets the harbor.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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My dad and I were keen to see manatees. We failed in Big Cypress, and I barely caught a glimpse on Captiva. Fortunately we were blathering about it somewhere and some nice lady suggested we go to Manatee Park. Sounds like just the thing!
Read more... )
urbpan: (dandelion)
I was passing by the trailer that serves as the office and lounge for the Hooves and Horns department; it was a pleasant day and the door was open. As I approached, a catbird flew in. I followed it in, and watched it as it perched on a chair in front of a computer, about 2 feet away from me. "Do you want this catbird in here?" I called to the keepers over in the office.

Like a fool I didn't photograph it while it was inside. When I spoke, it quickly flew out but not far, just outside the doorway onto these lawn chairs. I'm not sure what its plan was--probably it was just checking out the territory, seeing if there were food sources or nesting places.

The wooden rail fences around many of the Hooves and Horns exhibits sprout Bisporella citrina when it rains. The largest of these lemon drop mushrooms is about 1 mm across.
urbpan: (dandelion)
Cottontails are extra visible this time of year--babies are coming out of the nests, and adults are grazing on all the new spring vegetation.
Read more... )
urbpan: (dandelion)

A weird crow call drew me out from my office. Just outside, a red tail was getting harassed by a single crow and few songbirds. This grackle was the most persistent of the mob.

many more creatures, in randomish order )
urbpan: (dandelion)
Hey look what's growing in one of the potted trees in the greenhouse! This is technically indoors, although things from outdoors much larger than mushroom spores do find their way in. I last saw this species back in November of 2006. In that post I noted that the mushroom had once been lumped in with Coprinus mushrooms--those dung-loving fungi that appear quite suddenly, then disappear almost as suddenly as their gills turn to inky liquid to release the spores.

While this species is shaped similarly to true Coprinus mushrooms, and has a similarly short span of activity, it doesn't deliquesce into liquid, and it doesn't grow from dung or compost. These little caps grow from the bases of trees, emerging from mycelium embedded in the soil and bark: plant and substrate bound together with living threads of fungus.

After releasing spores the incredible thin mushroom flesh withers away. The currently accepted name for this species is Coprinellus disseminatus. Some common names given for it include "crumble cap," "fairy bonnet," and rather tellingly obsolete: "non-inky coprinus."


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