Saturday, May 11, 2019

Red Admirals: A Burst on McDowell Creek

So many Red Admirals in early spring here on McDowell Creek!   They were all over the apricot blossoms in late March/early April--and then all over the wild plum blossoms in mid-April.  

A Red Admiral enjoys the profuse blossoms
of a wild plum on April 15, 2019.
Riparian Buffer, Creek Field
Prairie Restoration, McDowell Creek

A Red Admiral rests on an elm trunk next to the apricot tree where
he and his species mates are nectaring.  Back yard orchard, 
McDowell Creek, April 8, 2019.

They did a good job of pollinating, because by the beginning of May the trees and shrubs were loaded with starter-fruit.

A Red Admiral nectars on Wild Plum on
April 15, 2019.  

And nettles were coming on strong too, providing lots of places for Red Admirals to lay their eggs and food plants for new Red Admiral caterpillars.

But then a hail storm came through on May 6, 2019, knocked most of the fruit to the ground, and flattened the new nettles against the earth.    

A few apricots and plums still cling to branches here and there.   Let's hope a few nettle plants will spring back up and some Red Admiral eggs and caterpillars will survive and grow.  

Friday, May 10, 2019

Shield Bugs on Common Buckeye

Shield Bugs on Buckeye
Riparian Buffer, McDowell Creek
Creek Field Prairie Restoration
April 15, 2019
 We have many Western Buckeye trees along McDowell Creek, on the edge of our Creek Field prairie restoration.  This spring, every cluster of Buckeye buds had a Shield Bug on it!   The wild plums, the Golden Currants, and the choke cherries were also budding, but no Shields for them!  This year these bugs were Buckeye lovers.   

Nice Shield!

Shield Bugs are also called "Stink Bugs"--but what an insulting name.  I didn't notice an aroma--the spring air was sweet all around--but I did notice their impressive "armor."  "Shield"--a much nicer name.    Their family is Pentatomidae, a division of True Bugs.  

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Buckeye Bistro--a great place to meet someone!   More Shield Bugs may be arriving soon....

Next year--will we see Shield Bugs on Buckeye again?  Or will any tree or wildflower do?  Why are they just on Buckeye this year? tells me spring is when Shield Bugs hatch and form larval aggregations.   Yet here on April 15, they were already into their adult forms and adult behavior.   So did these adults overwinter on Western Buckeyes?  Or were they early hatching eggs just a few weeks before?