|An adult male Cecropia Moth emerges early|
|Twin Promethea Moth cocoons on a Cherry sapling|
|The incredible Cecropia Moth|
|The Cecropia's "bag" cocoon|
|Note the huge antennae on this male Polyphemus Moth|
A week ago, a neighbor (and co-worker) had an adult Cecropia Moth fly into her house. Evidently the moth had emerged from its cocoon far too early in the season; this was due to a few unseasonably warm weeks in March. The moth was released the following afternoon during the warmest part of the day. Still, it was pretty cool outside, so he needed to bring his body temperature up. He did this by quivering his wings. After about 10 minutes he was warm enough to fly, and he very competently fluttered off into the woods. He landed on a high branch –but remained there for only a few minutes before coming back our way and making a farewell pass right over our heads. The Cecropia is a really big moth –as big as our largest butterflies. The male has large feathered antennae that they use to locate females; he can detect a female’s pheromones from up to a mile away. Mating will pretty much be his only goal, since these moths have no mouth parts and do not feed.
|The Male Luna Moth|
|A male Sapsucker checking his line of sap holes|
The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker returned from the south early last week, and now the old woods resound with this woodpecker’s characteristic drumming. Their drumming pattern is uneven and it sounds a bit like the bird is communicating in Morse Code. This species is among the very few wild animals that leave evidence of its work which can be visible more than a century later. The sap holes that they drill through the bark of trees eventually heal over, but they remain as visible scars on the tree, and the pattern of scars tells us who was doing the drilling. Several years ago, one of our mature Hemlock Trees was utterly exploded by a lighting strike. This was an unusual event to be sure. When I was examining the remains of the tree I found a line of dark spots located deep in the tree’s heartwood. These dark spots were a record of some Sapsucker’s exploits dating back more than 100 years.
|Dutchman's Breeches blooms in the old woods|
|Flower and foliage of Perfoliate Bellwort|