What a unique experience -watching the eclipse wax and wane from a high point in the Preserve, with the view of the lake moving into and out of twilight and the wildlife taking note. Luciano Palmieri Rocha met with Glenda Denniston on August 21, to watch this most awesome event and is sharing his photos with the Friends. At the Preserve, the eclipse began at 11:50am, 42 seconds and ended at 15:15pm, 59 seconds. At one time the moon covered 85% of the sun's disk. What great photo sequence of the event. Thank you Luciano.
Last week Glenda Denniston photographed a tiny, beautifully colored gray tree frog sitting on a shagbark hickory re-sprout in the upper part of East Savanna (Old Orchard). At this time of year, during non-breeding season it dazzles with its solid lime green on the back. In Wisconsin it is seen quite commonly, but you have to look for something small. They are at most 2 inches long. They live primarily along forest or woodlot edges and in oak savanna, favoring brush over trees.
Preserve staff Bryn Scriver, Adam Gundlach and Laura Wyatt report having found gray tree frogs in various locations in the Preserve, and also during breeding season. See the photos below are by Bryn Scriver.
The DNR website explains that the two gray tree frog cousins, the Cope's gray tree frog and the Eastern gray tree frog, are tough to distinguish, especially during the breeding season when both are usually heavily mottled on the dorsal (top) side. Cope's, like the eastern gray, has bright yellow inner thigh markings when viewed from the underside or laterally when the legs are extended and has obvious toe pads.
Glenda Denniston always has her camera ready to snap photos of interesting critters she spots in the Preserve. Here are her latest captures:
The Abbott sphinx moth larva, an odd fellow with brown bands and pale green spots, is crawling toward the left, using six claw like feet behind his rather small head and eight feet fitted with suction cup-like devices. What looks like a rather large eye is a big knob meant to scare any predator. Early instars of this larva are a pale greenish-white, with a horn on the hind end. (An instar is the developmental phase between two periods of molting as a insect larva grows to maturity.) These instars are said to eat Grape and Porcelain berry, but in this sighting it is feasting on Virginia creeper in the 2013 spring planting area of the Friends at Frautschi Point.
The larva of the late instar Milkweed tussock moth or milkweed tiger moth, Euchaetes eagle, was found on a Common milkweed behind main Upper Field Edge planting area. It is common mid- through late-summer and sports chemical defenses to deter bats and other predators, which it acquires from its host plants. While early instars appear slightly 'hairy' and gray and eat the fleshy parts of leaves, leaving behind only skeletal vein remnants, the late instars sport tufts of black, white and orange and sometimes yellow setae. The head capsule is black.
The Hermit sphinx larva, Lintneria eremitus, is finding food on Wild bergamot, Monarda fistulosa, at what Glenda calls Cedar Hill in the Frautschi Point area. This larva feeds on the mint family and the adult moths take nectar typically from deep-throated flowers. It is common wherever the larva and moth host plants are found.
Gisela Kutzbach and contributors