On September 23, still cool in the early morning hours, the Biocore Bird Observatory crew had another successful day. A precious Lincoln Sparrow was measured, banded and released, as well as other song birds. Jackie Edmunds, Matt Hayes and Mark Berres are very pleased to continue the important research on birds in the Biocore Prairie.
A Chinese Mantis (Tenodera sinensis) made its way through the grassy area near the Water Utility plant, but it couldn't escape Glenda Denniston's camera eye. This species of praying mantis is native to Asia and the nearby islands and feeds primarily on other insects. It can be several inches long. These mantids have been observed eating the larvae of monarch butterflies.
September 3- On Roma Lenehan's End of Summer Birding Walk, Arlene Koziol observed with her camera this sequence of an Eastern-wood Phoebe feeding a fledgling. here is Arlene's story that goes with these photos:
"According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Birds Online, only 10% of the Eastern Wood Pewee’s are made up spiders and other invertebrates. So it was fortunate that we saw the young Pewee eat the Daddy-long-legs. The parent had great difficult feeding it to the fledgling. The parent had to try several times to shove it in the fledgling’s throat. It was necessary for the parent to break the Daddy-long-legs in two. The main diet of Pewees are flying insects. The birds capture the insects in mid-air."
The Osprey — also called fish eagle, sea hawk, river hawk, and fish hawk — is unique among North American raptors for its diet of live fish and ability to dive into water to catch them, This Osprey is a common sight soaring over the shoreline of Lake Mendota or watching the water from a high perch on a dead tree. The Osprey population has rebounded in North America and they do well around humans. Hunting Ospreys are a picture of concentration, diving with feet outstretched and yellow eyes sighting straight along their talons. Mike Bailey has masterfully captured this elegant bird, carrying a fish to a favorite perch. Ospreys can grasp with two toes in front and two behind. Barbed pads on the soles of the birds' feet help them grip slippery fish. When flying with prey, an Osprey lines up its catch head first for less wind resistance.
While the Lake is one of the hunting waters of this regular visitor to the Preserve, we do not know where it builds its nest. Ospreys have a cosmopolitan range, and this one could nest as far away as a cell phone tower off Fish Hatchery Road just east of the Madison Newspapers building, where Mike Bailey has spotted a nest. See also All About Birds
Off and on, between taking interesting photos of people and events, Robert Streiffer ventures into the Preserve and captures critters of all kinds and birds with his camera. Here is part of his series on the resident crane family. The colt is now just almost as tall as his parents. See the rest of the series on Rob's Facebook page .
Have you ever wondered about those inconspicuous tiny little blossoms on unimpressive looking tangles of stems and leaves, or those little sticky balls attaching themselves to your trousers seemingly out of nowhere? What's their name, are they "good" or are they "bad" in the Preserve? Native or exotic? Steve Sentoff, a Friend and Preserve Steward, has been looking just for those on his many walks in the Preserve. Steve has posted his photos on iNaturalist, an apps where you can post photos with their exact GPS location. You can also post a name for your plant, if you know it. But if you don't know the name of what you found or are mistaken in your guess, a volunteer somewhere in the world will surely confirm or correct your ID within a day or two. "A great way of learning", says Steve. Many of these fairly unremarkable looking plants are in bloom right now. Have a look and see which ones you had always wanted to call by name by didn't know it.
Gisela Kutzbach and contributors