Saturday, April 29, 2017

Ladies of the Evening: Moth Night

Moth Night:  set up before dark
Ok, I really do not know if these moths are male or female but how can I resist that title?  So you may be wondering what is moth night?   Basically, it is a evening dedicated to studying moths, and by default, other insects that fly into the observation area.   While the set up at the event where these photos were take was on the relatively high tech side as far as such set ups go, you can easily have your own moth night by hanging a light colored cloth over something in your yard and having some sort of light source shine by it.

The event was part of a county study to see how many species of moths are  around and about this particular area.  So while there are people at this event doing real scientific data collecting, there are also people like myself there pointing and saying "Oh, look at this one!"    What is nice is that all participants' comments and observations are welcome because moths are quick and there are so many at any given time that extra eyes really do help those who are collecting the data.

I hope to be able to identify these beauties pictured below and then post them with their proper names.  In the mean time, they are generically identified.

Moth 1
















Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sidewalk Botany ~ Spotting Celebrities

Lonicera sempervirens

Many people enjoy reading.  Since I am a visual person and have the attention span of a gnat, I tend to read field guilds. When you spend way too much time pouring over the images in these guides, they tend to stick to your brain.  So when you come across something in the field that you are used to seeing in a book, it is like seeing a famous person walking down the street and it is kind of surreal.

A similar experience I recently had was with a plant that I saw many times in gardens, including my own garden, but never saw in the wild. The plant is Lonicera sempervirens (the common name is Coral Honeysuckle or Trumpet Honeysuckle).  Most importantly, it is a native honeysuckle.

Last week, a coworker of mine said he wanted a honeysuckle for his home and was going to pull some from the woods.  I begged him not to do that because the woods are full of the dreaded Lonicera japonica, an invasive honeysuckle that is reeking havoc on our forests.  So we discussed where he could purchase some native honeysuckle and the happy ending to the story is that he did. This got me thinking that I actually never saw the beloved native honeysuckle in the wild. It had to exist somewhere, but where?

A few days after all of the above thoughts and events, I was wandering around a local prairie and there, stretching high up to the sky and snuggling up below against all its neighbors was the magnificent Coral Honeysuckle in the wild!  What a treat!

Lonicera sermpervirens