Northern Pearly Eye

Once you have learned to identify the most common butterflies, the real challenge begins: realizing when you have something completely new on your hands! At first I though this was a Little Wood-Satyr, but the brown line on the wing seemed too jagged and the time wasn’t right: here in the north, the flight of Little Wood-Satyr ends in July. So then I entertained the idea of Eyed Brown. Was the brown muted because I was shooting my photos in the shadows? No. This butterfly is simply not brown enough to be Eyed Brown.

So it was off to the internets to look for alternatives. For now, I’ve settled on Northern Pearly Eye. I am waiting for BAMONA to confirm my tentative id.

Northern Pearly Eye / Kendall Lake / 2021-08-22

June Moth Roundup

Here is a sampling of the moth species I was able to photograph this month. To start off we have a tiny moth (that’s a blade of grass it is clinging too), known as Crambus agitatellus. It has no common name and few details are known about this moth, but it seems to be quite common across much of eastern North America.

Crambus agitatellus / The Backyard / 2021-06-06

The most curious thing about this moth, the Morbid Owlet, is what little information I could find about it online– essentially nothing but its name.

Morbid Owlet / The Backyard / 2021-06-15

I’ve tentatively identified the below as the Gray Spring Moth. I’ve seen several of this species along the trails in my backyard.

Probable Gray Spring Moth / The Backyard / 2021-06-05

Here we have the first of two moths that I observed along the rail road tracks at Roscoe Ewing Park in Medina: Eusarca confusaria, also known as the Confused Eusarca moth. As you might guess by the name, this moth has a variable appearance and can be easily confused with several other similar species.

Eusarca confusaria / Roscoe Ewing Park / 2021-06-13

Finally, we have the most photogenic of the group, the Delicate Cycnia. This moth was very interested in a patch of wild mint and was cooperative for a large number of photographs.

Delicate Cycnia / Roscoe Ewing Park / 2021-06-13

Pileated Problem

It’s a struggle for the Pileated Woodpecker to hold onto the suet feeder, and also maneuver his bill to reach the suety-goodness inside! That’s what happens when you are a woodpecker, and nearly the size of a crow.

Pileated Woodpecker / The Backyard / 2021-05-31

Backyard Insect Roundup

After a rather overcast morning filled with yardwork, the sun came out in the afternoon so I grabbed my camera and looked for something to photograph. Birds were scarce, but insects were plentiful, with several species I had not seen before.

Metallic Green Ground Beetle / The Backyard / 2021-06-01
Golden-backed Snipe Fly / The Backyard / 2021-06-01
Cuckoo Bee / The Backyard / 2021-06-01

New Life Birds

An outing to Chippewa Inlet Trail produced several new “life birds” for North America, which is rewarding and also a bit of a challenge now that I’m at 176 unique species. (At least, a challenge as long as I’m only birding in Ohio.)

There was a group of shorebirds on a mud flat, and at first I didn’t realize there was anything new because the Semipalmated Plover (the new life-bird) look similar to Killdeer, especially if you are not paying attention. And also especially if they are mixed in with real Killdeer! It was the wife who first noticed that not all of the birds looked quite right for Killdeer.

Semipalmated Plover, Chippewa Inlet Trail, 2021-05-22
Killdeer, Chippewa Inlet Trail, 2021-05-22

The second new bird was the Least Sandpiper. As implied by the name, they are the smallest of sandpipers, not much larger than a sparrow. The key to correct identification is leg-color (which should be yellow-green) and I struggled for a long time to get a good picture where that detail was visible. The lighting conditions were terrible, with very overcast skies and quite a bit of glare off the water, not to mention that the birds were running around in mud, which can cover and obscure their legs.

Least Sandpiper, Chippewa Inlet Trail, 2021-05-22

Atlantic Camus

My plant-lore is not nearly as developed as my bird-lore or butterfly-lore. This wildflower was seen at Schoepfle Garden along the banks of the Vermilion River, and I had no idea what it was. So I put some observational skills to work and did a web search for “light blue spring wildflower with six petals with a yellow stamen.” (I should have added “and a green center” but I did not notice it until afterwards.) This led me in the right general direction with a near-miss, the Great Camas. However, the Great Camas is only found on the West Coast, so a further refinement of the search for “Eastern United States” turned up the likely winner, “Atlantic Camas a.k.a. Wild Hyacinth.”

It’s very pretty, and it had filled up the river valley around Schoepfle with waves of azure.