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Occasionally mowing rouses a colorful escapade before the mower’s blades,
such as the black and orange blur of a banded tiger moth’s flight,*

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which often ends with a moth wedging itself head first
between blades of grass where it lands.

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And so, briefly, I detained this one for the simple reason
of sharing the lively colors of a coming season.

*Reportedly moths of the Apantesis genus can be difficult to distinguish. But I’m winging it here and identifying this one as the banded tiger moth (Apantesis vittata) because of the solid black border of the hindwing (differentiating it from the often spotted black border of the harnessed tiger moth, Apantesis phalerata).  As always, corrections welcome!

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Though blending into the shadows over Little Crum Creek,
this dark form of the eastern tiger swallowtail stands out from the easily
identified yellow and black variety of her kind. Said to mimic
the pipevine swallowtail, whose chemistry dissuades predators,
the dark form is always female.

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The male reddish-brown stag beetle, Lucanus capreolus,
wields formidable mandibles to battle over breeding females
and sharp enough armor to impress any passerby.

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A metallic green sweat bee (family Halictidae),
busy in the pollen of a purple coneflower,
appears to be an Agapostemon species.
But which one?

Thanks to standingoutinmyfield, who makes a compelling case in the comments
for Agapostemon virescens!

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Several days before, I’d seen this gentle, solicitous sow
transport a newborn kit by mouth from one tree cavity to another.

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Then one day a high lonesome cry filled the air,
answered only by a soothing reply, encouraging the youth to venture forth
on trunk and limb, which it did, eventually, with trepidation and a helping paw…

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 leaving them both exhausted and ready for a long afternoon nap

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 in the shelter of their leafy home.

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Bonus Material: Behind the Scenes …

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[END of POST]

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wood thrush, little crum creek, pa

For a week in May, a visitor’s song from the trees
is all that gave the wood thrush away. Nothing to do, then, but listen,
and wait, and spot its landing to feed on invertebrates.

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For a few weeks in spring, some species of birds
appear just briefly in our frequented spaces. As Little Crum Creek swells with rain,
the black and white warbler comes and goes with May.

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