Monday, May 28, 2012

Cedar Waxwing Shows His Spots


For Memorial Day, a Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) shows off his red wax spots.  The distinctive marks on the tips of the secondary wings give this group of birds their name.  This fellow was photographed in the wetlands of the Skagit River Delta on Fir Island, Washington.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

White-lined Sphinx Moth


I went out to the basement patio this morning to check the pots I had planted.  I discovered this handsome fellow clinging to the sliding door screen.  A brief internet search revealed it to be a White-lined Sphinx Moth (Hyles lineata).  It is described as fairly common from southern Canada through Central America and the West Indies.  It is also found in Eurasia and Africa.  The caterpillars can do damage to gardens, but I have not seen any evidence of that in my yard.  As moths go around here, this is a big guy, about 1.75 inches (44.5 mm) from nose to wingtip.

I don't see many butterflies in my yard even though I have planted flowers specifically chosen to attract them.  My seaside location tends to be breezy which may be a deterrent.  Like butterflies, however, this moth is a nectar feeder.  Perhaps my lepidopteran fortunes have turned.

On another subject, I have reestablished my bird feeders and the two Birdcams are set up again.  They have been on a three-month hiatus.  Recall that between the Eastern Gray Squirrels and the House Finches, I felt things had gotten out of control.  A new suet feeder is now supplied with pepper suet reported to be repellent to squirrels.  We'll see if that proves to be true.