Kip’s Comments 7-25-20

Rosy Maple Moth - Image 644788 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Let’s Go Out For Breakfast (and more)

When I first went outside this morning I found this colorful, pretty, dainty rosy maple moth that resembled cotton candy on our door handle. I was immediately enthralled by its appearance and knew I had to photograph it. After all, the moth was on the door knob and I needed to move it to get anything done.     

Very gently I moved the moth to my finger tip. Together we went back into the house so I could grab my camera equipment for photos. All the while the moth remained still on my finger.   

With my camera equipment we went back outside where the moth cooperated for a variety of poses. Little did I know the stunning moth was near the end of its life. Once in the adult state I was seeing, the moth had one purpose to fulfill – to mate to carry on the species. At this point, the moth does not even have a mouth to eat. The little creature had very little time left to carry out its mission…after I took some pictures.   

As I was photographing the moth in the early morning sun, the moth decided our photo session was complete and took flight. That was fine, I had my pictures. I watched as the tiny moth flew to the east, into the rising sun.   

Just like that, out of our ash tree, a chipping sparrow took flight after the rosy maple moth. The moth never knew what hit it as the chipping sparrow plucked the moth from the air in mid-flight.   

Just like that the life of the moth had ended. I will admit, I was stunned. One minute I was admiring the moth and the next minute it was breakfast for a predator. (Who would consider a chipping sparrow a predator!)

The entire incident began and ended within a minute or two. Hopefully the moth had already deposited its eggs. I guess I will never know. (Incidentally, this was the first time I have seen this species of moth.)

Rosy Maple Moth:     

Rosy Maple Moth - Image 644788 (© Kip Ladage)

Rosy Maple Moth – Image 644788 (© Kip Ladage)

 

After witnessing the circle of life in our backyard I went to our cabin where I did not go on the water. Instead I simply relaxed and watched for natural activities in a small area or our cabin yard. My first observation was this clear track in a fungus or whatever seeped out of a stump. I have been seeing a cat in the area, but since this track shows claws, I am doubting it was a cat that stepped here. (This track reminded me of a cub scout project from many, many years ago.)

Animal Footprint:         

Animal Track - Image 644817 (© Kip Ladage)

Animal Track – Image 644817 (© Kip Ladage)

 

As I was photographing the footprint I could hear our resident house wrens getting excited over my presence near the nest box that has hosted wren family after wren family over the years.   

My first efforts were to photograph the wren near the nest box until I remembered that I have hundreds of photos of house wrens at their home. I then decided to photograph the little bird in a more natural setting and recorded this pleasing wren portrait as the bird was perched on a small twig among the many leaves.   

House Wren in Leaves: 

House Wren in Tree - Image 644711 (© Kip Ladage)

House Wren in Tree – Image 644711 (© Kip Ladage)

     

Soon after the wren moved to a different branch and began preening. It was easy to see the bird’s brood patch – that area of featherless skin that is used to incubate eggs. (When she incubates eggs, she nestles down on the eggs with the brood patch making direct contact to warm the eggs.) Without opening the nest box I have no way of knowing if she is still sitting on eggs or not. Based on her behavior, I think it is very possible she is bringing a second brood into the world. (One family left the nest box a few weeks ago.)   

House Wren Preening Its Brood Patch: 

House Wren Preening Brood Patch - Image 644729 (© Kip Ladage)

House Wren Preening Brood Patch – Image 644729 (© Kip Ladage)

 

My exploration ended with a brief photo session of an oak gall. Oak galls are the little round balls found on the underside of oak leaves. Inside this gall there should be a tiny wasp larva. Without magnifying them, oak galls look like fuzzy round balls. However, with a closer look it is easy to see the textures on the surface of the oak gall. I am going to take more magnifying equipment to the cabin to attempt a closer look.

Oak Gall:

Oak Gall - Image 644760 (© Kip Ladage)

Oak Gall – Image 644760 (© Kip Ladage)

 

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