Friday, June 26, 2009

Weekly Species Highlights

Sorry I missed last weeks additions, but here are the weekly species highlights for the last week of June:

Bird: Green Heron (Butorides virescens) -
The Green Heron breeds along most of the eastern United States from the Canadian border south to the Gulf of Mexico and west to the Great Plains, western Texas and southwestern New Mexico. On the Pacific coast, it breeds from British Columbia south to California and Arizona. It winters in coastal California, southern Arizona and Texas, along the Gulf coast and along the Atlantic coast north to South Carolina. Most populations in North America are migratory. Green herons live along forested water margins and frequent both salt and fresh water. Green Herons are one of the few tool-using birds. They use a variety of baits and lures, such as crusts of bread, mayflies, and feathers. They then put the bait on the water surface and wait for prey to attack the bait. They stand motionless near the bait until a small fish or other animal approaches and then grab the prey. They eat primarily small fish, but it also crustaceans, mollusks, insects, reptiles and amphibians. They can be found in nearly all of NYC's parks.

Butterfly: Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis) - This member of the brushfoot family has a small silvery crescent on the underside of its hind wings, as does the very similar Eastern Comma. However, beneath the crescent is a dot, making it resemble a question mark. They range from Southern Canada and all of the eastern United States except peninsular Florida, west to the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains, south to southern Arizona and Mexico. Question Marks can be found in wooded areas with some open space, city parks, suburbs and fencerows. Overwintered adults fly and lay eggs in the spring until the end of May. Adults feed on rotting fruit, tree sap, dung, carrion. When these sources are unavailable Question Marks visit flowers such as common milkweed, aster, and sweet pepperbush. The caterpillar host plants include members of the elm family, Ulmus; hackberry, Celtis; and members of the nettle family including false nettle, Boehmeria; hop, Humulus; nettle, Urtica

Wildflower: Day Lily (Hemerocallis fulva) - It seems like every time I find a plant that I enjoy, it turns out to be one of the "bad" ones. The ubiquitous Day Lily appears to be another one of those disappointments. Native to Europe and Asia, it has been labeled an invasive species in North America. Named for the characteristic of each flower only blooming for about a day, it can be found along roadsides, stream banks, edges of woods, pastures, abandoned farm sites and urban centers. "Hemerocallis" is from the Greek words meaning "beautiful" and "day".

Tree: Little Leaf Linden (Tilia cordata) - This tree is native to Europe and western Asia, north to southern Great Britain, central Scandinavia, east to central Russia, and south to central Spain, Italy, Bulgaria and the Caucasus; in the south of its range it is restricted to high altitudes. The small yellow-green flower
clusters that bloom in early summer have a rich, heavy fragrance. The tree is a favorite of bees. A valuable monofloral honey is produced by bees using these trees. It is widely planted in North America as a substitute for the native Basswood or American Linden (Tilia Americana) which has a larger leaf. The white, finely-grained wood is a classic choice for refined woodcarvings.


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