Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Nestlings and more (12 June 2017)

Shara and I stopped at the Ziibiwing Center last night (12 June) to check on the bluebird nesting boxes.  First up was the single Eastern Bluebird nest.  Here is what they looked like yesterday.

Eastern Bluebird nestlings on 12 June 2017 (photo by Shara LeValley)

For comparison, the same nest on June 6th.  Those little buggers have grown a lot in a week!

Eastern Bluebird nestlings on 06 June 2017 (photo by Shara LeValley)
 We also checked on the four Tree Swallow nests.  One nest had chicks that appeared to have hatched in the last 24 hours.  The chicks in the other three nests are a five to ten days old.  Here is a picture of  one of the older nests.  Unfortunately most of the other photos were too dark and blurry.

Tree Swallow nestlings on 12 June 2017 (photo by Shara LeValley)
The birds were not the only babies that we found.  While walking across the lawn, we noticed a patch of Common Milkweed and out of habit began to search for Monarch eggs and caterpillars.  We found one - our first caterpillar of the year!  Because grounds was at that time mowing the lawn, we knew this caterpillar would not survive where it was found.  We collected it and took it home to rear.  We'll release it once it metamorphoses as an adult.

Monarch caterpillar (photo by Shara LeValley)
Finally, we discovered paper wasps creating a nest on the underside of a sculpture.  Wasps create these nests by chewing up wood fibers and mixing it with their saliva to create a paper-like substance.  The hexagonal shape of each cell allows the wasps to fit the maximum number of cells in a small space.

Paper wasps (photo by Shara LeValley)

Paper wasp nest on coneflower sculpture (photo by Shara LeValley)

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