Monday, August 29, 2016

Leaping to conclusions #phenology

Late yesterday afternoon, the air behind the house was full of some light-colored flying insect that must have just hatched. I kept watching for birds such as swallows to arrive and start feeding. They didn't arrive before dark, but the insect hatch may help account for an unusual overnight event of which we'd be unaware if it weren't for the awesome humidity that's returned.

a trail across the window's condensation
a trail across the window's condensation
Photo by J. Harrington

The humidity had coated most of the outside of the house windows with a layer of moisture. On the second floor picture window, something had left a track through the moisture. But, what? At first I thought it might have been the trail of a small bird flying along looking for an opening. With the consumption of more coffee, my ability to think rationally increased and I rejected that option. The trail didn't look right for the bird scenario. What else could leave a trail across vertical glass coated with moisture? Slugs? Probably not. Then, I remembered that we often have residents inhabiting the space under our deck-railing bird bath. Those residents have been known to eat a bug or two. They also have sticky pads on their toes, pads that let them climb the glass of walk-out doors. We don't have the proverbial smoking gun evidence, but I believe a strong circumstantial case has been made that the perpetrator of much befuddlement is or resembles the individual in the mug shot below.

the gray tree frog trail-maker?
the gray tree frog trail-maker?
Photo by J. Harrington

I know more about tree frog's Spring mating patterns and sounds than about Summer foods and Autumn's "hibernation" triggers. If not for this morning's tracking exercise, I'm not sure I'd every have become interested enough to see what I could learn about them. (A few days ago we mentioned a lack of Autumn phenology reporting. The situation described herein could make a case study and serve to increase interest in that season.)

  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds continue to arrive at the nectar feeder yesterday and today.

The Frog

By Hilaire Belloc

Be kind and tender to the Frog,
   And do not call him names,
As ‘Slimy skin,’ or ‘Polly-wog,’
   Or likewise ‘Ugly James,’
Or ‘Gape-a-grin,’ or ‘Toad-gone-wrong,’   
   Or ‘Billy Bandy-knees’:
The Frog is justly sensitive
   To epithets like these.
No animal will more repay
   A treatment kind and fair;
At least so lonely people say
Who keep a frog (and, by the way,   
They are extremely rare).

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Please be kind to each other while you can.