Woolly Bear Wear, 2017

What the well-dressed woolly bear is wearing this year! Follow them down the runway to select your favorite outfit for Fall 2017!

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The woolly bear caterpillar—also called woolly worm and fuzzy worm—has the reputation of being able to forecast the coming winter weather. Whether this is fact or folklore, learn more about this legendary caterpillar and how to “read” the worm.

Here’s the legend: The Woolly Bear caterpillar has 13 distinct segments of either rusty brown or black. The wider the rusty brown sections (or the more brown segments there are), the milder the coming winter will be. The more black there is, the more severe the winter.

How the Woolly Bear Caterpillar Became “Famous”

  • In the fall of 1948, Dr. C. H. Curran, curator of insects at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, took his wife 40 miles north of the city to Bear Mountain State Park to look at woolly bear caterpillars.
  • Dr. Curran collected as many caterpillars as he could in a day, determined the average number of reddish-brown segments, and forecast the coming winter weather through a reporter friend at The New York Herald Tribune.
  • Dr. Curran’s experiment, which he continued over the next eight years, attempted to prove scientifically a weather rule of thumb that was as old as the hills around Bear Mountain. The resulting publicity made the woolly worm the most recognizable caterpillar in North America.

 

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What could possibly happen in 15 minutes?

What could possibly happen in 15 minutes? The photos above were taken at 5 PM and 5:15 PM. Try it yourself. Take a photo of anything. Then take a photo of the same thing 15 minutes later. What has changed? Amazing! Please let me know what you chose to photograph. (Photos were taken 2/8/17)

Popcorn or pollen?!

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Doesn’t the pollen look like popcorn? Hibiscus must be an ancient plant. The flowers are amazing!  The red circles are the stigmas and they are perched on the styles (female parts) while the popcorn is the anther perched on the filament (male parts). Wouldn’t you know the popcorn is male? The anther produces pollen ( male reproductive cells). Now you know who to blame for all that sneezing!

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Morning photo to compare with evening photo above.

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Is that dramatic or what?! You don’t need a magnifying glass to study this plant’s reproductive parts, just a comfortable bench and an iced tea.

Raccoons love Whole Foods!

Raccoons eat insects

Guess what this raccoon had for dinner last night. Raccoons have a varied diet, similar to ours. Raccoons eat berries, other fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables. They also eat insects, eggs, poultry, rats, squirrels, small livestock, birds, fish, snakes, craw fish, worms, frogs, and mollusks. Additionally, raccoons will eat pet food, carrion, and human garbage.

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You can tell it was a raccoon meal because they are so tidy. Craw fish remains from another feast are similarly displayed. Did you guess what raccoon had for dinner last night?

 

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Oh dear…

It’s a boy! Sexing Monarch butterflies!

Insect Monarch

This Monarch butterfly is a boy! You can tell because there is a small black dot on his hindwing (lower wing). Look for it on the narrow vein close to the butterfly’s abdomen (back end of his body).  Who ever thought sexing butterflies could be so easy?

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Here is a shot of the underside of the hindwing. This Monarch is enjoying nectar from wing stem sunflowers. Find some tasty flowers and enjoy butterfly watching while the weather is still warm and wonderful.