From the Top with Grown-Ups

Today in counterfactual history, NPR sells off cultural programming, new network dubbed ‘NPR Music & Entertainment’, by Wes Horner.

In all the excitement about celebrating NPR’s 50th, we’ve managed to lose sight of some of the network’s original aspirations in the arts arena, and some crazy, risk-taking frontier women and men who, like me, had a somewhat different vision for NPR than its present, near-total news identity.

At the park: 120

After my annual scuffling with the Google chart API, I can post the summary graph of nesting activity for 2021. There’s a gray vertical bar for 2020’s missing data.

Wood Duck and Hooded Merganser trend chart

The true Wood Duck numbers (blue track) are higher, because I did not include two boxes of uncertain disposition: one for which we never got a good egg count, and one dump nest of 25 eggs that didn’t show sufficient evidence that 24 of the eggs had hatched. I found one dead duckling and not much else.

Clifton Institute dragonfly/damselfly count 2021

I made the acquaintance of several new odonates during Saturday’s inaugural count organized by The Clifton Institute, as well as a warmup walk with executive director Bert Harris a couple of weeks prior.

I walked with Larry Meade, Kurt Gaskill, and others at Leopold’s Preserve (near Thoroughfare Gap) and Silver Lake Park.

Top photo observations include a nice up close Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis ), an Elegant Spreadwing (Lestes inaequalis) that we mis-ID’d at first, and an Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera) that I got to sit down for me. Slaty Skimmers (Libellula incesta) were common; making an early appearance were a few Autumn Meadowhawks (Sympetrum vicinum). I might have to start keeping a list.

100 dB

What to do when cicadas crash your outdoor wedding? Embrace the buzz:

And remember: At the very least, cicadas make for a memorable wedding. “It was actually quite fun to lean into the cicada theme,” [Lauren] Migaki said. “My little brother wore a cicada bolo tie; our favors were cicada-shaped chocolates with caramel pop rocks; and I donned a pair of gold cicada earrings for the reception in our backyard.”

“I loved hearing the noise of them in the trees above us,” she added, “feeling like we had hundreds of wedding guests.”

At the park: 119

A wrap-up message to the team:

We had a good year. 12 clutches, with hatches in all but 1 — a late clutch of only 2 eggs. A conservative estimate is 47 Wood Duck fledglings and 63 Hooded Merganser fledglings.

That estimate does not include the nest in box #13: we did not get a good estimate of the number of eggs.

And it does not count box #3: I counted 25 Wood Duck eggs on 11 April, and when I checked on 23 May, I found 1 unfledged duckling but not enough evidence that 24 eggs had hatched. I also didn’t see evidence of predation, so I’m not sure what went on in that box….

Monitors and box installers, thank you for all your help!

More recordkeeping and summarizing to do.

One or two weeks

Brood X has peaked, the little red-eyed guys have done what they set out to do, and they are passing away.

“When animals die they have a pretty distinct BAD smell,” wrote Paula Shrewsbury, also a professor of entomology at the University of Maryland, in an email. “As part of the decay process there are a number of interactions between enzymes and microbes that result in the ‘smell of death.’ Cicadas are no different than other animals; when they die they smell bad.”

Mess around

Tasty word salad spam. The cherry on top is “…try and dance on the rule and regulations given to you here.”

Apparently, I have been cautioned against dealing with scammers, and if I don’t pay the processing fee, the money I am expecting from the scammers… will be delivered?

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