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August 2022

Welcome to Fred's Playhouse

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Granddaughter Elby made a brief stop at the Celery Farm on Wednesday.

Her first question as she approached the Warden's Watch was: "What's that grown man doing on top of the playhouse?"

It turned out that the grown man, Fred Weber, was watching a Short-billed Dowitcher, a Stilt Sandpiper and other shorebirds on the distant mudflats. The first two were both Celery Farm life birds for me. (Thanks, Fred!)

Elby also pointed out that the playhouse had seating for adults on top but lacked a slide.


Lights Out For Lanternflies

The Clove at High Mountain is one of my favorite spots. The ravine has many Trees of Heaven, which are the host for the invasive Spotted Lanternfly.

I had seen none when I visited a few weeks to go. When my wife Patty and I visited yesterday, the Trees of Heaven had hundreds of the buggers.

The lanternflies were easy to find. The Nature Conservancy put blue tape around all the trees (a.k.a. Ailanthus) as part of a plan to cut them down this fall, and lanternflies abounded on all of them.

We tried to reduce the population a tad. As a friend suggested, a good old-fashioned fly swatter works best.  That said, I did feel hesitant at times to squash so many of these crop-destroying bugs.

Long term, crushing the egg masses may be more productive.  Whatever people do, I hope they refrain from using chemicals and sticky tape, which kill indiscriminately and probably do far more harm than good.

This recent article in The New York Times was helpful.

Preying Mantis

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My wife Patty spotted this dude while gardening. As she suspected, this mantis appears to be an invasive one (as opposed to simply non-native) -- a Chinese Mantis that preys on pollinators, other beneficial bugs, small hummingbirds and more.

What is the difference between a Preying Mantis and a Praying Mantis?  The latter is usually seen near Jack in the Pulpits.

(Click images below to enlarge.

You can read more about Chinese Mantises here: