The Birds From Brazil – Rufous-tailed Jacamar

English: Rufous-tailed Jacamar

Portuguese: Ariramba-de-cauda-ruiva

LB: Galbula ruficauda


Rufous-tailed Jacamar
Rufous-tailed Jacamar
Rufous-tailed Jacamar
Rufous-tailed Jacamar



They’re Allowing Ozark Bill to Present in an Art Show…Again!?!?

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That’s right!  I am excited to announce that OZB will once again be presenting his work (~100 unique prints will be available) at Art at the Shaw Nature Reserve 9th Annual Show & Sale to be held the weekend of November 8th and 9th.  I would love to meet and say hello to all of you who have given me support through our relationships via Flickr and A Thousand Acres of Silphiums over the years.  There will be more than 20 artists, providing art in a wide variety of mediums, including one particularly pathetic photographer… 😉   Here are directions to the show…



Bugs in the Backyard – Locust Borer

Locust Borer
Locust Borer

This Locust Borer (Family Cerambycidae) was photographed this fall feeding on Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima) that grow in my wildflower patches in our yard.

Locust Borer
Locust Borer

The Locust Borer’s preferred larval host plant, the black locust tree, is now widespread across North America and Europe, but was originally found in the Appalachian and Ozark regions.

Locust Borer
Locust Borer

It is unclear whether the color and pattern of this long-horned beetle serves to mimic the aposematic  coloration of the well-known yellow jacket wasps (Batesian mimicry), or for crypsis – allowing for camouflage in the goldenrod, where they are often found.

Locust Borer
Locust Borer



Busy Bees…

I apologize for the tacky post title.  I just wanted to let everyone know that I am busy at work in preparation for the ninth annual Art at the Shaw Nature Reserve Show and Sale – 2014.  If you are reading this and have the ability to visit, please stop by to see more than 20 talented artists of many different media.  I look forward to meeting and talk with you.  It is a very nice event.

Here is a photo…

Honeybee Harvesting Silphium
Honeybee Harvesting Silphium

Nesting Birds of Missouri – Acadian Flycatcher

Warning: although I find the material in this post quite interesting and I am pleased with the observations made and detective work accomplished, there is not, unfortunately, a happy ending.

Having the fortune of living within minutes of a few Ste. Genevieve County gems, this summer Steve was fortunate to find something we had been on the lookout for while on a stroll at Hawn S.P.  He sent word that he had found an active nest of a pair of Acadian Flycatchers.  Not only that, but it was in a fairly nice position for photography and the pair did not seem too concerned if the viewer stayed low and silent.  Needless to say, I was excited.  We visited days later to find mom on the eggs – yet to hatch.

Acadian Flycatcher - On Nest
Acadian Flycatcher – On Nest

The female would leave the nest for less than three to four minutes at a time to feed herself.  The male was primarily concerned with scouting and announcing his territory, vocalizing continuously as he traveled its circumference.

Acadian Flycatchers - Mom Taking a Break
Acadian Flycatchers – Mom Taking a Break

Once in a while both parents would be at the nest at the same time.  Gee, I wonder why dad doesn’t come around more often… 😉  We were surprised by the relatively large size of the bird’s beaks and the small size of the nest!

Acadian Flycatchers - Giving the Business
Acadian Flycatchers – Giving the Business

To give some idea of the habitat these guys were using…  These are definitely forest dwelling birds.  This section of Hawn was close to a 50:50 mix of Short-leaf Pine and deciduous trees.  The nest itself was located in a Black Gum that was approximately 30-40′ tall.

Acadian Flycatchers - Habitat Shot
Acadian Flycatchers – Habitat Shot

A follow up visit a week later found that two visible chicks were in that tiny nest!  In the photo below, one of the parents had just brought a spider back to feed to one of the altricial young.

Acadian Flycatchers - Feeding Time
Acadian Flycatchers – Feeding Time

The next photo documents the large, developing eyes of these sightless young.  Also take note of the characteristic nests of these birds.  The tendrils on these nests are strung up with spider webs and can be up to a meter long.  According to the literature, this nest is near the maximum height range from the ground (~25′) that this species will build.  As great as this was, I would love to find a nest built lower.

Acadian Flycatchers - Unmistakable
Acadian Flycatchers – Unmistakable

The following Saturday we visited during prime lighting hours for where the nest was located.  With the relatively quick fledging time of these songbirds, we gave it about a 50% chance that the chicks would still be in the nest.  We got to our viewing spot – a dry creek bed that gave us partial cover, and waited.  Other than an occasional song from dad at a distance, we had no sign whatsoever of anything going on at the nest.  After sitting silent and ready for about 40 minutes, we had concluded that the nest was no longer in use.  The chicks might have fledged?

We decided we could safely walk directly under the nest without interfering with anything.  When we arrived we were disappointed to find that both chicks were lying directly underneath the nest, dead.  For a while we contemplated what could have happened.  Could a storm or wind gust have knocked them from the perch?  As we lamented the demise of these fresh beings, Steve saw something near the crotch where the nest branch met the trunk.  Here is what we observed and answered our questions.

Black Rat Snake - Eater of Chicks
Black Rat Snake – Eater of Chicks

See that bulge in this young Rat Snake?  We hypothesized that this was a third chick that this guy had preyed upon.  We suppose that during the process of ingesting this chick, the other two were either pushed or decided they were better off jumping from the nest, then wait for the fate of the unfortunate sibling.  We were fortunate to arrive at the nest in time to spot this snake before it had moved on.  We bothered it long enough to take some images, then let him hide in peace to digest his meal.