The 275th bird species I have photographed in Missouri and contiguous states turned out to be a special one. This Eastern Screech Owl is definitely the current most famous bird in the bi-state area. Many thanks to Miguel Acosta for the information. A long time coming.
I happened to notice that I had a few in the queue that featured the color yellow. In most of them the yellow is featured on the bird, but in the one above the yellow is of a flowering plant, perhaps yellow rocket (Barbarea vulgaris), in the foreground and background.
The final and perhaps most stunning of the slug moth caterpillars that we were able to find this past summer was the Monkey Slug, or “Hag Moth” caterpillar. This particular one was first noticed by Sarah on the upper side of a dogwood leaf during a visit to Horseshoe Bend Natural Area near Houston MO. We went on to find two in this particular tree.
A leading thought on why these guys look the way they do is to mimic the shed exoskeleton of a tarantula.
I found only a few Elegant-tailed Slugs this year and all were found at Hickory Canyons Natural Area in Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri. The image below documents the only occasion where I found more than one slug on the same leaf, here a Spiny Oak Slug was found on the same curled leaf as our new Elegant-tailed Slug.
Of course, going to a new region for birding is great for finding those species that you have long-anticipated being able to see. In the Texas gulf coast region the Roseate Spoonbill, the Tri-colored Heron, the Crested Caracara and quite a few others can be fit into this category. I have done enough of this type of birding now to get just as excited by the surprises – finding the species I wasn’t expecting, or had not even heard of. The Bronzed Cowbird was one such species during our trip in May.
And the way we got to see this bird for the first time, by performing this hovering display for the ladies, was quite memorable. He kept this position – not moving his head from the chain-link section seen here for several seconds. Check out the bright red iris on these guys.
We also saw a few of the more common Brown-headed Cowbirds. It was nice seeing them in open habitat where they actually belonged and not reeking havoc in the fragmented forests back home.