I'm Off and Running
My Big Year is off to a pretty good start. Or at least I think it is. After just six days of searching, I've found 80 different species at Dorsey's Knob Park. I'll be satisfied if I reach 100 species in January.
The unusually mild 60 degree weather that we enjoyed last Saturday provided me with a few bonus species that I didn't expect to get so early in the year. Take for example this Dark Fishing Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus) that I found crawling on the outside of the Dorsey's Knob Lodge. Most species of fishing spiders stay close to water just as their name suggests. The Dark Fishing Spider is an exception. Not only do they often stray far from water, but they also regularly show up inside people's homes!
The unseasonably mild weather also brought out a few moths over the weekend. More specifically, I found three species of adult moths and a moth caterpillar. This black furry caterpillar below greeted me at my front door one morning. Its one of my favorites, a Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia). People often find these caterpillars while raking leaves during the late fall. They hibernate over the winter and develop into adults the following spring.
During the warm spell, I also photographed a caddisfly, a fly and a harvestman, but I've not yet ID'd them to species...if that's even possible. I'll know soon enough.
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