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June 9, 2012.  Tallahassee.  High today of only 81.  Overcast all day with intermittent light rain.

The Daily Bucket is a place to put your observations of the natural word in your neck of the woods.  A family of fledgling robins or a strange insect on the back door window.  Meteors.  Toadstools.  You get the idea.  Whatever you've seen please let us know about it even if it's just the weather.  Please let us know, at least in a general sense, where you reporting from

The Daily Bucket doesn't seem to be very Daily at the moment for which I am as much to blame as anyone.  As luck would have it I have a couple of cool contributions so here goes.

A couple of nights ago I put out my black light (June 8).  It was cool (70s) and breezy but I still got a fair number of insects coming to the sheet.  The prize of the night was this owlfly.

Owlflies are not flies at all but are members of a small order of insects known as the Neuroptera.  The name refers to the complex venation of the wings, supposedly resembling a network of nerves.  Other members of the order include Lacewings and Antlions.

Owlflies get their name from their large eyes which in many species, including this one, the eye is actually divided into two by a groove.

Here is another look at it with its wings folded.

Owlflies are in family Ascalaphidae, which only has a few species in North America, mostly in the south.  This one is in the genus Ululodes, probably Ululodes floridana  Both the adults and the larvae of owl flies are predatory on other insects.

There were some other insects as well like this long-horned beetle (family Cerambycidae) but I'll do a big insect diary sometime soon with more IDs.

The other big observation of the last little bit is related to Lake Jackson which is just across the street.  The prolonged drought of the last year or so has turned the lake, already fairly swampy, into a genuine marsh.  While boaters might mourn, the wading birds have been very appreciative.  The following pictures were digiscoped from our bedroom balcony.  Pictures are not so great as the birds were very far away and the light not so great.

There were at least 100 birds massed around areas of open water, presumably taking advantage of crowded fish and aquatic invertebrates in shrinking habitat.  Great egrets were initially the most common but more species arrived as the day progressed.

There were more Wood Storks than I have seen in one place in north Florida before (birds with black heads).  Can you spot the odd bird out in this photo?

Here it is blown up.

That's a Roseate Spoonbill, only the third one I've seen in the Tallahassee area (the other two were down near the coast in St Marks NWR) and definitely a first for the yard.

Complete list of birds seen feeding on the lake today:  Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, White Ibis, Wood Stork, Roseate Spoonbill.

Originally posted to matching mole on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 05:41 PM PDT.

Also republished by Backyard Science.

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