Summer Azure

Here’s a picture I took today of a very fresh Summer Azure.

Summer Azure 2

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PA early record Summer Azure

Today I had a small batch of Summer Azures (Celastrina neglecta) in and around the stand of pines and cedars in the park.  This is where I usually find the first batch of the year. But this year, they were the earliest that they have ever been recorded in Pennsylvania!  By several weeks. Not a complete surprise given that there were some recorded in New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia during the warm weather in February. But this one (see pic) seemed worn to me being as they had just emerged which had me wondering if it had emerged much earlier than today.

Summer Azure PA record early date

 

These azures are part of a group referred to as the Celastrina Complex which is something for another post. One of the other azures is the Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) which emerges a bit later. So why would a Spring Azure emerge later than a Summer Azure?  The Spring Azure is univoltine which means they only have one brood a year. That being in the spring. Summer Azures are bivoltine having two broods. The second brood being out around Memorial Day. So…  the Summer Azures are around in the summer but a ‘Spring’ Azure could be a Spring Azure or a Summer Azure!  And the Celastrina Complex is WAY more complicated than that!  Here’s  a Summer Azure from last year that is nicer looking.

Summer Azure

True Bugs

A warm, sunny day and a half a dozen Small Milkweed Bugs were sunbathing in the park along with a larger bug, the Box Elder Bug. They are related but the Small Milkweed Bug is in a family called Seed Bugs and the Box Elder Bug is in a family called Scentless Plant Bugs. The Box Elder Bug, in front, is a bit larger with different patterns of red on the body and red eyes.

box-elder-bug

Bug has become a generic term for any insect, but there is an Order (Hemiptera) that entomologists would refer to as ‘True Bugs’ This would also include Stink Bugs, Assassin Bugs, Cicadas, etc.

Year round resident

A resident of the park that can potentially be seen year round is the Small Milkweed Bug  (Lygaeus kalmii)  As the name implies it can be found on Milkweed in the warmer months. It crawls into cracks and crevasses in the winter but will come out on sunny days. This one was on the storage shed by the pavilion. small-milkweed-bug

 

 

 

Year round visitor

Since I wrote about a winter visitor last time, I thought I would write about a bird that can potentially be seen in the park at any time. The Cedar Waxwing. Maybe best described as simply elegant.  A nomadic bird and generally seen in small flocks, they can show up at any time landing in one of the cedars or any other tree. I’ve never seen a nest in the park but have watched them flying into the park and carrying food away indicative of nesting and feeding young.

cewa