The buzzing sounds of summer aren’t just the soundtrack of sunny days, they also mean pollinators are hard at work.
Insects do much of the work of pollination, and while many grasses are wind-pollinated, most flowers and seed plants need help, said naturalist Marnie Reed Crowell. She and her husband Ken Crowell led an Island Heritage Trust nature walk titled “Butterflies, Bees and Biodiversity” at Scott’s Landing.
“This is nature in the slow lane,” said Reed Crowell, who advocates walking very slowly to observe the tiny flies, moths, bees and other insects of summer.
This kind of observation pairs well with the act of birding, as birding is most successful in the transitional hours of the day. “Once the sun is up and it’s warm, you can transition to looking at insects,” said Reed Crowell. She recommends purchasing binoculars that have both the ability to focus far distances and close distances.
Perhaps the best thing, though, is a digital camera, she continued. “Now they have digital recognition, so you can send a picture to the North American Butterfly and Moth Association and have it ID’d,” said Reed Crowell. The information is then verified and becomes part of the record for Hancock County—a database of information kept on insects, which could then be used to track climate change or other issues.
The Crowells led the group of eight through the fields and woods of Scott’s Landing, pointing out the juvenile grasshoppers and flies among the swamp candles. Before heading into the woods, Reed Crowell said to be on the lookout for spearmarked blacks, a day moth that prefers shade that is about the size of a dime and is black with a white chevron stripe on it.
Others were too busy checking out a yellow-bellied sapsucker to catch one of the day moths. Another moth, a Ctenucha, was found on some flowers in the meadow.
For a full schedule of Island Heritage Events, visit islandheritagetrust.org.