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Old and new mysteries July 6, 2017

Posted by stinawp in Uncategorized.
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July 6, 2017

A mystery from my 2013 field season just got solved. I finally identified this bird, which I had such trouble with that I was wondering if Palo Verde might be outside its normal range:

PV 06-15-13 014 - CROP

It turns out it’s a roadside hawk (Rupornis magnirostris) and is perfectly common here. The problem is that the bird book shows the head as being a light ash-gray rather than the slate color here. After someone told me the color varied and a quick image search, it looks like there are ash-colored birds, slate-colored birds, and chocolate-colored birds that all have the same color pattern and are all this species. I don’t understand why the bird book doesn’t say anything about the variation, but at least that’s one mystery solved.

The new mystery is how my caterpillars are escaping from their Ziploc bags. This is happening more frequently than I’d like, especially with caterpillars that are almost ready to pupate. Sometimes there’s a hole in the bag, sometimes it seems like the bag didn’t get completely zipped, but most of the time the bags seem well-sealed. My field assistant and I are making jokes about ninja caterpillars, but we have no idea what’s going on.

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