Found actively exploring a lawn, with a parent in attendance (who didn't seem particularly perturbed by my presence on the sidewalk a few feet from the baby, but did retreat & wait for me to leave). While it's no longer in the nest, it may not really be able to fly (opinions?), so I'm not sure you could call it a fledgling. Perhaps fell from its branch prematurely & will be tended on the ground until it can fly (assuming some predator doesn't pick it off)?
'Forced extra-pair copulations' are common in Mallards. We witnessed this scene in our local park. What first drew our attention was the female waddling along, quacking up a storm. The males came running after her, grabbing at her tail, wings, neck, anything they could get a hold of. She made no attempt to fly away, but maybe she was already exhausted (which apparently is typical of so-called 'rape flights'). There were up to 5 of them after her at one point, typically with a couple of them actively trying to grab her by the nape at any give point & the others looking on & quacking.
And yet, as violent as this scene is, she may have the last laugh. One-third of mallard copulations are forced, but they are responsible for only 3% of the ducklings hatched. So why are cooperative matings 10x more likely to result in fertilization? In a bizarre evolutionary battle of the sexes, the female has evolved an oviduct that corkscrews in the opposite direction from the male's penis. So without her wholehearted cooperation, he's not able to inject his semen deep enough to do much good.
Coleomegilla maculata. 6 mm long. Unlike most ladybugs, which are mainly predators, this one loves pollen, which was found dusting these corn leaves in abundance.
Very docile, once they settled down. Tended to drop to the ground if disturbed (perhaps a defense mechanism against bats?), but happy to perch on a finger. Picked this one up and placed on this leaf for a nice photo op. Wingspan 8 cm.
Best viewed large
Nymph, 7.5 mm long.
Tiny little thing growing as a lawn weed in sandy soil.
Spotted this improbably beautiful flower one morning on my walk to the train, growing in a gap between the brick walkway and a lightpost. But it only has 1 flower at a time, & they only last the morning. So I stalked it for weeks, watching to see if it had buds that looked about to bloom, and toting my camera & trying to leave early for the train if it did.
I love the seed capsule, too -- that's a developing one next to the flower, & a couple of mature ones out of focus below.
IDed on BugGuide by Lloyd Gonzales via Roger Rohrbeck. We are ~0.5 km from the Raritan Estuary here.
Slaty Skimmer male
An early spring species typically found near sandy lakes & ponds (as here, probably a couple hundred meters from Helmetta Pond).
Andy Hamilton says Ceresa lutea is "the common eastern 'hornless' species with dark legs", & confirms the ID on this specimen. On Bracken Fern in pine barrens understory. Seriously camouflaged -- apparently this sp. feeds on lots of other plants, but it sure looks perfectly designed to resemble one of the fern leaflets!