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Roaring Fork Valley Phenology | August 26, 2013

What are you seeing out there as we enter September?

Hummingbird moths, aka White-lined sphinx moths Hyles lineata, have been spotted gathering nectar recently around dusk.  This photo was taken recently in Aspen’s West End. These moths, along with hummingbirds, some bats, and hoverflies (which look a lot like bees), developed hovering skills through convergent evolution. 

Other things I’ve noticed on my walks are several of piles of berry-filled scat. This year’s bumper crop of berries will hopefully keep bears out of town, houses, and cars. The acorn crop is shaping up nicely too.

One of the hardest parts of recording animal phenology is noticing when a specific animal leaves an area. I am interested when the last hummingbird, swallow, and wren leave the area. Most seem to have left but I saw one of each yesterday. The “departure” and “arrival” dates of each species will be hopefully become an interesting story of seasonal change. I’ll know when to expect the hummingbird moth next year based on my observations this year.

~ Jim Kravitz, Director of Naturalist Programs