Monday, March 26, 2007

NEW MOTHS IN BAKER & UNION COUNTIES (Oh, & did I mention Iraq?)

Ceanothus Silkmoth

During the last year, there have been range extensions for three moths in Baker and Union Counties While the ranges may not have been accounted for yet on the Butterflies and Moths of North America web site , you can still find information about them on the site. The site keeps track of where moths and butterflies can be found in North America and have pictures with information about each species.

Ceanothus Silkmoth

Last summer my friend Alice Lentz found a Ceanothus silkmoth, Hyalophora euryalus, while we were hiking in southern Union County, OR. It was sitting out the day in a wild rose bush at a spring area. This beautiful, large (3.5 to 5 inch wingspan) moth has never before been documented to occur east of Crook County in Oregon. The larvae feed on several species of shrubs, including ceanothus, gooseberry, willow, alder and mountain mahogany.

Hera Buckmoth

On August 13th of last year, while surveying for plants along the proposed power line route for a wind power project in southern Union County, Leslie Gecy and myself came across a second species of a large beautiful moth not yet recorded in that county. The Hera Buckmoth, Hemileuca hera, is unusual for moths generally in that it is a daytime flier, while most moths fly at night. We found it again, flying in large numbers, a few days later on a near by property. It can be found in large stands of its host plant, big sagebrush, Artemisia tridentata, in most of S.E. Oregon except for possibly Harney County, where it has not yet been recorded. Southern Union County may be the northern extent of its range in Oregon.

I am always amazed at how tough and resilient life can be, particularly when it comes to resisting temperature extremes, like those of northern winters. According to the moth and butterfly site mentioned above, Hera Buckmoth endures the winter here as eggs laid in rings around the host plant, hatching from April to June to feed on the sagebrush. Grown caterpillars again overwinter, as cocoons in the soil or leaf litter, and the adult moths make their debut in the spring.
Hera Buckmoth

On March 14th of this year, while out on Elk Creek Road here in Baker County, OR, I found a Pacific Green Sphinx, Arctonotus lucidus. It has been seen as far east as Lake County, but has not been previously documented in Baker County. This moth is related to the sphinx moth that feeds on tomato plants in much of the U.S., but is smaller. It feeds on evening primrose and clarkia, both of which can be found locally, although not in particularly large numbers.

Common Evening Primrose
Oenothera villosa
Host Plant of the Pacific Green Sphinx
When you are out and about in N.E. Oregon this year, keep an eye out for interesting species that people might not know about. Tell someone about it (Like Me!) and try to get a picture of it or if is common and legal, take a specimen to be identified. There is no doubt that the occurrence of more species out there have yet been documented.

Wood Duck
There is a lot of bird activity in N.E. Oregon right now. Ducks and geese are migrating through in large numbers and new spring and summer breeding birds are arriving every day. One local highlight was a pair of wood ducks seen by Joanne Britton on the little bay of UPS pond # 2. Wood Ducks don't stick around long in the Baker City area due to the absence of suitable habitat like well wooded ponds. (Steve Culley is trying to get OTEC to dig deep holes around the 203 pond so as to plant more trees and will need volunteers.) Other sightings were the tundra swans and savannah sparrows reported by Doug Shorey at or near Baldock Slough. Joanne also saw the former at Beautiful Lake Bob, plus a pied grebe at the UPS ponds. I saw a pied grebe with young at the same location last year. Ring-necked ducks are also making a pretty good showing at the 203 pond and at the pond by Britton sand & gravel on S. Airport near Lindley road. Alice Lentz and I counted 24 yesterday at the last site. Both Joanne and I thought we heard a curlew in the last two days. Joanne also reported seeing violet green swallows in the vicinity of Old Auburn and Beaver Creek Roads on Saturday the 24th.

Other waterfowl that can be found on our ponds locally or at Ladd Marsh include Greater white-fronted, Snow geese, Mallards, Northern pintail, American wigeons, Canvasbacks, Northern shoveler, Green-winged teal, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Common Goldeneye, Buffleheads, Common Mergansers, Scaup, Red-heads, and Gadwall (and?).

Virginia rails, Marsh wren, Savannah sparrow, Vesper sparrow were also noted Saturday the 24th at Ladd Marsh.

Craig Bennett of LaGrande also reports other new arrivals at Ladd Marsh:

“Had my first of the year Long Billed Curlew and Greater Yellowlegs at Ladd Marsh this afternoon. The Curlew was on Pierce Road just south of Ladd Marsh Headquarters on the east side of the road nicely visible from the little bridge. The Yellowlegs was patrolling the shallows of the largest pond on the east side of Peach Road.

Also saw a couple hundred White Fronted Geese, lots of Tundra Swans, and 5 Snow Geese all along Peach Road. Also had about 20 Sandhill Cranes near the Ladd Creek Bridge on Peach. Lots doing at the marsh these days!”

A Little Humor From Mary McCracken in LaGrande:


"A people may prefer a free government, but if, from indolence, or carelessness, or cowardice, or want of public spirit, they are unequal to the exertions necessary for preserving it; if they will not fight for it when it is directly attacked; if they can be deluded by the artifices used to cheat them out of it; if by momentary discouragement, or temporary panic, or a fit of enthusiasm for an individual, they can be induced to lay their liberties at the feet even of a great man, or trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions; in all these cases they are more or less unfit for liberty: and though it may be for their good to have had it even for a short time, they are unlikely long to enjoy it." -- John Stuart Mill, Representative Government, 1861


From Information Clearing House:


By Cindy Sheehan
Gold Star Families for Peace

The Democratic Congress betrayed American voters, the troops in Iraq and extended the occupation for at least another 18 months.


An Open Letter to the President...Four and a Half Years Later

By Sean Penn

You say we've kept the war on terror off our shores by responding to a criminal act of terror through state sponsored unilateral aggression in a country that took no part in that initial crime. That this war would be fought in Iraq or fought here. They are not our toilet. They are a country of human beings whose lives, while once oppressed by Saddam, are now lived in Dante's inferno.


Support the Troops By Sending Them to War!

How can the Democratic leadership say that with a straight face?

By Kevin Zeese

Do we support the troops when we send them to die and kill? Do we support the troops when we send them into a quagmire without adequate armor?


MoveOn moves in with Pelosi

By Farhad Manjoo

I think the peace movement is being hijacked and rerouted to serve a Democratic leadership and the 2008 political agenda.


Witness to a war crime

Video Shows U.S. Soldiers Killing Unarmed Iraqi Civilians

2 Minute Video

Click to view



Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people. The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of a private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. Franklin D.

Roosevelt : Message to Congress proposing the monopoly investigation, 1938

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