[Tweeters] Bald - faced Reality

jeff gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Thu Aug 1 19:50:18 PDT 2013

I found it amusing to check out tweeters when I got home from work today, with all the wasp posts. Unlike the murky machinations of the "Common Bald-faced Liar", creatures that often hang out beneath, or behind, the large stone domes of our national and state capitols, the Bald-faced Hornet is very honest and forthcoming in it's responsibility of preserving it's paper dome for the good of wasp society.

I found this out the hard way today as I was pruning a very tall and long thuja hedge in Snohomish. In general I get along with bugs pretty well, and mind my own business. Live and let live, that's my motto. I'd had several interesting days watching bugs on my job site.

I'd been seeing plenty of Hymenoptera (bee's and wasp's) of many types, including Bald-face Hornets while working, and it is true it's been a banner year for these insects, maybe due to our drier than usual June, and continuing sunny day's. We were all getting along fine, until this afternoon, when I unwittingly crossed the line into Bald-faced Hornet territory.

I was carefully balanced on the very top of my 8ft pruning ladder, when bam, bam, bam! I got nailed by three hornets all at once."Oh **** !!" ,I exclaimed, as I descended my ladder as fast as possible. I couldn't see the nest in the hedge, and at that point, didn't really want to.

A few years ago, trimming another huge hedge in Everett, in a similarly warm summer, I had to abandon the project till October, when the hyper-aggressive Yellowjackets went to sleep - there were just too many there to be able to work. So maybe I'll put my current job on hold a bit.

Finding some distance from the hedge I did observe a female Black-headed Grosbeak as she nabbed some form of wasp, whomped it on the power line, and ate it. Life is tough for wasp's too. I also heard a Grosbeak singing nearby, in sort of an abbreviated form. A young male, practicing maybe? And a bright flash in nearby Mahonia's turned out to be a fine male Wilson's Warbler, a bird that I haven't seen much of this year, so that was cool.

On a final bug note- yesterday I found a bright green Katydid atop the hedge - only the third one I've seen here in Washington.

Jeff Gibson
trying to work in,
Snohomish Wa

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