Friday, May 23, 2014

Eastern Tent Caterpillars: A time for a feeding frenzy & a time to say goodbye.

EASTERN TENT CATERPILLARS  Oakland County,  Michigan 
 All photos by Jonathan Schechter  5/23/2014
  The eastern tent caterpillar is a creature that is hard to miss and fascinating to watch.  The silky nests make for positive identification and the tent caterpillars tree campsites are popping up all over Oakland County in these waning days of May.  Most of the nests are secured  in the crotches of black cherry tree limbs, with the tender young leaves being the favorite food source.  The caterpillars crawl about all day munching on the leaves and return to the shelter of the nest after a last meal shortly after darkness.  Some say the caterpillars are late this year. Not so! Their emergence is timed to the food source and the great feeding frenzy began with the recent warm days and rains finally accelerated leaf growth.   Although branches are often defoliated the tree does just fine and careful observation confirms the tents are usually oriented with the largest wall facing the morning sun making for a longer feeding day.
 So is the case of these nests in my Brandon Township meadow.  
NOTE: This unfortunately is most likely my last Earth's Almanac blog post for The Oakland Press. Number 436. Its been fun! Look for a new nature blog I have created that appears on the government website of Oakland County, Michigan. WWW.LIVEOAKLANDCOUNTY.COM   is the  direct link to  my Oakland County Parks sponsored  "The Wilder Side of Oakland County"and readers will also find posts from others that promote and share tales and facts about life in Oakland County.  
Perhaps one day I will blog again for The Oakland Press.
 I have left the door open for occasional posts.


Blogger Laurie Rimon said...

Sorry to see your blogs end.... :(

May 24, 2014 at 7:16 AM 
Blogger Slade said...

Jonathan -

You will be missed! Your blog has been my one constant as I have navigated the web, moved out of Oakland County, etc. It is too bad that you will no longer be updating it. Your quick posts on nature, hiking trails, winter activities, etc. made me more cognizant of the world around me. Thank you for your time and effort! I will warmly recall some of my favorite posts including your trip to Israel, late fall trips to Sleeping Bear, and your time down in the Appalachian Mountains. Best of luck on your future endeavors. I will definitely be checking out the news site.

- Jason

May 24, 2014 at 12:28 PM 
Blogger Jim Sitko said...

I was very sorry to learn that your column, "Earth's Almanac", will be discontinued. It was one of the bright spots in reading what is now left of the Oakland Press. I'm happy to see you'll continue to bring nature to the forefront in "The Wilder Side of Oakland County". I am saddened by the Oakland Press in that over the years, many of my favorite columnists have disappeared from the scene, Marv Goodwin, Ron Marinucci, and an Indian who wrote a great business column, whose name eludes me. Your departure to me, ends a sad trend. I have no doubt you'll find new outlets for your mastery in bringing nature into our home. Jane and I love your columns and will seek you out no matter where you go. You and Mitch Albom have a lot in common with your focus on nature and critters and his on people. In addition, you're both award winners. Good luck Jonathan and all the best.

June 10, 2014 at 8:51 AM 
Blogger Jonathan Schechter said...

Thank you Slade and Jim. I too am saddened by the cut backs in the newspaper and hope to find a way to resurface in some form. I will know the status of my Sunday newspaper column very shortly; but Earth's Almanac is gone.

June 10, 2014 at 11:47 AM 

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