I have posted this in Dave's garden insect ID forum as well, but figured
maybe someone here might recognize this formidable critter.
I am in the Catskills, and have been feeding both the hummingbirds and
more recently a small swarm of honey bees. This year the yellow jackets
and bumbles joined in at the buffet, and as if they know I am helping
them they have been surprisingly peaceable - not one sting. Today,
however, I found my calm shattered when I was refilling some feeders and
noticed a new visitor. This thing was between 1 1/2 and 2 inches long,
mostly black or dark brown it was in the shade so I'm not positive, no
obvious body stripes, what appeared to be a single set of wings the
length of the body, kept swept back neatly along the stocky un-wasp-like
body - not held out to the side when at rest, and 6 bright yellow
powerful looking legs. No long ovipositor and if it had a sting I didn't
see it, but at that size I didn't get too close
Fast too! One moment I was watching it, trying to memorize it - so
unusual - then I blinked and it was airborne near my ear - no noticeable
sound, but there were so many buzzing around I can't be sure. I ran!
Later I thought to go for my camera, but by the time I got back it was
gone. If I see it again I will try to get a picture, but it scared the
p!$$ out of me! I have been working to learn all the US native bees, but
this thing looked like Godzilla next to the relatively puny yellow jackets!
I hope my observational skills alone will help ID this monster but will
attempt to snap a picture if it returns tomorrow. If I get one I will
post it on my Flickr site as well as the forum.
Toleration is not the opposite of intolerance but the counterfeit of it.
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