April 9, 2017

Martha O'Kennon

A normal Michigan Spring: warmish and coolish alternating daily, but on April 6, snow like crazy, but too wet to stay snow. Coming up: hyacinths and grape hyacinths.

Remember that there is information in the name of the file for each image. You can see it by mousing over the image - look at the lower left of the screen. Or you can click on the image to get to the (usually) larger image. Then the info is displayed in the address line above.

This week I'm seeing a few things that look like a folded leaf spilling out little white bits, which I'm wondering if they aren't eggs from some creature. These huge "red carpenter ants" (actually mostly only their thorax is reddish) seem to be devouring them like candy!

The redbud (why do I always type redbug?) weevils are growing fast! And here is your fave- the boxelder bug. Third is a black stinkbug nymph with white edges in the midst of a batch of what makes me think stinkbug eggs, though those are usually more like barrel-shaped.

Orange seemed to be the trendy color. Here is a new orange bug. It was kind enough to let me get a couple of decent pictures. The third shot was from my new camera in the blog for April 15 2018. (Christopher Lloyd was kind enough to lend me his DeLorien so as to cadge this picture.) And another orange bug (but very tiny - a couple or three mm). When I finally got a side shot, it turned out to look a little like a leafhopper. Who knows? But see this rather similar bug from the blog for April 7, 2018. Could it be?

The little "leafhopper" from above, side view. This caterpillar may well be the same species as the one last time. A new kind of case with two segments of the master of the house peeking out the top.

I got some cleaning in of the pond. It's a bit cloudy from my scooping old leaf litter off the bottom. But here you can see a nice mix of the older fish and some of the tiny ones born last fall. Click to see it better. In image 2, the black fish looking purple and orange. That white stuff on top of the pond is fishy food. Guess what it's made out of? And the reddish-orange leaves coming to the surface are lily leaves! The big calico fantail is Fanny, mother of her nation...

Here are some of the little flowers beginning to bloom. Here's the first bloom on the mauve primrose, always the first to bloom. Then here is a pulmonaria on April 2 and again April 8. You can see how the flowers start out pink and then purplish and then blue.

Flies are still here and attracting new friends every day. These first two are a Black Scavenger Fly. I've no idea what the next one is - but it looks like a fly with blond eyes.

Lots of fungus gnats again! Here's an all-black one! And a couple with shining wings and a yellow thorax! Or is that pollen?

Here's a good old-fashioned midge. And a lovely golden mosquito, female of course. How did I know? And a female gall midge.

The gall midges are back to their mischief. The loose female seems to be feeling left out. This last one wonders who the heck you are!

Here are some more unnamed flies (so far). All of them are relatives of the house fly.

Another house fly associate. A lucky shot of a tiny spotted winged fly, and last a white-footed little guy.

Only two people bit on the mystery critters quiz. Kathleen Seidl submitted:
1. Pretzel-bits fly; 2. Licorice-lump larva; 3. Spaghetti-sauce-on-a-teal-plate spider eggs 4. Mini-tractor-with-a-Mohawk caterpillar
Michelle Liao said: They're all bugs!
I really have no idea what they were! The first one could have been some spider's leftovers. The third might be some kind of eggs. The last looked like plant matter to me. The second might have been a bug or a mess of bugs left over from a spider's feast. The two respondents will share the prize, which is a life-long subscription to the backyard blog. (Note the lifelong may refer to the respondent, me, or the fate of the planet.)

Once in a while, I go outdoors in the dark (The little light on my camera helps me to see my feet and things that are fairly close.) Lacewings seem to be in their element at night. Here is one resting and here is one stretching from its long day's nap. The third one is also stretching its wings - fly or moth? I don't know. Last is a moth for sure. It was on the door at the Kellogg Center west door.

I have lots of mystery pictures. This one seems to be a picture of two of the same kind of creatures getting chummy. That's for your kids, Sheila. Next is some kind of plant matter collected in a BIG drop of water from the snow melt. Last: something fuzzy with two dots.

More mysteries! Number two is too weird not to be a living critter.

This first one does seem to be something coming out of that conical case. Number two likewise. Number 3 MIGHT be a rove beetle.

Here are some of our pillbugs.

Here is that black sawfly again. And a black slug.

I can hear Biddy saying, but where are the SPIDERS? I think you are going to be fairly happy this week. There were quite a few bigger ones who weren't scared of the lens. These first three images are of the same character. Shows how the shape changes with angle, and also how the pattern seems to change with the light.

Of course we have our ubiquitous house spiders. They are getting of a size to pose nicely. Here's also a running crab spider. Finally an upside-down ghost spider!

A few more nice-looking mystery spiders. The third is a baby pirate spider Mimetus puritanus. You can see the white "eyes" under the "face", which is really its abdomen.

Here is a baby pirate spider Mimetus puritanus. You can see the white "eyes" under the "face", which is really its abdomen. Last is what it will look like when it is grown.

Well, that's about all the market can bear, I guess. Keep well in the changing season, whatever it is and what it's changing into.
Love, Martha

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2017