August 6, 2017

Martha O'Kennon

What a trip! I am editing this from the coolth of the upper part of the Lower Peninsula of MI, not too far from Mackinaw City/Mackinac Island, Michigan's tourist destination. Here are some pictures from there! I finally learned that M. City is not on M. Island, but a quick ferry ride from one to the other. One of the highpoints of any wonderful trip is the Butterfly House, this one on Mackinac Island, far from the hustle and bustle of the City part of the island. Here's one of the more cooperative big Owl Butterflies, actually landing with open wings. Next is Arch Rock on the Island, part of the beautiful natural environment. Charlevoix is famous for its Earl Young Hobbit (or Mushroom) Houses.

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. Sometimes the second click will actually display a different view of the original image.

On my friends' garage were many live ants and skeletal remains of other arthropods. One is the former case of one of the many mayflies they have in the summer.... This one was on their red patio floor. Next are a couple of ants, one dragging the corpse of an earwig. And finally this tiny moth had been decorating their bathroom wall for at least a year, and will continue on for many more, I hope.

Back at home, I saw only one beetle (no bees to speak of), this metallic greenish beetle that has been such a good companion all summer; alphabetically, Big Bunny back at the house. And a tiny assassin bug nymph (two images).

Leafhoppers (still back in Albion): That Scaphoideus that looks like a flowery patterned model; the mystery one with a strong pattern down the back; a nymph of Coelidia olitoria, and finally - an adult! The eyes give the secret away, don't they? .

A few more bugs, first of all one of those leathery-looking ones with the cut-out trompe l'oeils; then a new one to me and my yard; Then two spittlebugs, one the Alder Spittlebug, and the other one the Meadow Spittlebug.

Back home, we see a reddish stink bug (with no stink), and another of "my" butterflies, a skipper enjoying the flowers. And here is the hermit crab of my wonderful neighbor Debbie, who fed my cats, bunny and fish while I was up north. I get to feed him and her two cats when she's away!

A few butterflies sup on a nice banana in that butterfly house up north (the one with the spots is an Owl Butterfly -- they are blue while flying and then land upside down so those two big spots look like owl's eyes - in case you can't believe that this big spotted animal and that gorgeous one at the top of this blog aren't the same species, here is one opening its wings.

A huge-eyed damselfly; a juvenile Autumn Meadowhawk; And a female Eastern Pondhawk, the one that is mostly green.

Next comes something that looks like a clutch of eggs, but whose? And a good part of the Famille Fish.

Next up, a moth fly. Then, a pretty little mystery fly and following that a spotty-winged orange fruitfly relative. Now please cover your children's eyes and maybe your own -- the tiny Toxomerus geminatus hoverflies are ensuring the next generation. these are such very tiny flies and yet they are everywhere. If you chance upon a very tiny fly, especially if it seems to be sitting very still in midair, this might be it.

Here are three frogs. One is a baby tree frog, then a larger one taken by my friend Jackie. Then that small Green Frog that we found in the pond a couple of weeks ago. I hope he/she will stick with us.

Now some harvestmen - there are many species although these are typical of what I find in my yard. The color is so variable - the first two and the last one might even be the same species.

Some pretty flower pictures? Why not? But first we interrupt this program to bring you the ONLY adolescent katydid I saw last week. and only this one katydid nymph. It is a male (no ovipositor, which it would have by this time in its development(you can see a growing wing poking out from behind the hind thigh) if it were a female) Now for the flowers! Here is my hugest hosta, Sun and Substance, finally in full bloom. This greenish-yellowish-white water lily is the first of its kind this summer. Now we have three kinds in bloom.

This one might be listed under "moth" or "mystery". Actually it seems to be both. Often when they stand like this at a 45-degree angle to the ground, they are some sort of leaf miner, or better, their larvae are. These next two are mysterious objects, the last seeming to have been an insect vignette in a better time.

Some more scenery/buildings: First off, the Petoskey Art Center. Next, one of the "Mushroom Houses" in Charlevoix, and finally, the Horton Bay General Store, famous for one of its patrons, Ernest Hemingway. And finally again, a pretty cottage in Bay View.


For once, we had hardly any fly visitors, but quite a lot more spiders! When we first arrived up north and I was putting my stuff away in my room, I found a tiny spider, which might be one of those yellow sac spiders. I had to put her into the fridge for a while before she would keep still enough for me to focus and shoot. She was really a fast mover! She had those blackish mouthparts that made me also think of a ghost spider... Then again she had this sort of gait like a horse......

Home again. Last week as I was bringing my garbage can back from the street, I noticed it had an interesting little spider on it, waving its arms and trying to look fearsome. This larger one was resting on my shop siding, but got moving when it saw me. These crab spiders are always tiny, but for some reason right now they are even smaller - the earlier ones must have laid eggs, and these are the progeny!

But I've been saving the best spider picture for the last! Here is the usual view, your plain old garden-variety grass spider. They're the ones that make those little funnel-ish webs, so many that sometimes you think every single plant has one or more grass spiders. But for some reason I felt I must shoot the other side too. So I carefully dodged my milkweed nursery and took two shots of the other side. When I saw upon cropping what I had in the camera, I laughed myself silly thinking how you were going to laugh yourselves silly when you saw it. OK, so shot one is the ho-hum one. I'm clueless as to how the other sides got to look like this. The eyepiece is either a Borg eyepiece or a parasite!

I wasn't home enough to get as many pictures as usual. Here is the one wasp I saw racing about on the stones by the pond, looking for a diner that's still open.

A few more dashes of color! The pink water lily has been extravagantly colored all summer, while the yellow-greenish white one has just appeared this week. And the reddish-violet hosta is starting to bloom. I must say, even though the goldenrod and the hosta are budded out, especially the goldenrod, neither of them has a flower out yet!

In order to collect more good bugs I will probably have the next blog ready for you on August 20. I had a wonderful week even though I didn't spend it all talking to bugs and spiders and flowers and wasps! :-) I should try to spend more time like that - But then there are the critters everywhere - and wonderful people too. Take good care of yourselves AND the roses you are responsible for.

Love, Martha

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2017