June 3, 2018

Martha O'Kennon

Now that spring is established and I've left the annuals out for a couple of weeks now, I just realized that in a couple more weeks it will officially be SUMMER! It was almost 90 F here yesterday and I'm getting paid back for not getting the AC checked out last summer and now the almost 30-year-old AC is suffering from old age. It is scheduled for a checkup on June 11, and the good news is that it is now cooling down for the night (it doesn't always). The critters are coming back and some of them are letting me take multiple photos of them. The only critter that I'm not very fond of is the Mosquitoes. They are actually a very attractive sort of fly, and if they were just a little less bloodthirsty I could understand. But enough about them!

The flowers are changing - including the water lilies, which started about 4 days ago. A nice magenta one has now bloomed for 3 days and a pinker one started up today, but I missed the time to photograph it. A few of my irises which have been strangled for years by the goutweed (more later) are actually blooming! Here's the magenta one and a bud of the same plant. In the side yard, the ranunculus (buttercups) are showing off. They have a sheen that catches the sun are makes them seem to glow. Another newcomer is the orange poppies, which had taken a holiday last year, and I'm glad to see them back.

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.

Momma Robin is still sitting patiently on her nest. Most everyone around here thinks that she must have laid more eggs, how many nobody is guessing. But she is still faithfully sitting on however many there are there now. The goutweed attracts ants and they do spend a lot of time patrolling it. Exciting news- the barklice are coming back. This lovely one with gold and black and clear pattern has been one of my favorite signs of summer coming for a long time. The last one may be a nymphal form of it or some other barklouse.

I haven't yet been able to identify this first one, but it surely does seem to be related to the barklice or the psyllids. Next is a bee (maybe Andrena) and its ant friend in the goutweed. Third is a bee or a wasp, and fourth is a carpet beetle in the goutweed again. This and the next week or two is when the goutweed repays me for letting it grow - it always has the most interesting collection of insects in it!

Here's another carpet beetle, then a possible click beetle. Third is another click beetle, but in the goldenrod, not the goutweed.

If you remember the Oulema beetle from last time or time before that, this seems to be another one. I believe we saw this sturdy red one last week. Next are two members of the Valgus genus, V. hemipterus and V. canaliculatus.

Here is either a weevil or the bust of one of the stern races in Star Trek, followed by another view. The next is a Black Vine Weevil, who I found walking around the lip of my breakfast bowl.

More weevils. Here is a Redbud Bruchid in the goutweed, and one of my real true favorites: a Rhubarb Weevil, but I always want to call it a Banana Weevil. Doesn't it look like a banana peel on legs? Later their snout will turn dark and look even more like the stem of a banana. The last one isn't a weevil, but it is a beetle, Strangalepta abbreviata.

We're into the bugs. Here's a nice golden one, two views.

We had two new leafhoppers this week, in addition to a little greenish yellow thing that would not sit for a portrait. This is our old friend Agallia 4-spot. I don't know the second one. The red and black mirid plant bugs are doing well this year. I think they are somewhat like Dorian Grey. They keep getting prettier, but their hosts get sicker and sicker.

I think these are the youngest sharpshooters I've ever seen. (Sharpshooters include the leafhoppers.) Second is a brown marmorated Stinker walking around my crown molding. Finally a yellow bug reflected off the shop wall - too much flash!

Is it a fly? A wasp? I dunno. But here is is. This is the first dragonfly of the year for me. Too bad I only got this one faraway shot of it. The next one is from a few years ago, while it was sleeping.

The fishes get fed sometimes. It's certainly warm enough now. Here's a European Paper Wasp gathering water. And another on the ground.

Some little flowers. First, the Cranesbill Geraniums. Then a surprise Iris. And some forget-me-nots. They are fading quickly.

Now the flies. They were rife this week, including a couple of mimics. The Eristalis transversa is a hover fly that looks a bit like a big fat bee. Here's one of genus Eupeodes. This tiny hover fly was on the raspberry flowers.

Here is a big fly mimicking a bee.

A few of those pesky mosquitoes.

I think these are both Robber Flies from their stance. The second one is eating a small yellow morsel. Third doesn't look like one you'd like to run into in a dim room.

Here is a snipe fly. It's beautiful in its own way. The next one is labeled "snipe" but I'm not sure what it is.

A few more small flies that I always look for. First a pretty little vinegar fly, then a Torch Fly, I think. A very tiny fly. And finally, a rust fly.

A few harvestmen. Still pretty much all the same, sorry. Oh, no, the last one is a little darker.

One good thing about goutweed is that the baby katydids love it.

A lovely green lacewing. Ready for when the aphids show up! And a couple of moths.

I think I've kept you from the spiders for too long. Here they come... The young Common House Spider is small but managed to snag a monster weevil. Here's a cobweb spider from the inside of the workshop. And here's a Jumping Spider, which one I don't know.

Here's my favorite, Naphrys pulex. Furry little tyke. And I think this is the Bold Jumper. It was large and active! (2 views)

Here is an orbweaver, Mangora placida. Nice to see it back. And Mimetus puritanus, one of the Pirate Spiders, in a classical pose. Finally some of the many tadpoles. I believe the fish are finding them tasty about now.

Just a few more waspy pictures: The Paper Wasps in particular like the raspberry flowers. The last two are tiny wasps that I had not seen before.

Just a few more flower vignettes, to say goodbye for now. Hope everyone is well, you know who you are.

Goodbye for now, friends.

Love, Martha

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2018