May 6, 2018
Spring is here. Two days ago the toads came to visit. The Tulips bloomed overnight a couple of days ago. Many bugs, new and old, still come to emblazon their existence on the shop siding. I turned the heat almost off this week and am now using the window fan for cooling down my room. Ah Spring! Just stay a while, OK?
Here are the tulips interlaced with grape hyacinths. I used to get so angry with the squirrels who would top off the tulips (sigh) and dig up the bulbs and and bulbs of grape hyacinth. They seem to have reburied them at random throughout that welcoming bit of garden - to think that when I moved into the house in 1986 there were 32 graph hyacinths blooming. Now they are almost a complete blanket of purplish blue.
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.
Ms. Robin (Maybe that should be Dr. Robin, but I don't know from where) still sits atop that ledge nest and seems to know that the scary sight of a person crossing in front of her to get in the front door. What a trouper. I'd heard that the ground around here was too hard and that the Robins were having trouble pulling out worms. I started watering every couple of days and finally we had a couple days of good rain. I didn't take a new picture this week but just want you to know she's there. I don't think her eggs have hatched yet (no peeping from the nest). Just wanted you to know she is fine.
I think most of my ants this week are the quarter-inch (7 mm or so) variety of "carpenter ant", not the big big ones. I like this picture of a couple of them doing a modern dance routine. And this little whimsical one. I just missed a winged mama as she was ushered into the window-frame by quite a few wingless ones (males?)
Here is a huge carpenter bee (well, a bumble-type bee with an all-black rear end) trying to pollinate one of those scylla with the broad leaves. Trouble is, the bee is so heavy that the flower kept bobbing up and down. I don't know if it got any nectar or pollen on itself.
Moving on to the beetles, here is a tiny one with nice antennal racks. It is a False Metallic Wood-boring Beetle, as identified by @borisb in iNaturalist.org. The last one still needs identification.
Here is one of the Checkered Beetles. In fact there are two of them (probably the same in different lights). I still have #3 to identify.
A couple more kinds of beetle. This first one I've seen in other years, and is probably a Striped Flea Beetle (Phyllotreta striolata). The next two are weevils, the last one being a Redbud Bruchid. Note: I usually get Redbud Bruchids with a big white patch at the rear end. This one has a black and white pattern instead. Is it a species difference? Or is it a sex difference. I hope to figure that out before the next blog.
Next come a Rove Beetle, and another unknown beetle, which seems metallic.
Moving on to the bugs, here is an orange Zelus luridus. And now for the leafhoppers. Bug #2 is an Eratoneura leafhopper, and #3 is an Arboridia, just folding (or unfolding) its wings.
Here are two more leafhoppers: I don't know the name of either, but #2 is a breath-taking yellow (head end) to green (to end of abdomen) one. Third is the Western conifer seed bug.
Last bugs: Here are the white-margined (stink?) bug, a stilt bug, and a brown marmorated (Boo - hiss) stink bug. The latter got established somehow in the house over the winter. I have been placing them into a little medicine bottle when they land on me when I'm reclining at the computer.
Did someone say flies? Well, this week the types have expanded. My particular favorites are the Chironomid Midges with their various colors, long legs and bodies. Here are some males (females are harder to identify right off.). My big favorite is the green one!
Two crane flies: one smallish, one large. And a Gall Midge. When I see antennae that look like little balls barely touching, I think Gall Midge.
I hope you like green. Here are several different kinds of fly, all with shades of green in their bodies. Many of these flies are even smaller than midges, like a piece of fluff you can barely SEE. But the camera speaks.
Some more "fly-ish" looking flies. The middle one with yellow patches in its wings, is a root-maggot fly. I don't know the others.
Surprise! On May 4, the toads came back! We seem to have had two lonely males, and two mating couples besides. Here are the two pairs, one of the males, and a pile of toad eggs laid in the pond and probably the mating pair that made a lot of those eggs. The best part was that though the toads made a lot of noise trilling, I found no sign of any of their having been molested by raccons!
Some primrose plants didn't make it through the winter, but here are some that are blooming now: A mauve one in the back yard; a bright red one and a pink one in the front yard.
Froggy stayed far from the revelry, no doubt not even knowing what was happening. And a grey tree frog stayed in the front porch brickwork for at least two days. Not a bad week for amphibians!
Intermezzo: A lacewing rests on a siding bolt. A mystery picture: doesn't that look like a mouse-like creature peeping out of that hole? Except that a mouse is thousands of times bigger.
Spider lovers, here they are. First, a baby Common House Spider, looking as if it were swinging on a swing. Next, a ground crab spider (Kathleen, put away that grinder). And a Jumping Spider of Genus Hentzia.
Here's another tiny Jumping Spider, but doesn't it look like a big-eyed kitten? (Awwwwww.) Another little Jumper... And finally, what seems to be a chubby Naphrys pulex. Do you remember last year when a female blimped out so much her patterns were hard to make out until she laid her egg case, and went back to pre-pregnant looks a lot faster than a lot of us? Finally, a more nearly recognizable Naphrys pulex..
A Pirate Spider, tiptoeing somewhere; a baby Pirate with wrapped prey (I think). Finally, some of the Pulmonaria, showing how the blooms change in color. (I may have fiddled with the hue and saturation...)
A reprise on last week's Chalcidoid Wasp, which I had erroneously dubbed a "fly". Left side, right side. And a mystery wasp, which may turn out to be related.
The Epimedium has only just started blooming. It is also called bishop's hat, in honor of the shape of the leaves. Note: the green leaves are this year's, the brown ones are from fall. Next is my next-door neighbor's small-flowered Rhododendron. Thanks Dave! The wide-leaved grape Hyacinths - sorry for losing the top of the image.
So that's about it for this week. I already have some charming spiders for next week..Please everyone take care - and enjoy whichever season we are about in the middle of.
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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2018