March 24, 2019

Martha O'Kennon

Look, Mom (Mother Nature), don't you agree that four months of winter is ENOUGH?! Spring is here, or so THEY say. It has been hovering around 40F for days now. Still some things are undaunted and so either keep still or progress a tiny amount each day. Case in point: the winter aconites haven't changed much since last week. The second image is from the front yard, which is in the shadow of the house right now. I can't blame it on the large maple on the parking, verge, or whatever you call that green space that belongs to the city but you need to keep it shorn and weed-free, but it is in the shade nonetheless. Here are the winter aconites in that shady front yard.

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.

Did we see any ants this week? Not that I got a photo of. Bees? Beetles? Bugs? Nope. No, wait, my beloved Drymus Unus was out there on Thursday. This was the first sighting since January 4 of this year (picture #2). Almost 3 months hiatus. It's about 3 mm long.

That lovely wide-winged midge from last week is here in spades, along with the narrower ones. I just kvell when I see that iridescence! Here are two females, but look at the comparative lengths of the antennae, and maybe of the front legs (it could be a matter of angle). Hmmm. Two different species? Third is a male - I can't tell the length of the antennae because of the dowager's hump common to all these non-biting midges. Two people (@ck2az and @brandonwoo) registered ID's for these flies: Subfamily Diamesinae.

I can't tell one kind of geometrid caterpillar from another. These may all be the same looper. The colors are slightly different but that could be from the automatic focus of this camera. You might think the third picture is of a different kind, but remember these are all "inchworms" and they are all acrobats who are capable of arching their "backs" severely.

Things are happening in the plant world faster than in the animal world. Here's a Hyacinth just poking out of the ground in the back yard. And a white Hellebore with a primitive bud. (Click twice to enlarge the photo and the "budlet" - it is in the lower middle of the picture.) Last is a Golden Wood (Celandine in some books) Poppy just emerging from the ground.

The moss out front under the maple tree is getting greenish. Raspberry canes are getting redder. And what do we know that has black buds at this time of year? Could it be - redbuds? How strange, you might think. Absurd, I thought.

Here come the early pale purple crocuses. Picture 1 - 2:04 pm on the 21st. Picture 2 - 4:22 pm on the 22nd. The second image shows the crocus flower just after maximum - about ten minutes later it looked more like image #1! You have to be out back at just the right time! This afternoon (the 23rd) at about 5 pm the sun was bright and it felt much warmer. Suddenly the crocuses were at their peak and quite a few honey bees had dived into the smorgasbord. What we have to look forward to!

While the sun was out, another little patch of crocuses had a surprise for me - the lovely deep purple crocuses are coming out! In the front yard, here's a little cluster of tulips just getting a start, mixed with another kind of crocus babies.

The snowdrops in my next-door neighbor's yard are in their heyday - so lovely and white against the beinnings of some grass. I couldn't help morphing some of their colors and even made some cards to send to other Spring worshippers.

Here's another cobwebby-looking spider, the only new one this week. The red one that looks like a Sheetweb or Dwarf spider got a lot of attention this week. I saw it as a Black-tailed Red Sheetweaver. My friend Rebecca saw it as Agyneta micaria, echoed by Laura P on BG. Two other people on BG thought Glenognatha foxi. So it goes down in iNat as "Spider". I thought that was it for the week, but this afternoon a Sheetweb spider was rappelling down the siding in the sun! I bet Rebecca and Matt can ID it, or close. Grammonota, anyone?

Hmmm. Today, March 23, I finally saw what I think is a Stonefly. In other years, they first show up here in mid-February. Image 1 is today's version, while image 2 is from February 20, 2016. Third, I've added one from March 21, 2018, although it first appeared in February as usual. Today's has appendages from the rear end, the other doesn't. Maybe that is a sex thing. The three of them have different wing designs. Who knows which is what? Dyslexia makes a weird impediment when you're trying to line up two guys with their wings wrapped in different directions. I believe I've narrowed down today's to genus Allocapnia, and maybe to Allocapnia recta, the Eastern Snowfly. Note: In general, Snowflies are related to Crane Flies. Stoneflies are NOT flies. Crane Flies ARE flies. Eastern Snowflies are Stoneflies, but not flies.

Out in the front yard, here is one of Albion's black sports of a common grey squirrel, digging for something it lost track of in the fall. Squirrels used to be the bane of my existence, and I was convinced they had been created (evolved) for the one purpose of chopping the tops off my tulips and digging up my other bulbs. But last year it dawned on me that they were actually the Great Naturalizers. Especially the Grape Hyacinths have been planted evenly spaced all over the southern half of the main garden bed.

Here are a few fishy pictures. On the 17th, the ice was breaking up on the pond. First you see a few fishes totally under the ice. A couple of minutes later, more were approaching the hole. And then more! In the last picture, the brownish-black fish show up better.

When it is so cold, the fishes love to get under the heater, a few at a time. Here is a clip of them aiming for the heater!

OK, we have finally passed the Equinox. Let's see if Northern Hemisphere spring will follow soon. Everyone, please take care of yourselves and keep as well as possible. Do what makes you happy, and don't do what annoys you until the dishes pile from the sink to the ceiling. That is, if you have the energy to get them to the sink. :-)

Love, Martha

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2019