January 3, 2021

Martha O'Kennon

Happy New Year! Yesterday, on the 2nd of January, first little icicles formed on the redbud Tree. But this morning the icicles were covered by soft snow.

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 the 28th, The pond had been all liquid, but on January 1, everywhere was frozen over except for the end with the floating heater.

This week even the "Winter Ants", or as better known, the "Small Honey Ants", were nowhere to be seen. Maybe some kinds of winter are even less attractive to the little fellows. This is a fairly rare occurrence, but was true THIS week. For a couple of the early days, though, a few Barklice were to be seen. The faithful beautiful Graphopsocus cruciatus appeared less often than usual, but this one was seen on December 28. The second one showed up on the 29th. Now here's something for you to look closely at. The eyes of the two Barklice are different colors. I hear that eye color is different in the different sexes. If that is true, then we have two sexes represented. Here again (picture 3) is something we haven't noticed for a while - these look like Graphopsocus eggs! On the South Wall. Who knows when they will hatch?

Since we're on the subject of eggs, this morning I found a similar clutch to the ones above on the North Wall. Not too far away, on the top of the air conditioner, there was a patch of green stuff that looked from some angles as if it were tiny green balls, and might have been part of a lichen installation or a patch of green eggs, owners unknown. Third is a very different kind of possible eggs...

One other kind of Barklouse seems to be here, or at least it was earlier in the week. This bedraggled one looks somewhat like Metylophorus novaescotiae. It was seen on December 28, 2020. Compare it with the third picture, taken on September 22. There are some differences between the first two and the third, especially in the shape of the head and the color of the eyes. But they do look quite similar, so I'm guessing that the newer Barklouse is the same species as the third (older) one. Addendum October 25, 2021. The first two of these Barklice look like Teliapsocus conterminus. The third has the pterostigma of Psocus leidyi. I didn't have an ID for that until about a month ago. The pterostigma is on the outside edge of the wing and looks as if it's two sides of a white triangle followed by a black third side.

I am so looking forward to the rebirth of the Barklice that were doing so well before it got cold. But let's document what IS out there. Well, no Bees. I didn't see any Beetles so far. Bugs, maybe? Here is what seems to be a dead Bug. It has been out there for several days and doesn't seem to be getting any better-looking.

We have seen a small number of things that look as if they might be associated with living beings. This first one looks sort of like a nest made of closely-woven strands of straw. But at the top of it is a smaller bit that contains a couple of pieces of green material (picture 2). Moss? Algae? I don't know, but here it is - we can come back to it when (if?) we find out what it was.

Which brings us to the Flies. This first one was hanging from high up on the bathroom ceiling, apparently as a cache for some spider. I took this picture from quite a distance. Yes, Midges are back (or maybe these are Fungus Gnats, but often the Fungus Gnats have spiky leg joints)! Anyway, this is the time of year when Midges are the predominant visitors. I have pictures of two kinds. Picture 2 shows one that fooled me for a bit. It seemed to have twice the number of wings a Fly should have (two). But it was just shadows! Number 3 was resting near a bolt.

First here is an iridescence-lover. Another (pictures 2 and 3) that seems to have too many wings, but it looks swell, doesn't it?

We're in luck! I saw three kinds of spiders this week! First, a Running Crab Spider.

Here we have a lovely little Dwarf Spider, genus Grammonota. They are easy to spot because of their abdomens, which look black but with lovely golden patterns just under the surface.

Our winter favorite is back, the green Long-jawed Spider, Tetragnatha viridis! It has been out there for two days now, but its first day just happened to be New Year's Day.

There are three or four tiny black Gall Wasps at various stations along the shop siding. They may all be the same species or all different, they are so hard to ID finally. But they are all very cute.

Here is one of the little guys climbing the Wall.

How much better this week has been than the last one! Chaim tells me that the just-past Winter Solstice was not only a turning point for the length of the days (which I can feel already, even as it gets colder), but also the beginning of the Age of Aquarius! I suspect that means our Water bills will get cheaper as all that new water is poured into this region of the Universe! Thanks to all who sent Chocolate, you really did it! And it worked!

Love, Martha

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2021