July 10, 2022

Martha O'Kennon

Summer is here, more or less. The humidity is worse than the temperatures and the algae are still blooming. Life is going on though. A new visitation from a few Toads doesn't seem to have created any lasting repercussions in the Pond. New creatures appear on the North and South Walls while we wait for the Goldenrod to get up to speed. On the North Wall, the colonies of Barklice come and go.

The Climbing Fumitory is blooming. Phlox has started up. And, to my surprise, the Rose Mallow, which Hamsa Mukundan gave me years ago, is blooming this year in the back yard.

Ants remain one of the mysteries of this yard. First you see an Eastern Black Carpenter running down the sidewalk. Then a Nearctic Ant, the former Smaller Carpenter Ant. And finally, a Winter Ant finally turns up in the Thistle. For a week, this species has dominated all other Ants.

Here's a bright red Beetle - perhaps a Polished Lady Beetle? Second is a Redbud Bruchid, that Weevil that lives on the seeds of the Redbud while INSIDE the pod. Third may be a Beetle - it surprised me on the South Wall. The ID app of iNat saw it as a Wasp though - see the veined wings in picture 4. @borisb of iNat classified it as a member of Sawflies, Horntails, and Wood Wasps. Perhaps the Wood Wasp is a starting place!

One more Beetle, one of the Lightning Beetles. Then here is a creature that I saw at first as a Bug. But iNat's ID app saw it as a member of the Dusty-winged Lacewings, Subfamily Aleuropteryginae (first two pictures). Picture 4 is a real Red-banded Leafhopper.

Here is a Leafhopper in the genus Scaphoideus, a reddish version we have seen before. Second is another leafhopper belonging to genus Aphrodes, which has been occupying the Thistles for some years now. I have yet to get an ID for the Plant Bug in number 3.

The Flies were plentiful. I believe this colorful first one is Minettia lupulina. The next two are Bathroom Moth Flies.

This first Fly is looking at us from face to face, so I'm not sure what it is. Number 2 is a different Fly. Number 3 is a small Fly that I'm sure we've seen before, but which?.

These three pictures were taken on July 8 (first 2), and July 9.

This first one is a Flesh-eating Fly. I don't recognize the second or the third.

This little Fly was on the North Wall - looks as if a Vinegar Fly was visiting. Picture 1 was taken on July 4, the others on July 8.

Let's see how our Barklice are doing. Pictures 1 and 2 show one of the Ectopsocus meridionalis mothers laying her eggs on the left side of the 7th panel of the North Wall. The third picture shows the two clutches of eggs a few days later. Since then I haven't seen any of the adults.

The Echmepteryx hageni nymphs are mostly gone, but the Wall is full of (dozens of) adults.

I haven't seen an adult Graphopsocus cruciatus for quite a while, but there are quite a few nymphs on the Wall.

This week a new batch of nymphs appeared. They seem to have fewer markings than any I'd seen before. Diane Young said they are nymphs of the Barklouse Teliapsocus conterminus, which we saw an adult of about a month ago. The first one was shot on July 4 and no wings are perceptible to me. The second was on July 7, and shows some wings. I don't see any wings in the third picture, taken on July 8. The last one here was photographed on July 9, and seems to have developed wings that might go along with an instar bigger than 1. There are five or six distinct members. It seems they are in various early stages of wing development.

At the beginning of the week, there were still a few adult Trichadenotecnum alexanderae. I hope they are mating and getting a new set of nymphs started soon. I've never seen a nymph of this species.

Here is the one remaining nymph of Metylophorus novaescotiae, which was seen on July 3rd. Second is one of my rare nicer shots of an adult, seen on July 7. Third is another shot of an adult.

This first picture is of a new Barklouse I saw on July 9. I think it might be another Trichadenotecnum alexandrae. Here is the real T. alexanderae for comparison. Third is another Mystery Something. This one I have the greatest doubts about, even its being a Barklouse.

Time for our Flower Walk! The Common Day Lilies have spread so that they are in danger of trampling other plants! The next two pictures are from Kathleen Seidl, who knows how to display each lily by itself.

Two mornings ago, the Hibiscus had developed a sizable bud, and then yesterday it had OPENED! I don't rememmber if it bloomed last year, but now it is back in the land of the living. While admiring this huge flower, I barely noticed the Red-Banded Leafhopper on it.

I can barely get from the backyard through to the gate, because the Phlox and Day Lilies are such a barrier!

I can't remember how long ago my dear friend Hamsa gave me a start of her Rose Mallow. And here it is, still blooming where it used to. Very near it is a clump of Snowberries. Not too far from these delicate creations is the Trumpetvine, and it has actually reached and passed its peak.

In the pond, the Pink Water Lily that started last weekend was still showing off this week. It only lasted two days, but a new bud has already broken through the water's surface. Picture 2 shows it poking its head out of the water. Picture 3 shows a couple heads of Water Lettuce. As they grow, their roots expand to protect tiny baby fishes.

A tiny plant of Asiatic Day Flower has sprouted by the side of the pond - on the inside. I never saw it do that before. The yellow Wood Sorrel plants itself almost everywhere. Up in the air, the Climbing Fumitory flowers dangle gently.

Let's meet the Spiders. Right now, almost everything out there where I can see it is a Cobweb Spider, like this first one, and usually, in particular, a Common House Spider, like number 2. Right now seems to be mating season - here are a pair of Common House Spiders a-courting!

I believe this one, which I found roaming in the thistle is a Common Candy-striped Spider (Enoplognatha ovata), another of the Cobwebbers. This one is probably a male and that's why it is missing the red Candy Stripe.

Unfortunately for the Spiders, many of the pictures this week show one being preyed upon by a Wasp larva. I don't know WHAT that huge ball of something (larvae?) is that's being carried about by the Spider.

Here is (I believe) my favorite Spider - Mimetus probably puritanus - in an angle we don't usually view it at. The second picture is an enlargement of the middle of the first. And the third a rotation to a more familiar pose.

Here are a few non-spider creatures, like this Springtail, Pillbug, and Millipede.

Now let's look at the Pond and its denizens. Yesterday evening the smallest Frog (Green, of course) I've seen yet appeared on the largest lily pad!

A few days ago the Toads reappeared and frightened the Frogs, especially Frog Three, the former littlest one. They trilled for a couple of days but then seemed to leave without laying eggs.

Here are the bigger of the other frogs, and the smaller, followed by the new one again. If you can't tell by the sizes in the photos, compare the ratio of green to brown in them. The newest one doesn't even have the tell-tale green lips.

The Fishes are in an interesting phase. I shot various views of the ones that appeared mostly black or brown, as the sun gleamed on them. Look at these beauties! Green and Purple, Gold and Purple, and Orange and Green.

Here we have Silvery, and Red and Purple. Especially note in the third picture here, Pebbles (one of the fishes that turned brilliant shades last year) and the other two fishes, who already have color dots on their foreheads.

Another week, shot by so rapidly. So far the Summer has been merciful and I hope everyone feels like going out to see what kind of miracles there are in YOUR yard. And that someone will call you up today to ask you out to dinner, or to play bridge, or to chat about someone ELSE. Happy weekend!

Love, Martha

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