July 3, 2022

Martha O'Kennon

Summer is here. I have either the AC or the big fan running day and night. The algae have attacked the pond like crazy. But the water lilies are starting to bloom - two this time. One actually opened yesterday. You'll see. Meanwhile it isn't quite so pleasant to sit out back while it's so humid. There aren't so many flowers out but I can see it's getting on to time to cut the Asters back severely so that my Mail Ladies can get to the door! That's the weather report.

The Deptford Pinks are still going. Their tiny blossoms are still a big surprise! And now - two more surprises - the Trumpetvines are budding up, and a second Water Lily opened yesterday afternoon.

The Ants are more confusing than ever. First is an easy one - it is on the South Wall and has a reddish thorax - hence a Nearctic Carpenter Ant. Second is one of the Ants hoping to get the job of Nanny to the nymphs of the Keeled Treehopper, Entylia carinata. And third shows possibly several kinds of Ants glorying in the gorgeous Trumpetvine buds. Many seem to be Acorn Ants.

I thought I saw one Bee, but didn't know what kind it was. I submitted it to iNat after Abby Cahill thought it was a Hover Fly. iNat said Drone Fly (a kind of Hover Fly). But here are a couple of equally unknown Beetles. Last is another of those Carpet Beetles. Thanks to everyone!

Here is a little Weevil in the Thistles. Then another tiny black Weevil. And finally, a Redbud Bruchid (a weevil that eats the seeds of the Redbud inside their pods.

First up is the only Leafhopper I saw this week, one of the genus Scaphoideus. Then you see a common-looking True Bug, and another one that seems related but showed up a couple of days later. Fourth seems to be another common Plant Bug, perhaps of genus Phytocoris.

Here is another Mystery Bug, and another.. Third is an Assassin Bug, Zelus luridus.

When I first saw this one, I thought it was a new kind of Assassin Bug. But the Balabans (John and Jane) saw it as a plant-eating Bug, possibly of genus Leptoglosssus, and discussions that included @kgrebennikov, @thebals, @captainmantis and @brandonwoo we decided it was of genus Leptoglossus indeed, and since the only one of the three members of this genus that resides in Michigan is the Western Conifer Seed Bug, I choose to believe that's what this is. Here are two less fortunate shots. The trouble in identifying these Bugs is that there are so few photos of nymphs, but Brandon had posted one on BG, which sort of solved this problem enough to make me happy.

Every day, I take my folding chair out to the Thistles to see how the little Keeled Treehoppers and their nymphs are getting along. It seems that every few days the Ant Nannies swap roles. Here you see them on June 26 and 27, and on July 3. (The ants on the July 23 picture seem to be our beloved Winter Ants, much smaller than the ones on the other days.)

Let's see how the Barklice are doing. The Metylophorus novaescotiae have mutated into their adult form (last two photos).

The Trichadenotecnum alexanderae were much less frequent this week.

I still only saw the two mother Ectopsocus meridionalis this week, still laying eggs.

The Echmepteryx hageni are just starting to change into adults.

This Dragonfly is called the Common Whitetail. Actually, it's the female who has the glossy white tail! This is the male. Next we move on to the Flies. We start with a mystery pair mating, followed by a most gorgeous Midge.

Here is a Fly, I think, but on the North Wall where I expect Barklice more. It does have lovely red fly eyes. Then a Bathroom Moth Fly, followed by another unidentified Fly.

That exquisite Picture-winged Fly appeared again on the South Wall. And the Rainieria antennaepes that we met last week. Third seems to be a Fly with only one wing, but that one is AMAZING with all that iridescence.

We DO have a few Moths, among them this somewhat beetle-y looking one. The next one is the Triangle-marked Twirler Moth. What a name for such a small Moth! Next is the Norway Maple Pigmy Moth. Since the back yard contains a number of Norway Maples, that shouldn't be a surprise.

This is when we traditionally take a Flower Walk. Since mine are somewhat short this week, we appeal to our friend Kathleen Seidl for a shot of her wonderful Yarrow and Daisies. She must very carefully encourage them to pose for these wonderful pictures mixing colors and textures. Oh well, my Deptford Pinks are so shockingly pink - even one of them is a pretty good eyeful. And to my surprise, the Trumpetvines that were budding last week are in bloom now, and that means my neighbor Debby can see them blooming from her kitchen window - and she gets the benefit of the Hummingbirds coming to visit those succulent long-throated blooms! (So do the tiny Ants, which I CAN see.)

Of course, those were just the Garden Flowers, but I need to show you what happened in the Pond over the week. Remember the nice Water Lily we saw a few weeks ago. Well, slowly but surely a couple more Lily buds slowly sprung from the bottom - flowers of two different plants. They kept me in suspense for weeks. Finally (picture 2) the one in the front of picture 1 began to open, and open.

Just as the first Lily finished blooming, the second one began to open, just in time for a visit from my old friend Denise Zevos from Potsdam. At one point, we got a triple Beauty Attack as the smaller Frog decided to rest on one of the Lily leaves right in between the two Lilies! Finally, a closeup of the latest Lily!

So we have now seen the prettiest Flowers in the yard this week. Maybe it is time to check out the Spiders. They were all over the place, but mostly ones we've seen before. First we see a Black one that spent its week among the Barklice on the North Wall. Then a Common House Spider in one of my favorite poses - like a nosy character from the political funnies. Next is a Cobweb Spider with a prey item almost its size.

This is probably a Jumping Spider. Then we see a tiny Spider we've seen pretty often - Mangora placida! The next picture I wouldn't have recognized because it is in such a different pose - but it is also Mangora placida! I know because the two pictures were taken less than a minute apart!

Here's a Spider wrapping up a Millipede; another Black Spider with eggs, presumably her own; and one with a Wasp larva wrapped around it.

There seem to be a lot of these tiny red dwarf spiders. And one more of those Whirligig Mites, dancing madly across and up the Wall.

Let's play with the Frogs. What a treat they are, especially the littlest one, who enjoys listening to human conversation and breaking in in agreement. This morning Denise and I were chatting by the pond and that little Frog began speaking up. How they cheer me with their cross-species affection. I'm hoping it's affection and not complaining! Here you see the little Frog clinging to the Frog Escape Route at the top, and bigger Frog climbing up the ER towards him. I don't think they are great friends but at least they tolerate each other. In picture 3, you see two of the little American Toadlets, who continue after all this time to come out of the Pond and look for a new life on dry land.

Well, my friends, you'll forgive the day lateness of this edition of the Blog. I so rarely have the immense pleasure of seeing an old friend from my younger days, listening to stories about people I used to know well, and laughing at how the years have changed us ourselves. We sat by the Pond and talked with little Frog, listened to the Tufted Titmice in the trees. I remembered how I used to be able to whistle them down from the treetops. Mostly we just compared notes. It isn't easy to make the trip so this may be the last time we can do this face to face. Old ladies chattering away. What a treat!

Love, Martha

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