July 31, 2022
Almost as soon as I had said that the heat was upon us, we got a kindly reprieve for the rest of the week. But I'm not fooled. Look at England and Spain and other places that had never had a real Summer, and now they have. If only our country will do its part for this lovely Planet!
The Phlox dominate the flowerverse right now. They are everywhere and keep crying that they are almost out of season, then just keep right on blooming. The Thistles are really almost out of bloom, but there are still a few to be found. Soon their seeds will take to the wind and I will have to look for a new couple plants to go in that spot where I like to raise the Keeled Treehoppers. The Trumpetvine is also just about at the end of its season.
First here is an Odorous House Ant on the South Wall. Next, these look like Acorn Ants or some relative with that heart-shaped gaster. Finally, the Winter Ants stuck with the Keeled Treehopper nymphs until the nymphs have mostly gone adult.
Here we have a Flea Beetle and a Lightning Beetle called a Black Firefly.
This lovely thing that looked like a Fly at first is probably actually a Rove Beetle. See how the hard wings are broken off so the wings show? Then we see the gorgeous Reddish-brown Stag Beetle (Lucanus capreolus) found by Kathleen Seidl. The others are two types of Weevils.
Now for the Bugs. The Leafhoppers seem to be coming back. First is my rarely-seen Grapevine Leafhopper. Good thing I have a yard full of Grapevines. Second, the Aphrodes that I see every day among the Thistles. Third is an utter mystery.
We had quite an entertainment of genus Scaphoideus. First is the Scaphoideus obtusus that we've seen many times. The next two may be Scaphoideus carinatus, given number four, which was identified thus in June 2021.
Remember the Coppery Leafhopper (Jikrada olitoria) nymph with the enormous eyes and retrousse back? Here it is again. It's followed by a very strange thing: a flat green nymph - but look at those eyes! Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Let's find an old picture of the adult. I think those are the eyes and that we've found a critical nymph which has the eyes of the curled-up nymph and the big-eyed flattened-out body of the adult.
The Alder Spittlebug is here in force. I've never seen one so often. By the way, here is the mating pair of Alders from September 25, 2016. They are either mating or just after mating. Note the smaller of them (the male) is blacker. I think I had mentioned this fact last week for the little guy in picture 3.
Here is the batch of Stink Bug eggs, as seen on July 14. Next, here they are on July 19. I am about to begin to consider, maybe those eggs are duds. Sigh. But I'm going to keep watching them. Oh well. Let's skip to our Keeled Treehoppers. At least THEY have had a splendid summer, along with their Winter Ant pals. Here we see them with five more adults. There are other leaves with nine adults but the individual Hoppers are almost indistinguishable. As the number of adults increases, the number of nymphs decreases. Soon they will all be adults and fly away. I wish I knew where they go after leaving the Thistles.
Let's go see the Barklice. For some time, the Polypsocus corruptus have been a bit lacking in presence. But this week, we are seeing them again fairly often. Picture 3 was hard to see because the nymph is so small, but I believe this is going to foreshadow a
rash of baby Polypsocus.
Something new showed up this week. (I haven't seen it again but there it was.) Diane Young ID'ed it as Ptycta polluta.
There was another sighting of this one that I know I've seen before - in the genus Aaroniella. And multiple sightings of our Home Town Barklouse, Graphopsocus cruciatus.
The little Ectopsocus meridionalis nymphs seemed to have been shrouded in spider silk on July 28, but on the 29th, they seem just to have been under their own silk. In picture 3, we see a well-developed nymph. Nice wings!
Echmepteryx hageni is still here, but fading a bit. And Trichadenotecnum alexanderae seems to be tiring out too. But here are two more shots.
We had some of the usual nymphs. Here are Metylophorus and novaescotiae Psocus leidyi, so you can tell the difference. But we also had this weird one - it seems to be using the lichens for camouflage.
Even though I haven't seen the Blue Dasher Dragonflies all week, I just wanted to tell you that someone on iNat told me the Blue ones are boys, and the mostly yellow ones are girls. Now I know and now you know. But not all is over with the Dragonflies. Now we are being visited by the Meadowhawks. You can imagine what they do, sailing around in search of prey.
So let's see what kind of Flies we saw this week. Note: Dragonflies are not Flies. Here are couple that are shaped like House Flies, but colored very unlike each other. First is a Flesh-eating Fly. Then a mysterious other Fly. Then a Fly in genus Suillia, which we have seen so often.
Here's a colorful little Fly, no idea what it is. Then another little fellow, also unknown.
Then a pair of little Flies, mating.
This week we saw quite a few Moth Flies, that is, Flies that masquerade as Moths. Here is our well-known Bathroom Moth Fly, and after that, one that seems similar but lacks the bright dots along the lower curve of the Bathrooom Moth Fly. Then we see two pictures of a new one altogether.
Here are some of the week's Mosquitoes. You can tell because of their sharp proboscis, and that one of them is munching O-positive lunch.
Here's that wonderful tiny Vinegar Fly, Chymomyza Amoena, again, for a return engagement at the North Wall. Then something that I always call the Fungus Gnat, and finally a teensy Fly that looks quite large in this picture. Last is one I saw as a Wasp at first, but now think is a Fly.
Most of the Moths that come into my yard flit here and there and disappear. But here are a few. The Jewel of the week was the Carolina Sphinx Moth caterpillar discovered by Kathleen Seidl on her tomato plant.
This morning as I was tossing some trash in the designated can, I found a tiny tub with this amazing Katydid in it. Brandon Woo of iNat identified it as the Greater Anglewing. I could imagine a big smile on its face when it discovered it was free.
Time for our Flower Walk. Starting from the deck, this was the hibiscus bud, and then the real thing. Next is that Pink that has lived on in an old deck flower box.
Down the steps we see the Arum seeds. The Phlox dominate the walk from the back yard to the front. The ones near the shop are cultivated ones that are about to bloom. The Celandine Poppies that were the first flowers of Spring (not Winter, that's the crocus and other little bulb flowers) are still hanging in.
The Pulmonaria leaves are spectacular right now. There are still two kinds of Day Lilies blooming: the August Orange and the Common Day Lilies.
The Pink Water Lily sets off the pond scene, with fishes and tiny frogs. The Thistle is still blooming and this one has attracted a Green Sweat Bee, that tiny jewel of the garden.
Double-click to see it full-size.
The Trumpetvine is still in bloom, but for how much longer? The Climbing Fumitory is also hanging in, or I should say all over other plants.
Spider Time! We start off with a high kick from this five-legged Spider! The second one makes it easier to see the Wasp (probably genus Ephialtini) larva on its neck..Another silly appearance from the rare Kewpie Spider (I've yet to look up its real name!)
Real Spider time: Euryopis funebris comes out into the light. I haven't seen it in so long. Next is a real Crab Spider. Third, probably a Cobweb Spider, and very handsome.
This first one seems to be a big Spider getting hold of a smaller one. The next one has grappled a Millipede. Third is a little Spider with a humongous egg sac.
Finally, another real Spider, Mimetus puritanus, my favorite. As @tigerbb says on iNat, it has a perfect face all down his back. The third picture is a side view.
I saw quite a lot of Wasps, but most of them were too fast for me. Both of these pictures show a tiny Wasp, but the second shot caught its Wings.
We had several non-insect, non-spider creatures too. First is what looks like a Brickwork Woodlouse (the older name for a Pillbug). Then a mystery creature that I haven't ID'ed yet. Finally a creature from the North Wall that so resembles a Carrot but of course is almost invisible.
We've been saving the Pond and its denizens for the last. Lets's see, last week we had two big Frogs (Frog Two and Frog Three) and two tiny Frogs (the Tinies). Well, this week we found that there are also the Teensies, two even tinier Frogs. Here you see Frog Two, the largest Frog of all; Frog Three, just smaller than Frog Two. Third is the shocker: There are a pair of Tinies and a pair of Teensies! The Teensies seem to be a good deal younger than the Tinies. That brings us to six Frogs.
Yesterday I happened to see a new surprising sight. Across the pond were Three big Frogs: Frog Two, possibly Frog Three, and a spare, smaller than either of them. The reason I'm hesitating is that Frog Three has quite a bit more green on him. Too bad I couldn't get the new one's sex - he or she was facing away from me. Second is the two Tinies by themselves. To me, it seems that the one farther from us has a slightly larger Tympanum than the closer one. In the last picture, the two little Frogs are more disparate in size than the Tinies and the Teensies. Who knows how many Frogs are now living in the Pond?
Some more Pond pictures. First, taken this morning, the newest Lily from Home Depot has been growing so slowly. But today, a new leaf is rising from the floor. Do you know what else this picture shows? This is the first time in a very long time that I could SEE the pond floor? Maybe some of that Pond Perfect and Barley Extract are having some effect or maybe the slight cooling of the ambient temperature (THIS WEEK) is helping. Next shows the baby frogs and a few fishes. Picture 3 shows the Pond with the reflection from the trees above.
Another week gone by. Another visit from an old friend. We just sat by the Pond and reinvented the world. It was a fairly relaxing week otherwise. I'm glad I have this Blog to look back on and remember all the wonderful scenes. I'm glad to have had this life and hope you feel the same or similar :-) Leaving you with all the fishes swimming past.
We leave you with a video of the Fishes swimming.
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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2022