June 26, 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! So are the Celandine Poppy's bright yellow blossoms. And here is a new Lily bud in the Pond.

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 and Third are among the Ants hoping to get the job of Nanny to the nymphs of the Keeled Treehopper, Entylia carinata.

Beetles were harder to come by. This one is a Varied Carpet Beetle; then comes Phyllotreta, the devourer of Garlic Mustard... This seems strange because we had Many Beetles last week.

We did have a few Bugs. First is a Leafhopper in the genus Scaphoideus. The Leafhoppers also seem to be getting a slow start. Second is a True Bug mystery, and third a different angle on it.

First here is the red and black nymph of another Bug. Next is the Obscure Plant Bug. Third is a member of genus Rhinocapsus, which means it is either of two almost exactly identical species, R. vanduzeei or R. rubricans.

You saw one of our favorite Treehoppers in nymph form above under the Ants. Here is one that fell out of a redbud tree onto my forearm. You may notice a blobby sort of hooked thing on its forehead. (Click picture 3 to see it outlined.) Picture 3 shows how that blob turns into the "thorn" on the Treehopper known as either the "Two-spot Treehopper" or the "Thorn Bug".

The Barklice surprise me most days now. The Trichadenotecnum alexanderae that showed up for the first time last week are all over the North Wall now.

The Polypsocus nymphs of a couple weeks past are all grown up, but we still see some of the adults.

This week brought us a multitude of Metylophorus novaescotiae nymphs. They are fairly advanced nymphs, which you can see since the wings are fairly long already. Picture 3 shows a nymph with a strange couple of egg? cases.

On June 22nd, there appeared this batch of eggs which resemble Graphopsocus cruciatus eggs, hatching. The nymphs do seem to resemble G. cruciatus nymphs. By the end of June 23, the eggs have practically all hatched. The last picture shows a picture from May 21 of a Graphopsocus nymph a bit older. The two rows of dots on the thorax are giveaways for the G. cruciatus nymphs.

Here we are in the Flies. First of course is a Crane Fly. Then a Midge, and finally a Long-legged Fly.

I took Z. Danko's advice and tried to catch the long-legged iridescent Fly from the side, and got some interesting pictures. I didn't realize that these pretty flies were predators, but here you see (picture 1) one with a prey item.

Here is that Quadrate Snipe Fly (or Woodlouse Fly) - two genders, but I don't know which is the male and which the female. Third is that interesting Vinegar Fly (it was on the cusp of this week and last week) again since you liked it so much.

Here is one I didn't recognize until I submitted it to iNat - it's the Rainieria antennapes Fly. If you parse "antennapes" into the two parts "antenna" and "pes" and remember "pes" means foot or leg, then the funky front legs begin to make sense. The next picture is of some kind of mystery Fly. Third is a pretty little Midge.

This little Fly has the most awesomely hairy legs! Second is another Midge. And last is that beautiful Moth Fly!

This little Fly is a Hover Fly, Helophilus fasciatus, that we haven't seen much lately. It lays its eggs in the Pond and its larvae eat the gross waste products they find in the Pond. Later it hatches into a Hover Fly and spends its days as an airborne creature. Good thing to have in your Pond when the water changes from clear to murky over the days! Second is the Common Picture-winged Fly.

Let's take that Flower Walk. Those tiny Deptford Pinks make up for their minuscule size by their gorgeous PINK. The Celandine Poppy is still going! In the wild garden beside my neighbor's house, the Climbing Fumitory is still trying to wrap around that rod.

Two new Lilies decorate the sidewalk. Today was the first day of bloom for the Common Day Lily, and probably is the first day of the Stella D'oro Lilies on the North side of the House.

The Climbing Fumitory is really hooked on that pole now and looking for more places to attach to. The Black Raspberries are ripening in the South Yard, near the Climbing Fumitory, while on the other side of the house the Bull Thistle is budding up.

It's wonderful to sit by the Pond in the early cool of morning and watch the Water Lilies try to bloom. They've spent their energy putting up pads and now we have once more TWO Lily buds. One just broke the surface so we can watch it for a week or two as it develops into a new Lily. It's a different plant from the one that flowered earlier. First here are both buds coming up. Then we see the one closer to the edge of the Pond, just breaking the surface. Third is that very new Lily, taking its time but hopefully getting ready to become an integral part of the Pond system. Cross your fingers!

The Spiders were all over the place this week. That Brotherly Ground Crab Spider was here again. I think it likes us. Next are several pictures of a Common House Spider with an egg case and some kind of strange eggs. In picture 4, the eggs in the case look like the eggs on the wall below it.

We had one or more species of Jumping Spider. They may ALL be Naphrys pulex, but they were in different places. I love their kitten-like faces.

The Mimetus genus Spiders I believe are M. Puritanus. But they are in strange athletic poses. Good thing we can make out the spooky faces in numbers 1 and 3.

This tiny Spider appeared on a plant next to the Pond. It holds its arms like a Nursery Web Spider, but it is so small I need to submit it to iNat. I did. It is the American Nursery Web Spider! Number 2 was identified by @tigerbb as a Common Cobweb Spider, but, she says, "HE is missing so many legs I hope he soon finds a mate". This last Spider is carrying home the groceries for a whole weekend.

Let's go back to the Pond and admire the fishes. They are so bright and colorful I can hardly stand to go indoors. This morning they were friskily mating in a floating plant. You'll notice a couple of fish who aren't participating in the fun snacking on something in the plant. Could it be FISH EGGS?

Here are some Frog pictures showing their many faces. First, Frog Two on a lily pad. Then, in the water; and finally sitting by the Pond.

Here are pictures of Froggy Three. The last frame is a mp4 file of him talking big time! See how much more vocal he is now.

Finally, remember the cool tadpoles? I finally got some pictures of them with their legs growing in. But this week they have been growing feet and walking out of the pond as Toadlets!

Hello everyone, I hope you are keeping as cool as possible when the thermometer seems to need a good shaking. Life seems to have slowed down suddenly. Luckily, Nature keeps itself alive as usual. It doesn't seem to mind the heat up to a point. I'm just hoping we can slow down the global increase in heat long enough to give this beautiful planet a jump-start. Meanwhile, have yourself a drink of something cool, and think of me doing the same with you.

Love, Martha

Our biggest Backyard Explorer is so happy to just wander around and think about being a child of Nature too. Here is Spooky thinking about where to wander today; setting off on her adventure; and of course having a drink from the cool water.

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2022