October 2, 2022

Martha O'Kennon

I know, I missed a blog last week. I was in Virginia visiting my old college roommate Emily McCoy and her husband Fred (Ted) McCoy. So what you are seeing is going to be a combo of things from here (Michigan) and Virginia. When I left here on September 20th it was still late summer and when I returned it was Autumn. I will have to start withholding food from the fishes soon. It was 47F in Michigan when I got up today.

When I left here, these were some of the Flowers I was seeing.

In Virginia, here is what I saw that week. First is a kind of berries I've never seen here. Next is Lantana, which is not hardy here. Third is a red Flower at the Suffragist Memorial. They are definitely still in late Summer!

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.

Here are two Ants in Michigan last week: first, one of those mysterious Ants that I usually can't ID to species; Then one of our old faithful Winter Ants. The next two reddish Ants I shot at the Suffragist Memorial in Virginia. They were FAST, running on bare ground. I will submit them to iNat when I get a good GPS of this location.

Aphids in Tappahannock seem to be doing well. These are on a Rose bud.

Here is our Common Eastern Bumblebee on Aster, followed by the Western Honey Bee. Third is another of those tiny Green Sweat Bees on a pink Aster.

Here is a beautiful Bee in Crozet, Virginia, followed by two views of a Bumblebee there.

Among the beetles here was this Puffball Beetle, which I hadn't seen for at least a year. Next is a Spotted Cucumber Beetle. And NEXT is a STRIPED Cucumber Beetle.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, here is the outside of a mystery Beetle in Tappahannock, and a Weevil of some sort in Crozet.

Here are an Assassin Bug from Albion; two Erythroneura aclys leafhoppers in Albion - look how much they vary; and last a 4-Humped Stink Bug from Tappahannock. (I've seen them in the past here in Albion.) Their name Brochymena quadripustulata seems to refer to four Pustulations. Maybe that refers to the four yellowish indentations. I don't see any of what I would call humps. Do you?

Here in Albion, our Ambush Bugs are still to be seen even though the Goldenrod is passé. Another thing I always look for when the Goldenrod is waning is the bug Drymus unus mating (last two pictures).

Let's check out our Barklice. Well, I didn't see ANY in Virginia. That doesn't mean they don't have any, but that I hadn't discovered a secret way to where they are. So we have only a couple of days of pictures of them. But we have one great new piece of information! Remember we had been following nymphs that have sticky hairs on their backs, making them capable of disguising themselves by collecting bits of substrate on their backs. I believe that I'd told you that I'd sent a couple of these tiny creatures and sent them to Diane Young in Texas. They got there somewhat bunched up but after Diane gave them half a week in a jar of straight Ethanol, they loosened up and she was able to tell me that they are most likely Trichadenotecnum innuptum. The spots line up like T. innuptum, and the region for that Barklouse is exactly right - southern Michigan to northern Indiana. She will make slides when she is finished with her book "Psocids of Texas". All that work was worth it! THANK YOU DIANE!!!! Meanwhile, yesterday as soon as I had got home, I went out to get reacquainted with the little guys on the North Wall. These two encrusted nymphs appeared. I hope they will have time to mature to adult before this inexorable Autumn discourages everything. There were also quite a few adult Trichadenotecnum when I got back. This is just one of them.

Our Polypsocus corruptus adults are still running around. Next we see one of the nymphs from before I left for Virginia. Third is a nymph of the genus Valenzuela.

Life is still going on. Here is a big patch of Ectopsocus meridionalis eggs. And next another of those Graphopsocus cruciatus females is once more covering new eggs.

Here are a couple of Butterflies from Virginia. First is that colorful Buckeye and next one of the Crescent Butterflies, possibly a Pearl Crescent, both from Crozet. Last is a Hairstreak Butterfly in Tappahannock.

In Crozet we saw a lot of Skippers. They seem to have three kinds of underwings (the smaller wings): one almost without marks and one with. I don't know what the plant is that the first three were on, but the last picture shows two Skippers on one Zinnia flower. Maybe one of them is the other sex from another one.

Let's check out the Flies. First in Albion, a pair mating. Almost every time I submit a mating pair of Flies to iNat, the ID is Humpback Flies. Snicker. The rest are three different Hover Flies: Complex Eupeodes americanus, Transverse-banded Flower Fly (Eristalis transversa), and the Narrow-headed Marsh Fly (Helophilus fasciatus).

Meanwhile, here are a Crane Fly and a couple of problably unrelated Flies on an unknown plant in Tappahannock. Third is a Fly we saw at the Suffragist Memorial.

Back in Albion, here are a few more Flies. First, two Mosquitoes. Then a Bathroom Moth Fly.

Here are two tiny Flies from the North Wall and two views of a teensy Fly on goldenrod.

It did my heart good to see so many Grasshoppers. In one brief period I saw three different ones in Crozet. Number 4 is from Tappahannock.

First we see a little Mayfly from Tappahannock. Next is a little Moth from Albion. It's followed by a GORGEOUS Ailanthus Webworm from Tappahannock. I used to see them here but not this year.

I'm thinking it must be time for our Flower Walk through three cities. Here are my Japanese Anemones and my pink and purple Asters.

In Tappahannock grow these beautiful berries. Wyatt Gaswick and Kathleen Seidl just wrote in and said they are Cornus Kousa (Kousa Dogwood) and they are said to be technically edible but Kathleen lets the Birds eat them. The blue Flowers were at the Suffragist Memorial. And the flower resembling our Autumn Joy (as I recall) was at Tappahannock too.

I haven't yet ID'd the delicate white flowers in Crozet on which the skipper is sitting, or the mystery Flower from the same garden. Next is a group of Calla Lilies in Tappahannock.

Here are a stand of Impatience, a lovely Iris and some Lantana in Tappahannock.

Here are a couple of shots of a mysterious bush (cedar?) with beautiful pink berries in Tappahannock. The red Flowers in picture 3 were at the Suffragist Memorial near Tappahannock.

Here in Albion the cultivated Phlox was still in active bloom. When I returned a week and a couple of days later, it was down to one little blossom.

The Pulmonaria in the shade of one of my Redbud bushes is still going strong and waiting till blooming time next Spring. Here was a patch of Zinnias in Crozet.

I don't know if you marked the Colchicums when they sent up their leaves in the Spring. Bare leaves - no Flowers. Well, now we get the Flowers - with no leaves. I planted the bulbs at different times - that may account for the differences in color and the fact that picture 3 shows a "double" variety, with more than double the number of petals (I think).

Now we've come around from our walk. Let's check out the Spiders. Here are a male Cellar Spider, and two Commmon House Spiders, the first of them having a Wasp larva around its neck and the second grasping a large Fly of its own.

First here is a Cobweb Spider with a Wasp larva. Then a Grass Spider - it's a large Spider at this time of year. And finally a Mystery Spider - it has such a nice round abdomen I want to say it's a Cobweb Spider.

My favorite Spider, the Mimetus puritanus. First an Adult Male. The next view is of a much younger one down on the North Wall.

Here is (left) one of the Spotted Orbweavers in Albion. Next is a very similarly shaped Orbweaver in Tappahannock. (Not all Spiders weave those perfectly round orbs.)

Here is an ant running so fast that even with a short shutter time it looks fuzzy in this picture. Next - wait - is that a Spider? Why yes, it is. It must be one of those Ant Mimic Sac Spiders. Here's another shot.

Were there any Wasps? Oh my yes. Both here and there. First up, an Aerial Yellowjacket and a tiny other Wasp on my Goldenrod.

Here are two kinds of blue-black wasp in Crozet, and a Paper Wasp of some denomination in Tappahannock.

Let's take a quick look at the Pond. The Frogs are sticking close to the water now. It has gotten a good bit chillier at night. I continue to take the water temperature before feeding the fishes. Here are some fishy pictures. I just love to watch them cavort. But I've got to get used to the idea that by November I won't be seeing them much - there may be an ice cover by then.

Here are some Froggy pictures. I have so enjoyed talking with them this summer. I'll have to remember what we talked about. The first two pictures were taken before I left for Virginia, the last one a day or so after I got back. Here you see a Lily with a big Frog diving under it (click or double-click on this picture to really see the Frog) one of the larger Frogs, and one of the formerly Tiny Frogs.

You may wonder why I was in so many different places last week. I was invited to come to Virginia to visit my old college roommate Emily McCoy and her husband Ted McCoy, also a friend from College. We made a number of excursions, one to the University where we were roommates. It turns out that they no longer lock the girls (Ladies as they used to say) in at 8 pm. NOW the dorms are co-ed! Nuff said about that. We also made a trip to my old Hometown. I was just learning my new cellphone and trying to take a photo of my old house. A lady finally came over to the stranger trying to photograph the house. She apparently thought I was some kind of marauder. When I told her my story she kindly took a picture of our old house, which I thought looked at least as good as way back then. We drove through the downtown - i'd been told the town was quite rundown, but I thought it was even better than I remembered. They even had an Art Center right on the main street. That was one day's excursion.

Another trip was to Crozet, where a mutual friend now lives in a community where everyone has his/her own house but share resources and are in the process of planting all native plants. Hooray for that. Samantha had been a dear friend when we were students. We used to play music together and she is directly responsible for the dear part of my life in which I had traveled internationally and met people at every turn who wanted to play music together! Here you see Samantha, Samantha getting her keyboard ready to play some Bach, and Emily and Samantha being appropriately silly. I love that! We played some Bach together and then Samantha showed us her Lyre, not the kind with an angel attached, but a modern adaptation which makes the most heavenly music this side of paradise!

We then spent a few days at Emily and Ted's condo in Tappahannock. They have a balcony overlooking the Rappahannock River, and it is gorgeous at every time of day or night. We ate at a lot of wonderful little restaurants, sort of Mom and Pop places with terrific food! Here are Emily and Ted; clouds over the Rappahannock (a huge dolphin is just breaking up); and the big Bird that likes to sit right at their viewing place.

One of the highlights of the trip was an afternoon at the Suffragists' Memorial not far from their other home in Northern Virginia. Especially affecting were the statues erected to Carrie Chapman Catt (click to see all those flowers she is holding), Mary Church Terrell, and Alice Paul, the head of the Women's Party.

I have got to brag about Emily. She worked very closely with the Committee as its Chair to erect the Memorial, and she and Ted gave a LOT of money to get the job done. Her name appears more than once in the display. Here they are with Nancy, their Home Care Pro. And of course more views of the Memorial. OH - Emily just sent me this link to the : Memorial Website

My last day we got together with one of Albion's favorite people. See if you can find him in this picture. Here are John Harrison, Narciso Solero, and Emily McCoy at a neat little coffee shop halfway between Falls Church and Tappahannock. Oh, you thought I hogged the camera so that I wasn't in any pictures. But here's the one the lady took at my old house in Hopewell. I'm smiling big there!

So it was a wonderful exciting educational and heart-warming week. But I'm glad to be back too. I hope you are having a wonderful New Year or whatever reminds you that we are in a world with each other. Till next week,

Love, Martha

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