February 26, 2023

Martha O'Kennon

Last week, did I say "What a week!" Well, can we double this one? WHAT A WEEK! On Wednesday, the temperatures were in the 30's F, touching on the 40's F in the early afternoon and slipping lower just as an ICE STORM headed in. Trees began falling, one just down the street at a good friend's home. About then, the power went out. On Thursday evening, the generator went out! WHAT? The generator company person came and said that the generator had run out of oil. He refilled it and left me two new bottles of oil. I mentioned that the power had been out and the generator ran for four days in September 2022. Today is day 4 or so of this outage. So this may be a chance to refill the gas tank in the generator again. Definitely time for an in-between checkup - which isn't due till July. Apparently Michigan isn't your state if you want well-planned (oh, cross that out!) well-executed power fixes. Is this part of the climate upheaval here? The ice storm only lasted a day!

The Winter Aconites are still peaking out back by the shop.

But the Snowdrops are easing their way up between the Winter Aconites.

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 again 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.

The Winter Ant[s] made their/its once-weekly visit to the North Wall on February 20. You can see how slowly this one was moving.

One BEE! Apparently in the Midwest, the one and only Bee you'll see at this time of year is the Western Honey Bee. In this picture, you see one of those on the right side, but what must clearly be something else on the left. I was sure the interloper was some kind of Fly. But look at picture 2, and you will see a pouch of pollen on its leg. I'm assured (now will I remember this till next spring/winter?) that Flies don't have pollen pouches, so that little visitor is ANOTHER Western Honey Bee! But picture 3 does indeed contain a Cluster Fly. So you have to use your eyes and your memory to decipher these things!

No Beetles this week. How about Bugs? Picture 1 shows one of the most-often seen Leafhoppers, that is Erasmoneura vulnerata. Remember last week we saw this very one plus the next two members of genus Balclutha. Picture 2 shows the usual Balclutha that I see fairly often but have never gotten a species for it. Meanwhile, picture 3 shows a new Leafhopper on me, but it turns out to be a new member of genus Balclutha.

Our Barklouse friends were obvious this week, at least as we see from these pictures of Graphopsocus cruciatus. Picture 3 looks like an adult G. cruciatus having just moulted from a nymphal form. I DON'T know what the elliptical brown thing is at the upper right of this picture.

The Winter Crane Flies show up fairly often, but not when it is terribly cold. There were a couple of these but it's hard to tell which is which, since they are so very similar to each other.

A few more Flies. First, a Midge. Then a mystery Fly with some pink WIP in its wings. Third, a very pretty Fly but I don't know what it is.

Here's a Moth that may be a dead one, since it hasn't moved in the time we've been seeing it. Then we see a Looper, the larva of a Geometric Moth, which, as we've discussed before, is the adult of a Looper.

One more kind of Insect. I hadn't seen a Stonefly for at least a year, maybe more. But on February 23, I saw this one. It seems to be a member of the super-family Nemouroidea that contains Rolled-winged, Forest, and Winter Stoneflies. I love the colors in picture 2. Personally, since this is February I'm betting on Winter Stonefly!

No Spiders this week! But we do have a couple of Springtails. The movie in picture 2 shows the first Springtail racing along. Picture 3 is of a different kind of Springtail.

Actually, this little round creature is probably some kind of Cobweb Spider. And picture 2 shows that there WAS a spider around to make this critter-wrap. We finish out the S's with a lovely black Cat who is very happy to be outside for a few minutes to a half hour now.

Let's go back and record our lovely Ice Storm. Here is the biggest Redbud covered in the white shiny stuff. In picture 2, the left side of the pond is directly under that tall tree as it melts.

And finally a few Fish pictures. That's Bunky at the end, our oldest Shubunkin.

Just about an hour before I got to the end of this blog, the power suddenly came on again. The generator went quiet - but it had had a real workout this week. Classes are over, and maybe Spring will be coming soon. Usually I can see the crocus budding up about now. The Winter Aconite bloomed a long time and it made me smile EVERY time I looked at it! Hope your week was spent well and that you had companionship to help you through it.

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2023