January 15, 2023

Martha O'Kennon

Another dark day at almost the middle of January, if you can believe that already! Right now at 2 pm, it is 35F, and a little fine snow is falling. Here are two photos from January 9, one at 1:30 pm and the other at 1:45 pm.

Here is the one Ant of the week, an American Winter Ant on January 11, or as I always say for short, Winter Ant. That was IT for the Ants. We might as well just jump ahead to the Barklice. Here is our faithful friend, Graphopsocus cruciatus.

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.

A couple more Barklice. Picture 1 is probably G. cruciatus eggs, but I'm betting that the second set of eggs, with an orange nymph having hatched and another hatching, is going to be in genus Valenzuela.

Here is one of our Boxelder Bugs found outdoors. It's followed by two views of Drymus unus, which showed up as soon as the Goldenrod started to lose its color, and now shows up almost every day on the South Wall.

I found this fellow on the South Wall. It seems to be the exact same individual that our @harvestman.man identified as a European Harvestman (Phalangium opilio). Number 2 is the original European Harvestman (Phalangium opilio) from last week. How did I decide they are the same individuals?? Well, count the legs. But look how much number 1 developed in those 7 days.

While we're on to our Arachnids, here is a nice new Dwarf Spider that I first thought was a Gall Wasp (I was out searching for any), but had 8 legs and male pedipalps (the things that resemble boxing mitts). You can see by the tiny GIF file in third place how very fast they run!

Usually there are a fair number of Flies gracing the wintry walls. Not this week! So far not a one has showed up. We did, however, see a few Moths or their larvae. The first is probably a larva with some prodigious long hairs! Next is definitely a Looper (larva of Geometrid Moth). Number 3 seems to be an adult of some kind of Moth.

Here is a mysterious structure of some sort. On enlarging the midsection we see something that looks like an immature creature. I hope I can keep finding this "nursery".

For years I've been finding this Psyllid in the winter, and someone once suggested it resembled Trioza albifrons. The consensus is that it does belong to the family Triozidae, and maybe genus Trioza. But hang onto your suspense - one day I'll find out who it is!

Maybe you remember that up above when I showed you the Dwarf Spider, I had confused it with a Gall Wasp, a tiny organism that regularly appears out on the Wall in the Winter. Well, here is another, a real Gall Wasp, from the South Wall this week. You can see how slowly it walks up the Wall.

Another sign of Spring -- A nymphal Springtail. They also are likely to show up out there in the dead of Winter, but to me they are an auspicious sign that our Spring will come. This one was ID'd by @alexis_orion of iNat as a member of the Subfamily Isotominae.

Any other signs of Spring? Or at least the progress of Winter toward that end? Well, the Coral Berries are still pretty and I haven't seen signs of their disappearance. On the other hand, the Euonymous berries are going fast. Maybe the birds don't like Coral Berries so much as the others. Third, the redbuds are budding.

Walk this way. Over in the Seely's yard, here is what I promised you a couple of weeks ago - can you see the tiny Snowdrop bud?

Here is something you can see when it is windy and you have double-hung windows. As the wind blows past the outside window it pulls the window outward, which distorts the reflection and when that distorted reflection is outside an undistorted window, you get a strange pattern caused by the two versions.

Finally! Let's see how the fishes are doing in that cold water? Their little metabolisms are way down and so now they don't need to eat. Sometimes they react to my presence and swim away a bit.

Can you believe we are halfway through January? As I mentioned in one of the Haikus I like to sprinkle with the opening of the email announcement of the new blog, two more weeks and we will be at Groundhog Day, famous for Punxsutawney Phil. The real secret of that day is that it is the day the daily Minimum Low temperature begins to turn back up and so each day will be a little bit less cold. The trick is sort of like what happens on the Solstice, when the Sun begins to go down later. Similar to what happened the week before the Solstice, when the Sun began to rise a bit earlier, the Average Maximum High temperature will have begun to be a bit higher the week before Groundhog Day. That's about next week. It's all about the cold going away, that is by my reckoning. Meanwhile, here's a scene from the summer, when the Frogs are lively and full of fun. Here was one of the talkiest, who is clearly talking to MOI. You might want to adjust your sound down a bit. Click on the empty box to start the MP4 running.

Love, Martha

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2023