July 30, 2023 through August 6, 2023

Martha O'Kennon

Summer still progresses, but we have again so far escaped the worst of it. Yesterday we had a short but violent-sounding thunderstorm, but it passed without taking down our electric grid with it (we fared much better than other towns.) Here is my favorite view of the Pond from last week.

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.

The Ants have gotten so fast it is hard to get good shots of them, but here are a couple of Nearctic Ants that were identified on iNat. I am finding this Ant harder and harder to identify!

Towards the end of Sunday (July 30), I got the chance to photograph this huge Ant as it dashed from right to left on the deck railing. @mettcollsuss of iNat identified it as the common Eastern Black Carpenter Ant, but this one is a FEMALE!

Bad news. I didn't find a single Aphid this week. But there were a few Beetles. This first one is a Click Beetle. Next is a Japanese Beetle. The third is upside down, as you must have noticed, and even I can't ID such a thing!

This first one was a Beetle called Belonuchus rufipennis (red-winged). And the second is a Firefly in the genus Pyropyga.

The Bugs were a bit more forthcoming. But identifying them is no easy task. This first one I thought would be some kind of Assassin Bug, based on the shape of its proboscis, but it's really a Plant Bug. Next is SOME kind of Bug, but who knows exactly what kind? The skinny little creature in picture 3 is a very young Zelus luridus.

Another Assassin! This can be no other than our other old friend Empicoris errabundus. Pictures 2 and 3 (taken on August 3) show (at the bottom) the clasped prehensile arms, making our friend seem to be praying for prey. For some reason, this Creature shows up many times as side decoration for the picture I was aiming for. On August 5th, THIS whitish one WITH RED EYES appeared on the Wall. The ID app in iNat suggested Empicoris for the genus - but it doesn't look like our other E. empicoris. I'm still waiting for what iNat will come up with for an ID.

First here seems to be our old friend Drymus unus. This is the first time I've seen one at this time of year. Then we see an unknown leafhopper and yet another Mystery Bug. Don't even TRY to guess what it is! No, I don't mean to be asking you not to wonder about something - especially something that looks like this!

The North Wall has been quite dry for a few weeks, making The Barklice seem a bit missing in action. But we did have the Barklouse Echmepteryx hageni; the F-winged Barklouse Graphopsocus cruciatus (what a moniker); and finally a G. cruciatus mother coating her new-laid eggs with protective strands. (Click to see a better picture.)

Remember I suggested last week a possible sighting of the nymph of the Barklouse Polypsocus corruptus? Here is one exemplar, followed by a possible grid in which the eggs grew until big enough for us to see. I'm certainly not sure of this usage. On August 2 I did see this one adult on the North Wall.


Things on the Wall are so small yet that I don't have a lot of clear pictures of such things as nymphs at early stages. But this first one does seem to be a Metylophorus novaescotiae nymph. The second may be an even earlier stage. Flash! On August 2 this adult appeared on the Wall!

On to the Flies! @zdanko of iNat, a great repository of information on Flies particularly, identified it as an Acalyptrate Fly in the Zoosubsection Acalyptratae.

So NOW let's move on to the rest of the Flies. Here is one that looks like a Flesh-eating Fly. Third is one of those lovely Green Flies, possibly in the genus of long-legged Flies, but it seemed even smaller than that group, and its legs are not particularly long.

Here is another of the long-winged Flies (2 pictures). Last is a Woodlouse Fly.

Love was in the air for the Humpbacked Flies. I don't know if the reference to "humpback" is a sly jab at their favorite activity. Almost every time I find a pair of Flies in conjugal bliss, they turn out to be Humpbacked Flies. Second is a tiny green-eyed Fly in genus Neurigona. Third is a North American Malaria Mosquito.

This HUGE Crane Fly has the greenest eyes. I've seen them dying but never alive until this one condescended to let me immortalize it. They can cover a lot of distance with those huge blue wings. Really! They are just about as large as they seem at this magnification. It's called the Common Large Crane Fly.

The Brightly-colored tiny Long-legged Flies have NOT gone away. Third here is NOT one of them, but a very pretty Fruit Fly.

Here are two Moths. First is the Tawny Emperor, Asterocampa clyton. And second is the Triangle-marked Twirler Moth, Taygete attributella.

Here is an exciting one. I sent this picture to iNat hoping someone with a wide knowledge of strange things could make a stab at it. Both @captainmantis37 and @tigerbb said it was a batch of young Lacewings! If you go here You can see the explanations. I'm so glad to be able to photograph, even imperfectly, things as they happen in real time in real nature! Oh, stop. Just go there and see the result of collaboration that happens on iNaturalist.org.

Time for our traditional Flower Walk. The Flowers have been prolific this season. They seem to enjoy sharing the screen with others. For instance, the Trumpetvine and Phlox bring out each others' colors.

The Trumpetvine also brings out the colors of the Japanese Beetle. Meanwhile here is an example of Kathleen Seidl's Japanese Anemones inviting a big Bumblebee to lunch. By the way, MY Japanese Anemones now are showing more and more Flower Buds.

The Asiatic Dayflower is a favorite of mine. The first time I ever saw it was in China in 1982. My daughter Abby Bertman was the one who pointed it out here. It is so tiny but its beautiful blue flowers are so gorgeous I can't stop looking at it.

Out in the side yard, right next to where I park the car, the Blackberries (or whatever these dangerous Brambles fruit out to be) are ripening. I'm packing them away into the freezer until pie time! Here is another picture of the Water Lilies (two kinds) in the Pond. (Look for more of the story of the Pond and its various Creatures as we continue.)

If you look to the right of the blooming Water Lily, your eye should come to rest on a new Bud. It is in a straight line down through the two Frogs. Start at the top, on the first Frog, down to the next Frog, pass a much smaller leaf, and there you are right on the Bud in question. It has a slight bluish color, and so looks different from any Bud you have seen before in this Blog. I had been hoping it would have been a different one, but it turns out to be the same mostly whitish one we have been seeing all along.

Here are a couple of photos of the Spiderwort, almost at the end of its blooming for this year I think. And that may bring our Flower Walk to a halt for now.

Here is a tiny black Spider, maybe a Dwarf Spider. That thing was FAST! I'm betting the second one is a Grass Spider. Third is a Jumping Spider (look at those big eyes!) called Naphrys pulex, or Flea Jumping Spider.

This of course is my FAVORITE Spider, Mimetus puritanus, the Spider-eating Spider, a very young one. No wonder it has the common name of Common Pirate Spider. Second is the Common Spitting Spider, Scytodes thoracica. @tigerbb and @paolosol of iNat love this spider and Paolosol sent this video for you.

Even though they aren't Spiders, they ARE eight-legged and so they count! Here are two Harvestmen. Third was seen below the bottom panel on the North Wall, and looks like a ghostly Harvestman.

I can't always see 6 Frogs out there. Sometimes I worry about them. I have done most everything a human can do to try to keep the local Raccoons away from them, the Fishes, and the Lilies. But the other night about 9 o'clock, I saw motion down in the yard from my upstairs window, and when I went down, I saw something I had hoped never to see up close. There are actually TWO Raccoons, two very young ones. Each one is about the size of two cats. The faces - the Faces - are amazing. Two very black eyes each. I happened to have the camera with me but it was dark. So the camera kept trying to take the picture. It does that by piling picture onto picture hoping to collect enough light to get a real picture. These are the results. You can probably see the IDEA behind the pictures - a face with 2 black eyes. I was conquered. Finally I went into the house, opened a can of tuna and tossed it to them. Of course one got it first and didn't share. So for the past two nights I've opened two cans of tuna and left it for them at that spot in front of the door to the shop. They seem to manage to find it, and yesterday they left the cans in a state of pristine cleanliness. I still didn't touch the cans and tossed them into the garbage instead of recycling them. Each of the past two mornings I've looked down into the pond and seen NO damage to the lilies, and hopefully all six (maybe 5) of the frogs. But on Saturday, August 5, a huge adult Raccoon was roaming the yard. I chased him/her up a tree and clanged a shovel against the tree, hopefully convincing him to go home and nap for the day. I may have to reconsider the whole Raccoon strategy. A friend in Jackson has offered me the use of a small trap on wheels with which to consider relocating Raccoons. Sigh.

Speaking of the Frogs, here are: four of them on July 25; and two on the Lily pads on July 30.

Here is something that seems to have transpired in the past couple of weeks. I was walking by the Pond on July 27, and saw something that looked a bit like a very wet, very tiny, little greyish Froglet. Later when he was a bit drier, he still looked tiny but much like a miniature Green Frog. On August 2, he looked colored like one too.

Speaking of the family of Amphibians, here are some of the baby Toads, before growing out their feet. When they do and can swim to the pond's edge, here is the floating Tadpole helper.

Here are two shots of the pond in later afternoon on the 30th. In picture 2, please click on the picture to see a full-sized Frog on the left, and a new discovery this weekend - that tiny greyish Baby Frog!

The Fishes are irrepressible. Even the mostly blue and/or brown ones each show so much variation in color it is hard not to constantly be clicking on them. These two pictures show the Fishes clamoring for the fish flakes I'm just about to sprinkle into the pond.

I'd like to talk about the Fishes and all the colors they seem to have. Well, many of them at first sight seem to be just plain bluish brown or other "dull" colors. There has been for some time one of the brownish Fishes whose head seems to be getting brighter blue. Picture 1 is from July 11. The next picture, taken on August 5, shows that blue color becoming sort of metallic. They do seem to change colors subtly or not so subtly, producing a wider and wider range of colors!

It's raining cats and dogs, damp ones anyway. The mystery Lily is opening and shows that the bud was really another of the ones with pink inside. Even the pink isn't showing up very well in this colorless shot. But that's all right. One more picture, this one pinker than all the rest, and just about right for the Lilies the last day of this blog! Another week to see how this thing we call a Pond develops. We know the world is still here, but needs help!!

I hope we can do more and more to save our beautiful planet. The sudden though predicted turn in the climate has already started killing people and animals. I can't stand it. The idea of these beautiful creatures vanishing is too much. I always try to end on a positive note, but it's hard to do that except to ask you to start at the beginning and see all the friends who are still here. And work to save them.

Love, Martha

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