July 9, 2023
What a week! To nobody's surprise, the temperatures most everywhere on my beloved planet Earth hit the highest point in recorded memory. Here it was in the high 80's or low 90's F for a couple of days. But in many places it was above 100 F. The wild Day Lilies have about peaked for this Summer. My favorites, the Deptford Pinks (planted from seeds sent me by Mary-Ann Cateforis lo these many years ago) flash their brilliant Pink color in a few spots in the front yard. Third, the Black Raspberries actually produced enough berries (saved in half cupfuls in the freezer) to make a Raspberry Pie when my daughter Abra comes to visit in August.
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The Ants are so hard to photograph - I think they run on Solar power so that when it's the hottest, the Ants run the fastest. I think these first two are Nearctic Carpenter Ants, while the last is a Winter Ant.
One day the tiniest Ants in the world (all right, I exaggerate) were moving house. Here you can see three of them moving their eggs out right by the Pond.
Hopefully, the lack of Ants is made up for by the discovery of several Aphids in the Goldenrod in the back yard. First, a nice Green one; then on another Goldenrod plant very close to that one, two Red Aphids (possibly actually the Goldenrod Aphid) and then a singleton. I hadn't seen the Red ones in YEARS!
Let's check out the Bees and Beetles. Well, let's check out the one Bee that was in the deck-box Poppies one day this week. It is really rolling in pollen! Next is a Beetle, the Redbud Seed Weevil (or Redbud Bruchid). Third is a True Weevil of genus Anthonomus.
The Beetles were so active this week. First, here is a Lightning Beetle, then an Asian Lady Beetle, and then a couple of Japanese Beetles mating.
Here are two views of the Immigrant Green Weevil, and then a Tumbling Flower Beetle.
Here's another Beetle but not one I know. (It MAY be another Tumbling Flower Beetle, going on shape.) The ID app on iNat called number 2 an Ebony Bug. So we seem to have segued into the Bugs. Third is probably a Plant Bug.
We haven't YET run out of the most-ineptly-named Obscure Plant Bugs (pictures 1 and 2). Number 3 is not Obscure, but does look like a Plant Bug. Actually it looks a lot like the one in picture 3 above.
Let's look at the special Bugs called Leafhoppers. The first two are Nymphs of a Leafhopper called the Japanese Maple Leafhopper. These nymphs seem quite different from the finished product, which is what the third picture (taken in 2020) represents. But you can see that sharp "beak" in both, can't you?
First here is a Red-banded Leafhopper. Sometimes the Bluish color is more Greenish. But look carefully at picture 2. It is NOT a Red-banded Leafhopper, but rather a Rhododendron Leafhopper. The third one is a Leafhopper but a new species on me.
Another kind of Hopper (besides the Leafhopper) is the Treehopper. This one is associated with the Redbud "tree", and is called the Two-marked Treehopper (seen in both of these two photos).
Unlike most weeks, we didn't see any of the Assassin Bugs this past week. But we did have a few more special Bugs, like this White-margined Burrower Bug (pictures 1 and 2), which tends to show up at this time of year. Third here is a True Bug. We saw one like it last week but it didn't have ANY wings then. Now it finally has grown stubby little wings.
Let's see now, how are the Barklice coming along? The one that seems to be the most numerous is the Ectopsocus meridionalis. It seems that everywhere you look on the North Wall, you see one of those either laying eggs or taking care of some that have already been laid.
Our oldest friend among the Barklice has got to be Graphopsocus cruciatus.
Another old friend has been Metylophorus novaescotiae. This week it has been showing up in nymphal and adult form. First here you see some of the Nymphs. Third is a somewhat poor quality photo of an adult.
We got a few pictures of a Trichadenotecnum genus adult. Picture 3 shows the encrusted Nymph from last week which probably morphed into that adult.
There are still a few of the Polypsocus corruptus Barklice on the North Wall. And this third picture probably shows a Valenzuela flavidus. It's too bad that viewing that Wall is somewhat difficult in the afternoon light.
Well, we seem to have run through all the Beetles, Bugs and Barklice of the week. Time for the Damselflies and Dragonflies. Here is the Ebony Jewelwing female, followed by a couple of males, which are the ones with the brightly iridescent wings and legs. Wait, you know that first "female" one just might be a male, since it isn't totally lacking any iridescence. What do you think?
We still have a couple of Dragonflies to view. First is an orange Meadowhawk, resting on a bunch of Raspberries. Next is a Whitetail Dragonfly, but why is it called "Whitetail"? - its tail is mostly brownish. The trick is that the FEMALE Whitetail has the white tale, and this one is a male, whose tail is brownish.
This leads us to the Flies. This first one is a kind of Crane Fly, small and pretty. The next two are Quadrate Snipe Flies.
Another addition to our Robber Fly collection, this time two mating members of the subfamily Asilinae. Third is another Robber Fly, but it is in genus Efferia. Last is a Bathroom Moth Fly.
This Greenbottle Fly is cleaning up the remains of some kind of creature. Second is a member of genus Suillia, and may even be Suillia quinquepunctata, the most common Suillia in our region. And third is a member of Subfamily Limosininae.
Here are some of those tiny jewels, the long-legged Flies Condylostylus.
Here is one more Fly. And the start of a few Moths. Number 2 is in genus Idia, and the last is another Morbid Owlet.
A few more Moths. First, a Speckled Renia Moth; then Large Lace-bordered Moth; and last, a Norway Maple Pigmy Moth. So, looks like time for a Flower Walk.
Starting from the deck, we see the bright pink in the deck box, and next to it the Sage. The Poppies in a farther deck box are fading.
On the path to the gate, we see the Phlox (wild) and a wild Day Lily. The Trumpetvine is already taking over. Compare that to the one blossom of the Spiderwort.
And the Deptford Pinks.
A very few Spiders. Here are the eggs of Euryopis funebris and the spider itself last week. Sometime in the ensuing week, E. funebris laid this big fluffy-looking egg mass.
Here is the Common House Spider. Note how big the Wasp larva is now. And a really early Jumper, Naphrys pulex. Third is an unknown Spider. But finally my favorite Spider, Mimetus puritanus.
We had one new Wasp this week.
Let's see how the Frogs are doing. In picture 1 we see two Frogs: on the far left is Tonguey, a large male Frog who likes to converse. On the far right is a Female Frog. In picture 2, Tonguey is on the right.
I don't know what has happened to the Toad tadpoles. For a few days, they were active and multitudinous. Then after the big Raccoon wallop, they seemed to disappear. Meanwhile, the Frogs seem to be holding their own. Every night I turn on my old radio (under a raincoat) and the deck light, unplug the water pump, and for a nice extra treat, I spray Coyote urine on the rocks around the Pond. All this is supposed to deter the Raccoons from wreaking havoc on the Frogs and Lilies. I must just go out there and specifically look for the Tadpoles. Nope, no more tadpoles. I guess the fishes enjoyed their company a bit too much. Well, anyway, here are three Frogs on Lily pads.
Let's watch the fishes for a while. Sorry - this is a rerun featuring Hedda the Gobbler. You probably remember when the youngest fish was barely visible. NOW she is eagerly gobbling lunch with the other members of the family! I've been trying to think of a name for her. I think Hedda will work - she's such a Gobbler. What'cha think?
Summer is here, and though the temperature is comfortable here most of the day, think globally and hope we can resolve to save the planet from ourselves.
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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2023