March 12, 2023

Martha O'Kennon

Last week, did I say,""Last week, did I say ""Last week, did I say "What a week!""" There were a couple of relatively creature-full days. But we also had this repeat of a certain scene 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 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 Ant ventured out one day. Seriously, there was only this one American Winter Ant that I saw on February 26. Other than that I didn't see a single Ant. You may even accuse me of altering the orientation of Ant #2 so that they would look like different Ants. Hmm, I believe you are right. There really is only one Ant in the whole week's worth of pictures.

However, if you want things that start with an "A", here it is: by next week, we may not have any Winter Aconites left, so please enjoy this picture while these gorgeous yellow flowers are still abloom. In fact, I want to invite anyone who wants this memory of Betty Beese to please call or email me and I'll dig you up a starter. They will joyously spread themselves out to fill your yard if you like.

Of course there were a plethora of Bugs - all the same species, some indoors, some outdoors. In fact this week the outdoor celebrants were slightly more often seen than the indoor ones.

The Barklice are still playing it scarce. Though I'm sure there has been one adult out there recently - this picture shows you a MOULT - what's left when a full-size nymph emerges as an adult. Now if you want something that there are a LOT of, it's the Flies. Most of them are Midges, mostly non-biting. This last Midge has a nasty Midge Mite on its neck, where they usually show up. Poor dear.

Remember this specialized Midge? It's called a Gall Midge because it lays its eggs in a plant and the babies cause a Gall to form in the plant's matter. Certain varieties are easy to spot because of the lovely antennae. Third is yet another kind of very common Fly, called a Fungus Gnat because of its fondness for Fungus, like ours for Mushrooms of various kinds. Fungus Gnats usually have spikes on their legs, like this one.

Number 1 here seems to be another Winter Crane Fly. The next is a Lesser Dung Fly (Subfamily Limosininae) - Imagine if you had got used to being called a Dung anything and then get demoted to a LESSER one of those! Number 3 here looks like a Mosquito, but I haven't had it identified yet.

Muscoid Flies are a huge group, but I'd never seen one blowing bubbles before.

Here are some more Mystery Flies, which just means I haven't a clue what they are really called. Number 2 casts quite a shadow, as does number 3.

First is a somewhat round-winged Fly. The next two may or may not be different Mystery Flies. With that, you've now seen the Fly line-up for this week.

At first I thought this Psylloid was a barklouse (except for the bright reddish markings it looked a bit like our old friend Graphopsocus cruciatus), but Chris Mallory, one of the chief Psylloid hunters and classifiers, said it might be Aphalara rumicis. The next two shots are of another Psyllid, and I'm pretty sure they are in the family Triozidae, which we've seen so often in the same place on the East Wall.

For the first time in a long time, I didn't see a Looper this week. I did see what look like some kind of shiny Eggs of something I don't recognize. Aren't they beautiful? I'm looking forward to seeing if they hatch into something recognizable. I've never seen a creature with such lovely shiny colorful eggs! But maybe it's time for us to try a Flower Walk. If it isn't Spring, it feels like it when I see the crocuses coming up in profusion. There were at least two kinds in the Back Yard this week: these "Early Crocuses", which I remember planting a long time ago, and the deeper Purple Crocus just opening up.

Here are the Snowdrops about a month behind the crop in Seelys' yard, and a picture with the Early Crocus in the background. Last and we are back to the Winter Aconites in the Snow.

One more Mystery. What will this maroon-ish plant grow up to be?

Since we're done with a very short Flower Walk (4 different flowers is still a lot more than what we had a couple of weeks ago, and a LOT more than we were seeing three weeks ago, which was mostly Winter Aconites!) let's see if we can rustle up some Spiders. Yes, here's a very small one, a Crab Spider with a heartshaped head section (Carapace) - a member of genus Bassaniana. I remember when @Claggy showed me my first one. Thanks again Matt! This must be a time for many Crab Spiders. Here's that White-legged Running Crab Spider again. Remember the white is on the narrow bands on the legs, not really white legs!! The third one looks different, but there are those white bands again. Same kind of Spider!

This one is also a new old friend, the Tuberculated Crab Spider.

This one is such an old friend - it's the Thread-legged Spider, so called because it folds itself up into an almost cylindrical shape (picture 1) and then opens up to the shape in picture 2. I still call them by their older name, "Cribellate Spiders". The third one was identified as a Lyric Cobweaver, which I had seen before but didn't recognize this time. Doesn't it look as if it has a Wasp Larva on its neck? And that's all the Spiders I saw this week. They are mostly very tiny spiders: for instance, the Tuberculated Crab Spider in the last set is only a bit more than a quarter-inch with its legs spread all the way out!

We end off the "S" creature show with this one of darling Spooky out there on a sunny day, admiring the spring flowers!

Here are some Pond Pictures. First, a sunny day's trees reflected in the Pond, and then a lucky shot when the sun let me get some of the lively fishes. (A sad note: about that day,I had to scoop out the other day the only fish I'm sure died in the Pond but wasn't eaten by something bigger.)

The fishes seem to like the warmth near the little heater. In picture 2, on the upper right side, you can see a very small colorful fish swimming with three orange fish. This is one of the babies from last summer. :-)

Well, it snowed and now it's not snowing. I'll be able to get to the Temple tomorrow for the Purim party and Hamantaschen! Some of my favorite people are in a lot of pain and we should all make sure to help out when we can. And to be glad when WE're having a good day. I think Spring will help - I know I long for it. I especially want to socialize with my Frogs. Please everyone, be as well as possible - I think of so many of you every day, and am very glad to have you on my team! Take care,

Love, Martha

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