March 5, 2023

Martha O'Kennon

Last week, did I say,"Last week, did I say "What a week!"" There must have been some reason. I drove over to Jackson, digging my way from West Michigan Avenue to East Michigan Avenue to the office of the generator company, and bought 4 quarts of oil. Today (Friday) I poured two of them into the generator, hopefully in the right place, and wiping up a little spillage. It must now be at least half full. Well, the week that started so strangely went through a few days of temperatures that moved on Thursday to 61 degrees F! That day I got maybe as many new photos as I'd gotten in the past three or four weeks. So if you are pining for more photos of more critters, this may be your lucky blog!

The Winter Aconites are still shining out back, but the Snowdrops are making inroads. Next, the Very Early Crocus are attracting their share of Western Honey Bees.

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 Ants ventured out on a couple of days. One that I haven't seen since Fall is the Eastern Black Carpenter Ant. You'll see it a lot in the Spring and Summer, but not much in the Winter. All the other Ants I've seen this week are the ever-popular Winter Ants. Note the variation in the colors in this Ant species.

Unlike last week, we did see one small Beetle, this one a Rove Beetle, the kind that wear a shortened pair of wings. I believe this one is in genus Anotylus.

But the Bugs were back in evidence. Here is one old-friend Leafhopper, Erasmoneura vulnerata. Picture 2 is a condensation of MANY pictures, indoors and outdoors, of our favorite Boxelder, the Eastern Boxelder Bug. Your favorite Stink Bug, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, was sunning itself on the back door hinge (on the inside, but still in the sun).

Barklouse eggs, probably mostly Graphopsocus cruciatus eggs, are sprinkled in little clutches in many places on the Wall. Picture 3, however, shows us a face we haven't seen since Fall. It is a nymphal barklouse named Ectopsocus meridionalis. I'm so happy to see it here now. This means its colony has overwintered somewhere and on that particular day (the day the temperature was 61 F) this young one felt comfortable enough to come out and show itself!

Flies are the most common visitor to these climes. Especially common are various shapes and sizes of Winter and other Craneflies. I'm pretty sure the third on is a Winter Cranefly. For now, let's call the first 2 Craneflies.

We saw at least two identified Cluster Flies of two different species. I think you can tell which one of these is a different species from the other two.

Here are a few of the Midges out this week. You'll see that these last two thought Spring was here a couple of days before our huge snowstorm of the night.

Gall Midges, another kind of Fly, seem to be discernible for their interesting antennae. My new camera is working better now just in time to be able to see them.

I don't know what this one is. Or the next one. But I'm betting the last is another Gall Midge.

This fuzzy-eyed Fly is another mystery. But look at the wings when it turns in a different directions!

I was sure this was a particularly lovely kind of Looper, but it isn't. Our friend @k8thegr8 identified it as Euphyia, a kind of Carpet Moth larva.

If you remember the lovely Stonefly from last week (picture 1 shows the most pretty colors, caused by some kind of chromatic aberration), we saw another one (pictures 2 and 3) this week. They apparently both belong to the genus Allocapnia, but whether they are the same species is up for study.

This first Psyllid is the Hackberry Gall Psylllid, genus Pachysylla, identified at almost the last moment by @circuitdragon of iNat. Today (February 4) I saw another Psyllid, one of my old favorite puzzles, another psyllid, this one in genus Trioza (last two pictures).

Here we have a Wasp in the genus Gelis, which we saw a week or two ago. If you remember, this species has wingless females, like this one.

The Spiders are still coming out to be counted. This first little one is probably a Black Dwarf Spider. The next one is a mystery to me. (two pictures).

I have had a lot of Tuberculated Crab Spiders and thought this week's offering was the same. But a person who knows a lot about spiders tried to sell me that it was a different kind of Octopus Spider. I was holding out. It fits the maps and the one he tried to sell me a different one that only shows up (once) in Ohio, and in BG, it only occurs (five times) in Pennsylvania. But I decided to drop back to genus Octopus on this one! Later I was happy to see that the seasonally correct Grammanota genus with its shiny markings is back (two pictures)!

I first labeled this little one as a Cobweb Spider, but when I later spotted its heart-shaped carapace (head section), I saw it as a Crab Spider, a member of genus Bassaniana.

This lovely Spider with the orange spots would have immediately told me it was a Bold Jumper, but it didn't show its blue fangs - maybe that's for males, and besides it didn't turn its face that way for me.

We had a couple of kinds of Springtails. The first is probably an Elongated Springtail, while the second seems to be Willowsia nigramantia. I could only get fuzzy pictures of it but had taken a video of it walking along, so I selected one of the best frames to use here today.

If you get out to the Pond at just the right time of day, sometimes you can get very shockingly colorful pictures of the Fishes. Here are some of those. Most of the colors are exaggerated or just plain false. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if they became hungry for fish food soon.

The power is on, and the generator quiet. I had to navigate the strip between East and West Michigan Avenues in Jackson to buy myself a few quarts of the oil for the generator, and just before the Snow Storm came in on Friday, poured in two of the quarts. The snow was vicious and below you get to see it battering at the back door (just click once on the blank picture). But we kept our power. The next morning there were over 10 inches of snow on top of the car and on the driveway. Fortunately a neighbor came by and worked on the patch between the driveway and the street. Thanks to you, Mr. Amos! And then Debby Seely came from next door and finished off the job. What would we do without neighbors? I remember thirty or forty years ago, when Dave Seely and I used to be able to help the older lady across the street get shoveled out after we'd done our own driveways and sidewalks. About twenty years ago we were down to Dave shoveling out both our driveways and sidewalks with me standing there like an old lady. So we had sort of paid it forward. It helps to remember that. Meanwhile Cathy in Jackson couldn't get out of her driveway on time and ended up making ALL the hamantaschen for next week's Purim party. I remember the story from the New Testament about "Who is your neighbor?" Answer: We all are. Having FOLKS is great. Now for the Snowstorm. Remember, that pounding stuff is SNOW, not rain.

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2023