Who can resist a young praying mantis?

insect praying mantis

I love watching praying mantises grow from tiny replicas of their parents to the biggest insect I see by season’s end. It’s hard to imagine how they start out about the width of my little fingernail. Depending on the size of your screen, the photo may be enlarged. This insect is actually about 1.25 inches long.  They seem to be very patient hunters. I wonder what they think as they wait.

Eastern eyed click beetle

insect eastern eyed click beetle

Huge eastern eyed click beetles have arrived! Eye pattern on thorax is very impressive. As scary as they look, they are harmless. Check out their cool antennae! Next time I see one I’ll pick it up and listen for the click sound! I often pick up small click beetles that get into the kitchen because it is amazing to hear their click sound in my hand as I carry them outdoors.

“Saddlebags” of milkweed pollen! Busy bee!

insect bee and milkweed

It was exciting for me and the busy bee to find some milkweed blossoms the deer haven’t eaten yet! The milkweed pollen our bee is collecting looks like butter! I wonder what it tastes like. We ate young green milkweed pods once over 40 years ago. As I recall, you need to boil them twice, changing the water. Warning: Please Google before you try them. They tasted like string beans.

4 Mockingbird chicks, 1 starving!

Bird mocker babies

Once hidden in an apple tree, a lovely nest of 4 mockingbird chicks grows louder every day, drawing attention from endless predators. At this stage the chicks are mostly mouth! Mom and dad are constantly busy feeding and defending their gang.  We barely survived their attacks as we took a quick photo yesterday afternoon.

bird mocker chicks 2

Here they are this morning, twice as big as yesterday. Look carefully for 4 heads.  My husband is taking these photos because he is taller.