This enlargement of an insect covered in artistically created camo was crawling on my leg. It or its friend dropped down from a white mulberry tree later and bit me. I thought I’d been able to ID it last year but now I can’t find it. I’m afraid I reacted too quickly to being bitten to figure out if the stick thing in lower left is a leg or a camo stick thing.
Juvenile tundra swan required a runway to take off from the pond! I am so used to ducks popping up from the pond like corks that I was holding my camera in wrong position to capture the takeoff. You can tell it’s a juvenile because the head is gray.
Swan was paddling around on the pond, totally unaware that I was sneaking up on it with all the stealth a senior citizen can muster.
These shots show the bird continuing to climb. To me the most interesting thing to observe here is the black edge at the end of the tail feathers. Those are the swan’s enormous black feet!
I wasn’t expecting paparazzi when I slipped out to enjoy a pleasant winter thaw. I thought my camouflage was more than sufficient. Feel free to call me Wolfy!
January 21, 2018 provided a pleasant and unexpected winter thaw!
Red Eye (osprey chick) begs Pepper Dotty (mom) for fish. Pepper says what all mother osprey say to their chicks, “Go fish!”
Pepper continues to eat, ignoring her starving, miserable chick.
Red Eye continues to complain. Pepper ‘hoods’ her fish. Dart (dad) flies to nest off camera.
Red Eye flies to nest but Dart is already gone and there was no fish left in the nest. Help!!
Suddenly Pepper drops to the nest to deliver fish remains to her chick and Red Eye starts eating immediately.
Happy Red Eye will survive another day! Thanks, Mom!
You can clearly see all 4 beaks in today’s photo. Imagine if they all had their mouths open at once!
This is the invasive yellow flag iris. The blue flag iris is not an invasive. But I can’t find the one or two that have sometimes bloomed down in the marsh. The yellow flags have totally taken over the pond and marsh since John stopped mowing down there. I hate to say how lovely and cheerful they are. Since it would take me more than a lifetime to pull them up I will just have to enjoy them…
One look at this Emerald Ash Borer and you can understand why the elytra, or stiff front pair of wings on a beetle have been popular since cavemen discovered they weren’t just delicious but also useful for trade. What wouldn’t you give to possess something so amazingly iridescent?
Everyone is scared of this insect, commonly thought to be the world’s biggest mosquito. But it isn’t a mosquito. It’s a crane fly. And it doesn’t bite or sting or cause any harm. Most don’t even eat, except for a bit of nectar. Some people call them mosquito hawks and skeeter eaters. I saw my first crane fly of 2017 on March 25th in my bathroom. They are really fun to look at. Since their major activity is mating, watch for that pairing. They are so big that a mating pair is quite obvious on your screen door or window.
Their wings remind me of stained glass.
This close up gives you a chance to see their antennae.
These are Swamp Maple seed pods. We have all watched maple trees drop seed pods in pairs that twirl like tiny helicopter blades as they spin toward the ground. Now most young girls have pierced ears. But when I was a kid and we wanted earrings, we split open the seed part of the maple helicopters and carefully stuck them on our ear lobes. My neighbor who is 96 said when she was a kid they stuck them on top of their noses and called them parrot noses. I had never heard of that! I wonder how many kids today have even heard of making maple pod earrings, much less parrot noses!
Careful examination of Creeping Charlie, aka.ground ivy and Gill over the Ground, reveals a flower with an impressive mouthful of teeth and baleen (a tough material that hangs down from the upper jaw of whales without teeth and is used by the whale to filter small ocean animals out of seawater). What else would you call it? Instead of filtering small ocean animals, my guess is this baleen’s function is to tickle insect wings and backs.
Here is the promised Henbit photo in better focus. And finally a new spring flower:
Meet the hairy Speedwell! I think it’s called Creeping Speedwell, Threadstalk Speedwell and Whetzel weed. I don’t think it is Persian Speedwell, Veronica persica, Veronica Speedwell, Common field Speedwell or Bird’s-eye Speedwell. Invasives from the lower slopes of Asia’s rainy mountains, they are all members of the Plantain Family. You’ll be introduced to more Plantain as it gets warmer. Since Speedwell usually flowers from June through September, my bet is this is the Winter Speedwell. The flowers are very small. What you’ll see from a standing position is a tiny, obviously blue dot on the ground. After you bend over for a better look, check out the kidney-shaped leaves.