End of season

…and lots of orange.

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mass of tiny leaves—new growth

Nadata gibbosa

Met this little friend on the front steps today. It was pretty sluggish, so I was able to get some excellent photos. (Thanks for turning around so we can see both ends at the same time, buddy!)

It took me a little while to figure out what it was, but I finally determined that it’s the caterpillar of the rough prominent (or white-dotted prominent) moth. They like maples, so I put it on the nearest tree. I’ll keep an eye out after the leaves drop; maybe I’ll have another cocoon to raise this spring.

Hanging out

dragonfly closeup

I’ve no idea how the big dragonflies get under the netting and into the veggie garden, they’re worse than the birds. It’s not that I mind them there, though I think they hunt better when they have more room, but they get distressed by being trapped. I’ve taken to keeping a net there and moving them out every time I go to the garden. It’s pretty simple. They don’t have a brain that says “fly down,” apparently, so all I have to do is invert the net and walk them out, while holding the net up so it doesn’t sag. Invert again and they’re free.

Except this one hung around for a bit and let me take a few pictures.

dragonfly closeup
Not a great photo of the insect, but I was taken by the pattern on wing and netting.

Well, sometimes it works.

I’ve found that if you move slowly enough, sometimes a frog will climb up on your hand and sit there. Not this time, though! I think the problem was my position; I couldn’t keep the hand flat enough and it didn’t like feeling enclosed.

Garden surprise

towhee egg

Well, this wasn’t what I expected to find smack in the middle of the veggie garden path yesterday. I guess someone got caught short.

(The garden is netted, but somehow they still manage to find a way in, and then can’t get out till I open the gate and shoo them off. And they REALLY like blueberries.)

towhee egg
It’s a towhee egg. They’re particularly good at getting UNDER the netting. 

Hatching of a different kind

For some reason this spring I started finding cocoons and chrysalises. It started with the wonderful one I found in March, which I’d determined was likely the cocoon of a Ceanothus Silk Moth. It had been pretty battered up, so I didn’t expect much, but I put it in a huge glass jar with a piece of screening over the top, and left it outside the kitchen window so it was sheltered but I could immediately see if anything hatched. Continue reading “Hatching of a different kind”

An amazing story

Yeah, it’s out of focus. I like it anyway, and it somehow seems to fit the story I just found. Here’s a direct link to the PDF of the article “A bee as pet – a bee psychologist’s perspective.” It includes a letter from a woman who had an extraordinary relationship with a wingless bumble bee queen, and the commentary of Lars Chittka of the Bee Sensory and Behavioural Ecology Lab at Queen Mary University of London.

Oh, and there’s more pictures with this article.

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