April 4, 2021
Hardly one crocus out there, and all the beautiful little groupings are long gone. Now the little blue things are taking over both front and back. First you see the Scylla ("squills" as I learned them first), then the budding Japonica (Japanese Quince) which will slowly wreak its beauty in the south side next to the car; then the sweet Grape Hyacinths.
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 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.
We didn't get the promised warm temperatures for the past few days, and that means I saw nary an ant until this afternoon, when I had to chase this Smaller Carpenter to get this one picture. Once they warm up, they're unstoppable. A great example of Solar Energy. So here's the one little fellow. Alphabetically, we should expect to see a couple of Barklice. But did we? We did not. However we did find a few locations with what might turn out to be Barklice. Here is one of the places we saw last week. It's on the East Wall 4 panels from the Northern end. Picture 2 shows it on April 1, while picture 3 shows it on April 3. The lighting was slightly different on those two days. But what I notice is that the little blobs in picture 3 seem more like some kind of little creatures wrapped in some kind of transparent-ish paper coverings. I think we're getting ready to see some Barklouse nymphs emerge.
Now we get to wonder: IF those things that look like parchment-enclosed bugs were our most common Barklice, Graphopsocus cruciatus, they would have looked like these familiar eggs (picture 1). But the new ones DON'T look like this, but rather eggs covered in some kind of crumbling covering. Picture 2 shows one of the middle panels on the North wall with some creatures that seem to be about to hatch. The third picture seems to show a tiny creature coming out of the crunchy covering butt-first!
I don't think I registered any Bees this week. They did love their crocuses, so now they will have to wait a while for more flowers. Oh wait, here is one caught in transit from one blossom to another in the Scylla! But meanwhile, a few unusual Beetles visited us this week. The first (picture 2) is this Sap-eating Beetle. I've seen it several times over the past 5 years, but never got it identified to species before, so I'm excited to tell you it is Omosita discoidea. You would have to be there to see this little grey Weevil. It is barely visible to the human eye. Boris Büche put it into genus Tychius.
The first image is probably a bronze-ish little Flea Beetle. Then we come to what is likely a Lygus Bug, and maybe even a Tarnished Plant Bug (pictures 2 and 3).
Here is a Psylloid that I saw today, April 3. It may be new for me. It seems (picture 2) that that Hackberry Blister Gall Psyllid that we see frequently is still here. The third one looks like the Cacopsylla we saw last week.
There were so many Flies this week. This big one was identified on iNat as Family Heleomyzidae, that's about it. The second is a real Hairy and spiny fellow. And the third looks sharp in Black and White.
The Midges, Gall Midges and Fungus Gnats are quite common now. Here is a Gall Midge, followed by a couple of Midges.
Three different Midges. Beware- I am not the best at deciding among Midge, Gall Midge, and Fungus Gnat. That last one may well be a Fungus Gnat.
The Fishes have been taking fish flakes for a week or more now. The temperature goes up into the 60's in the early afternoon. I don't overfeed since this is when the fishes have to recalibrate their metabolisms. Here's part of the group. The white flakes are fish food. The second picture shows the smallest of the fishes that carry the multi-colored genes next to one of the larger orange ones.
Here are a couple more portraits of some of the younger fishes. First is Chica, the mom of the pond. Then a pebbly baby, and third, Baby Chico, one of the older younger fishes.
Here's Froggy: swimming to the edge; resting on the edge; and on top of the edging. But here's the good news: I was sitting across the pond from Froggy, and once in a while saying "gollum" or "garump". Finally he suddenly caught the bug - the talk-back bug, that is- and we proceeded to chat for several minutes! A few minutes after he caught me by surprise, I suddenly caught a glint of - a couple of Water Striders! I'd no idea their colony would have survived the big pond-draining and new water and a cold winter. But somehow or other, there we have it. The Striders are back!
Let's go for a stroll through the flowers. Here are some that will open more in a few days. First is a Hyacinth, not a Grape Hyacinth (that's picture 2), but a full-blown one. It will probably be pink. Third, a May Apple.
Here's that little patch of Scylla that lives in a special little patch of sunlight at the south-east corner of the Wall. Next is the big patch under the Maple tree at the end of the driveway. Third is a clump of Celandine Poppies, just budding up. In a couple of weeks, these will turn the yard into a gorgeous garden of gold.
The Pulmonaria is already beginning to bud up. It is fascinating to see these little flowers go from pink to blue. The tiny dwarf Daffodil is standing up straight now. And the redbud already has these little pink buds all over its branches.
Here's the Hellebore, lifting its flowers more every day. The green leaves are left-overs from last year.
We had a few interesting Spiders this week. The temperature had dropped a bit, so a FEW is all. Here is a Cobwebber. They hide in the corners of the siding. Next are what seem color-wise to be two examples of Running Crab Spiders. I don't know if it is just the quality of the light that makes them seem to be two colors.
Here, ALREADY, is the first Orchard Orbweaver. April Fool's Day! Here too are some views you'll be seeing of this gorgeous Long-jawed Orchard Orbweaver.
That nearly-invisible little Encyrtid Wasp shows up often, though I think it's waning right now.
We still saw a springtail once in a while on the shady side of the Shop. Don't know what this Spongy-looking thing from the North Wall is. Or this layered Nut-shaped Thing.
It's supposed to be 71 degrees F out there and I'm eager to get out to soak up some sunshine. I'm going to try to get back to PT soon, maybe tomorrow. I hope everyone else is coming out of this past year feeling better. Anyway, I plan to soak up sun, and try to get some sleep. You do it too, you deserve it..
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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2021