Archive for June, 2015

Evening Light

I just found out from my son that I goofed on the identification of this insect. It’s a mantis fly, not a praying mantis. I didn’t even know there was such an insect. The abdomen shape differs between the two. The veining of the wings of a mantis fly’s wings is square and is long in a praying mantis’).

I usually see green or brown praying mantises,

… and this one turned out to be a mantis fly.

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This one doesn’t fit in either color category.

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It looks like it molted recently and is waiting for its exoskeleton to dry.

The Gathering

 Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweeds, like the common milkweed below.


Daddy longlegs gathered on it this morning.


Another one stayed near the buds at the top of the plant.


I wonder if they each staked out a territory and are ready for the flowers to bloom and the insects to come?

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This one didn’t like the attention and quickly backed to the underside the leaf.

Indigo Bunting

I looked out the picture window while on the computer, and there perched an indigo bunting on a trellis I made years ago.


Theoretically, the composition of this picture shouldn’t work. There are too many elements without one standing out more than the others. They just combine to make a pleasing, eye-catching arrangement.


This is one of the copper trellises I made years ago for my gardens. The main pole is 1/2-inch copper tubing over an electric fence pole. I used it for the main structure of the trellis and then used 1/4 inch copper to fill in the free-form design.



After months and months of this picture popping up on my screensaver, I finally found the picture in my computer.


I hadn’t been able to identify them either. Then I found their picture in a small book “Mushrooms and Other Fungi of Land Between the Lakes”

Microstoma flocossa.

They grow on partially buried  sticks and twigs of oak trees. The small cups (to .8 centimeters) produce the spores.

Original Magnifying Glass


A light rain fell earlier today. Buffy and I were walking a loop around the yard when I found this line of drops on a honeysuckle leaf.

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Closer observation showed how the drops magnified the leaf’s vein underneath them.

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So, maybe the magnifying glass was developed from someone noticing water drops on an object.

Feels Right At Home

The groundhog family must feel right at home now. When they first moved under the barn, they stayed close to the den. They got braver and spread around part of the back-back of our yard. The young ones generally stayed closer to the barn. Not any more.


I looked out the picture window by my computer, and there was an adult … only it was only 20 yards from picture window where I sat.


I thought it might possibly had been looking for an intruder in his territory.


It headed south,


went on the cistern,


and rested before heading back toward the barn.

Morning Explorations


I initially went outside to take a few poppy pictures.


This iris is a family heirloom from my grandmother. Several of them attracted ants.


The immature male white-tailed skimmer (Libellula lydia) flew out occasionally hawking insects.

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 I first thought it was an eastern-tailed blue butterfly and soon realized it was a spring azure (Celastrina argiolus ladon).


A red-eared slider was crossing our front yard, heading toward the highway.


It posed for pictures. Friday traffic was too heavy for me to carry it across the highway. I didn’t see which direction it ended up heading.


Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica) is a perennial that grows in low moist woods, ravines or stream banks.


Spiderwort (Trandescantia sp.) is a wildflower too.


This iris was bent over and hidden under an area with dense growth.


Grandfather’s rose is a family heirloom. It was given to my grandmother when my mother was born in 1929.


A “whoop” practically echoed over the yard when I found the first cluster of catalpa hornworm eggs. The immature stages of the caterpillars, plus all the predators they attract, make for interesting caterpillar watching.


This dragonfly did cooperate for pictures. I think it’s a juvenile blue dasher.

An hour sure can pass quickly when I’m having fun.

Miniature Royalty

 I didn’t expect to find royalty while walking around our backyard.


 The “robe’s pattern definitely looks like it belongs to royalty.

She has to come from a kingdom far, far, FAR away, like from another universe.

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Her majesty Klemucheckee introduces herself.


Maybe she has a palace back in the shrubs where she stays in when she’s here.


This is the reception area of her palace,


and here’s her residence.

She says she lives in a Heehimtoo (palace) high in the growth of a large floating island.

I hope she visits again.

Groundhog Update

The groundhog family still lives under the barn.


Yesterday afternoon I went to the back part of the the yard to take pictures. The young groundhog calmly watched me, even as I stopped to take its picture.


They wander around the backyard, stopping often to check out their surroundings.


Two of them even had a friendly wrestling match.

Me and My Shadow

“I’m a large bee fly,


and thought this rock made a fancy place to rest.


“Large” translates into my being between 1/4 to 1/2 inch long.”

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The bee fly’s range covers most of North America. They prefer meadows, open fields and gardens. Apparently they visit flowers frequented by solitary bees, follow them back to their nest and lay an egg at the entrance to the tunnel. The fly larvae feed on bee larvae, pupate in the nest and the adults emerge in early summer.