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Month: May 2011

Resourceful Mosquitoes

Resourceful Mosquitoes

This small pool of water that I found in Tryon Creek State Park is full of life.  Moss, leaves, and lots and lots of larvae.  They are most likely mosquito larvae, which swim around in standing pools of water until they pupate and become adults. Where is this small pool?  In a very interesting place…check out the short video below to see the larvae squirming around and then to see where this pool was hiding.  And yes, those are my…

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Cross Spider Cuts Boxelder Bug Loose

Cross Spider Cuts Boxelder Bug Loose

“Dad, hurry up!”  That is a sentence I hear a lot around my house.  Luckily, this time my son was calling me outside to look at something.  I asked what was going on and he said “A Cross Spider has a Boxelder Bug caught in its web!”  Not bad for an 8-year old, huh? I grabbed my camera and took a look.  As you can see in the photo above, the spider isn’t injecting any venom into the bug.  Why…

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Damselfly in the Rain Garden

Damselfly in the Rain Garden

Today I found my first Damselfly in the Rain Garden!  It is holding on to a Common Rush that I planted.  Remember that Damselflies and Dragonflies are different.  Most Damselflies hold their wings together while resting, but Dragonflies can’t do this- they have to hold their wings out.  This one isn’t quite holding them together, but I believe that this is a Damselfly since its front and hind wings are about the same size and shape- Dragonfly wings differ.  It…

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Spider Flower?

Spider Flower?

Yesterday in my backyard I saw this flower on a plant poking through my neighbor’s fence.  Wait a second- is that really a flower? No!  It is a bunch of spiderlings, or baby spiders. According to Insects of the Pacific Northwest by Peter and Judy Haggard, these are Black-and-yellow Argiopes (or Garden Spiders according to some books).  I got a little too close with my camera and they started to scatter.  Check out the video below.  What does that look…

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Bugloss with Bugs

Bugloss with Bugs

If you’ve seen plants blooming right now with small blue flowers, they could be forget-me-nots.  But, if they are taller they are probably Evergreen Bugloss as shown above.  These plants originate from Europe, and maybe they are evergreen there but here they are just perennials according to this website. Luckily some native insects appear to like them.  According to Insects of the Pacific Northwest by Peter and Judy Haggard, the beetle shown above is a Pidonia Scripta which is a…

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Usual Birds

Usual Birds

All has been quiet on the birding front in our yard.  Birds must be nesting or something because they sure aren’t hanging out in our yard in large numbers.  Some of the usual birds have been showing up on occasion though.  Above is a Red-breasted Sapsucker looking for food on our Walnut Tree.  As you can see from the branch at the left edge of the photo, the tree has leafed out and will soon start growing some walnuts. This…

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Swarm of Flies

Swarm of Flies

There still aren’t any herons to be seen down by their rookery, but I did see this Red-tailed Hawk down there.  For some reason I haven’t seen too many birds lately.  Maybe they are all waiting in nests? Insects though are everywhere, as you can tell from my latest posts.  Of course, while I was looking for herons I was swarmed by a bunch of flies. Photos of the “swarm” didn’t come out, but this one rested on a Spiraea…

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Banana Slug – Almost the Largest

Banana Slug – Almost the Largest

I found another Banana Slug in my backyard!  These fantastic looking slugs are the second largest in the world. It is definitely slimy, but that didn’t seem to bother the little insect grabbing a ride on its back in the photo above. Looking at the slug’s other side we can see the hole through which it breathes, called a pneumostome.  Just like snail shells are usually on a snail’s right side (as I posted about last week), pneumostomes are on…

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