Fascinating caterpillars

I thoroughly enjoyed the Kids’ Caterpillar Weekend at Natural Bridge State Resort Park. Naturalists Tyler Morgan and Brian Gasdorf were enthusiastic and gracious hosts. Tyler’s excellent presentations and the caterpillar hunts were both educational and fun. Other highlights of the weekend were Judy Burris and Wayne Richards’ delightful butterfly presentation, a butterfly hunt and moth watch.

I’m amazed at the different caterpillar shapes, colors, and designs, as well as their intriguing names. Here’s a sample of what we saw. Click any image for a larger version and click the enlargement to view the next image.

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Backyard hideout with passion flower vines

After six years, our native passion flower vines (Passiflora incarnata) needed a more substantial trellis. The area where they’re growing wasn’t being used, and I wanted a “hideout” for the neighborhood kids. Our friend Carmen found a creative solution for both. He installed two cattle panels that arch from the base of the passion flower plants to the bottom of our nearby fence. Bales of straw provide seating or a table area.

This was how the hideout looked in June when our neighbors Nicolas and Ben were giving it a try.Passiflora incarnata vine hide out in June

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Kids’ Caterpillar Weekend, Aug. 24 & 25 at Natural Bridge State Park

I’m excited about the Kids’ Caterpillar Weekend. Tyler Morgan is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about caterpillars, butterflies and moths, and I’m impressed with his agenda for the weekend. I also look forward to seeing Wayne Richards and Judy Burris again. I always enjoy their presentations, and their 3 books about butterflies and exploring nature are among my favorites. 

Please share this information with anyone who might be interested. Hope to see you there! Here are the details, or download a flyer (2MB PDF).

Natural Bridge Caterpillar weekend 2012

Natural Bridge State Resort Park would like to welcome nature lovers of all ages to our Kids’ Caterpillar Weekend on August 24-25! This event will provide a unique opportunity to discover the diverse world of caterpillars, moths, and butterflies – most within arm’s reach!

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Life and death in the backyard – cicada killer wasp

In my experiment with fermented insect bait, my greatest surprise has been the regular appearance of two cicada killer wasps (Sphecius speciosus). I’ve seen them in the backyard before, and they are always flying fast and low to the ground. It’s been a treat to see them up close on the feeder. Sphecius speciosus wasp

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Insect bait – an experiment in fermentation

Although there are some blooms in the garden, I haven’t been seeing many butterflies and I decided to try an experiment. I made bait using a ripe banana, brown sugar, molasses, beer, and overly-ripe peaches, and let it ferment. I put some bait in a hummingbird feeder and more on a strip of terrycloth, and hung them in the backyard.

Fermented insect feeders

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