Are you seeing any early pollinators?

Spring is finally arriving in Kentucky! My crocuses and daffodils are creating scattered colorful bouquets, and the pussy willow blooms are soft and fuzzy. I’ve been watching for early pollinators, but so far  without success.

I have discovered ants in some of the crocus blooms. From what I read, they are really after nectar and do little if any pollinating. 

I wonder where this ant spent the cold winter months. How did it find its way into this relatively ‘big’ crocus bloom? Does it take some of the nectar ‘home’ to share? 

I’m glad to see signs of spring, and my search for pollinators will continue.

Birds of Sanibel, Florida

I haven’t done much photography for quite a while. However, during a recent trip to Captiva, Florida, I was inspired by the wonderful birds we saw at the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and had great fun using the camera again. We made several trips at different times of the day, always making new discoveries. I felt like I was in a different country.

There were lots of memorable moments, but one of my favorites was when we saw hundreds of egrets and herons concentrated in a ‘ditch’ along the edge of the mangroves. We were able to get very close, and they didn’t seem to mind us at all, although there was lots of “squawking” among themselves.

It was a special treat to see a wide variety of water birds including white pelicans, wood storks and roseate spoonbills.

Click here for a slideshow of my favorite photos of the week

Polyphemus Moth caterpillars – week 2

The Polyphemus caterpillars have been ‘eating machines’! In two weeks they’ve doubled in size.

Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar at two weeks

Do I dare call them ‘cute’? How about all the red ‘knobs and spikes’? Click the image below for a closer look at their fringed feet (or classy ‘shoes’)! Continue reading “Polyphemus Moth caterpillars – week 2”

Hurray for Moths and National Moth Week!

I haven’t blogged for a while, but I’ve been having fun discovering and learning about moths. I added a moth chart (still in process) to my website with some of the moths I’ve seen, many of them in our backyard.

This week, July 23-31, is National Moth Week, and seems like a fitting time to share my latest moth adventure.

I raised my first Polyphemus moth in 2010, and I recently raised three more. I placed one of the females in a mating cage, hoping she would have a visitor. Indeed she did, and this is a photo of them mating. 

Polyphemus moths mating

Continue reading “Hurray for Moths and National Moth Week!”

Beautiful Imperial Moth emerges

I had fun raising an Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis) caterpillar last summer. In September, it stopped eating and disappeared into a large pot of dirt at the back of our house. I’ve been watching it all summer, and was thrilled recently to discover this newly emerged moth.

Imperial Moth (male)

The contrasting brown and yellow markings indicate this is a male. Females appear more yellow, with lighter brown markings. The black object in front of the moth is the hollow pupal case from which it emerged.

I find the whole process amazing. A caterpillar emerged from a tiny egg, ate pine needles and grew to 4 inches. One day it quit eating, went underground, and pupated for the winter. Eleven moths later, it emerged as a beautiful moth. What a story!