A caterpillar with red shoes?

Yes, a white fluffy caterpillar with bright-red shoes! This Spotted Apatelodes (Apatelodes torrefacta) was just one of several caterpillars we discovered and identified at the recent Caterpillar Weekend at Natural Bridge State Resort Park.

The red ‘shoes’ are actually prolegs. Furthermore, I understand this is one of the stinging caterpillars, although I didn’t touch it to find out.

Spotted Apatelodes caterpillarcaterpillarIt was a treat to find and identify ‘cats’ with other enthusiasts. I continue to be impressed by the wide variety of caterpillars naturalists have documented in the park. My thanks to Brian and Drew for making it a fun learning experience.

Amazing Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

During a recent visit to Natural Bridge State Park, Harry and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Ruby-throated hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) as they darted in and out, stopping briefly to drink at feeders. It was like watching a continuous aerial ballet.

Ruby-throated humingbirds

Here’s a few fun facts –

  • Hummingbirds are the tiniest birds in the world.
  • They are the only birds that can fly both forward and backward; they can also hover in mid-air, fly sideways and upside down.
  • They pollinate plants by getting pollen on their head and neck while gathering nectar from blossoms.
  • Most Ruby-throated hummingbirds fly 500 miles nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico during their spring and fall migrations.

We don’t have a feeder in the yard, however we regularly see one or more hummingbirds nectaring on various blossoms, especially red ones. These birds are indeed amazing, and I’m always thrilled to see them.