28 July, 2012

A Punk Caterpillar on Milkweed and other fun sightings

All the photos below were taken the early evening of July 27th in our front garden.  Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillars (Euchaetes egle) were on the Aesclepias plants.  I spotted them when I was looking for Monarch butterfly caterpillars.
They seemed to like eating the flowers.

Although the caterpillars are striking, the adult moths have dull yellow/orange abdomens with black spots and featureless grey wings.
Difficult to tell which end is the head.  But here you can just 
make out the shiny head where it is eating the flower.
The early instars are gregarious, but turn into loners in later instars.
This punk style reminds me of Dean at DDD.  :-)
Also on Aesclepias were these milkweed bugs busily making the next generation...

Neoneides muticus, a stilt bug, also on Aesclepias. These were tiny little things, but obviously adults because they are mating.

The coneflowers have been prolific this year.
This fly was going round and round, systematically visiting each little floret.
Many of the coneflowers were atypical.
"Look - my flower has flowers."  

And finally, a lovely little moth down at the base of Liatris.  Haematopis grataria - Chickweed Geometer.  Female with filiform antennae.

26 July, 2012

On the Patio

Just a few images from an afternoon Max and I spent on the patio in late June.  A painted lady (Vanessa cardui) was obsessed with getting minerals and moisture from the damp blocks of the retaining wall and patio pavers.  It was so focused on its activities that I was able to get quite close with my camera. 
It liked the moss between the pavers, too.
It fluttered back to the wall and got the attention of...

Max!Finally settling a little higher than the reach of a fat cat.  ;-)
No matter, now Max has a tom turkey in her sights.
The turkey likes to look at his handsome self reflected in our basements windows.  How funny is that?