Friday, May 14, 2010

In The Wild Backyard

Today was my last day off before I head back to work for the weekend.  I spent the majority of the day at the vet with my dog and cat to find out that my dog is allergic to Florida.  The excessive pollen in the air this year is not just making people miserable, its making my dog very itchy.  He is content now with medicine (which means a wet food treat to make sure he gets food with his meds) and a new toy to distract him and keep him from scratching.  He is happy, but I think that the cat is still mad because we forced her to leave her sanctuary.
When we returned home, I went for a walk outside to get some photos for the day.  I started with the plants around the house but them stumbled upon some interesting insects as well.  The first plant was Aloe.  We noticed that we had some growing in the garden last week because its tall flowering stalk was starting to bud.  It still hasn't bloomed all the way, but it is starting to show some color... stay tuned for more!  Its amazing that a plant that is so cool and soothing would be so prickly and harsh on the outside.

You may remember a post from a couple of weeks ago when I blogged about some tiny Aphid nymphs and a young Lubber grasshopper on a Milkweed plant.  That very same plant is beginning to bud as well.  I can't wait for it to bloom.

I wandered into the side yard next and spotted a beautiful Dragonfly perched in the sun.  It was a little nervous as I crept towards it and it kept fluttering away and then coming back.  I slowly moved into position and waited for it to return.  I was able to get several photos of it before we finally parted ways.  I was glad to see several more Dragonflies while I was out... they eat mosquitoes.  Happy hunting Dragonflies!

Near the Dragonfly's perch, I saw some busy little Paper Wasps.  They were hard at work and didn't mind me taking a closer look.  Wasps usually get a bad rep because of their sting, but they do some good too.  They feed on nectar, so they help to pollinate plants.  They also will feed on some other insects which may be pests in the garden.

After a few more steps through the woods, I nearly walked into a spiderweb.  It was at face level and the individual strands of the web were so tiny, it was easy to miss.  The spider itself could have sat comfortably on the top of a pencil eraser.  It took several tries, but I was finally able to capture it in focus with the help of my macro lens.

On the way back to the house, I was examining a plant that has some new growth on it.  It also has the dead stalks from last year's growth still standing in the middle.  As I looked at the dead stalks, I noticed an insect perched on it.  I think that it is a young Robber Fly.  You may remember seeing their photos in other posts here or here.  It looks like it might cause a person harm, but that pointy mouth part is for insects only.

Thought of the Day #41
Have you looked at your yard closely today?  Spend a few minutes, the next time you have the chance, to really look at things.  Bend down to look at a few plants, really scan the things that you would normally just glance at.  What did you find?  A great web page to help identify the mysterious insects you may find can be found here at What's That Bug.

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