Posts Tagged Wildlife
Several of this year’s praying mantises set up shop in the decorative grasses bracketing the front door:
We found their egg masses, formally called ootheca, attached to the stems in mid-October:
They feel like rigid urethane foam and seem eminently protective:
We’ll cut around the masses when it’s time to clear out the dead grass next spring. I was tempted to bring one inside, but dealing with a gazillion tiny mantises in a few months would be daunting.
Fortunately, Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs haven’t been as catastrophic as predicted when they arrived a few years ago, perhaps because native critters have learned to deal with them:
Looks like a week’s worth of spider chow!
Looking into the end, you can see where the next segment would attach:
Somewhere nearby, there’s a recently vacated nest with a pantry full of carefully chosen seeds and nuts, just waiting for another critter to move in …
Voles apparently live only a few months, so this one may have run out of gas while crossing the driveway:
Or it just caught a heart attack?
It definitely wasn’t playing possum; nobody can lie still with ants up their nose.
It had vanished when we returned from our afternoon ride, so somebody further up the food chain also noticed it. As my buddy dBm puts it, “In Nature, nothing goes to waste.”
If I hadn’t seen this, I wouldn’t have believed it:
Perhaps grabbing the bumblebee at the tip of the abdomen neutralizes the sting, but I only saw the flash of motion, not the actual capture.
The mantis changed her (?) grip several times while removing various accessories:
Although a bee’s leg may not seem edible, she chewed through them like Pocky.
Minus most of the bits and pieces, serious eating commenced:
Having watched several insects go through this process, the mantis proceeds from the head downward, eventually squeezing the abdomen like a tube of toothpaste.
A mantis can eat a bumblebee in about twenty minutes, from capture to discarding the empty husk. After a few minutes of body maintenance, ranging from leg cleaning to eye scraping, she begins waiting for the next meal to arrive …
The 4 inch column on the rear patio holds a bracket, probably intended for a welcoming sign or some such, which keeps the suet feeder mostly out of reach. It desperately wanted a coat of black paint to match the railing, so I stripped the old paint and applied Evapo-Rust:
One could, of course, simply buy new eye screws & nuts, but we’re deep into historical preservation around here.
An hour of soaking and a few minutes of wire-wheeling got everything down to bare metal, ready for some rattle-can primer and black paint action:
It’s a version of what Eks calls a “used car finish”: high shine over deep pits.
Discussion of why one should not paint threaded parts will be unavailing; in this case, paint serves as permanent threadlock. I re-spritzed the eyescrews & nuts after getting everything aligned, so as to produce a lovely two-coat over-all finish.
Two Funnel Weaver spiders spun their webs across diagonal corners of the garden tool rack and appear to be peacefully sharing the bounty attracted by nearby lights.
The one on the left vanishes instantly into its funnel, deep inside the corner post, nearly every time we step onto the patio:
The other spider worked around a stick emerging from its refuge:
But it’s doing all right:
Their less adventurous compadres build webs on the plaintains festooning what might be called our lawn, making me feel awful while mowing in these months. I hope the mower’s vibrations drive them deep into the grass before it roars overhead, but I’ll never know.