Posts Tagged Wildlife
An unusual ingredient in the water softener salt reservoir:
I figured it found a way in and can find its own way out, so I just closed the lid and backed carefully away …
I recently bought a pair of pork belly packages, one labeled “Local” at an additional buck a pound. They were packaged skin side downward, so the USDA inspection stamps came as a surprise:
Turns out the digits give the “establishment number”, which you can look up online. These came from a processor in Pine Plains.
We presume they keep track of their pigs …
We often have supper on the patio, with a fly swatter at the ready, but honeybees get special treatment:
She surveyed both our plates, landed on my cooked squash, and probed into the crevices as she would to extract nectar from a flower. The weather has been dry for the last few days and we think she was looking for anything providing a bit of moisture.
I splashed some water on the table and plopped that part of the squash nearby, in the hopes she’d find what she needs. We’ll never know the end of the story.
By August 2, a pair of caterpillars had hatched and grew to 3 mm:
A day later, they were 4 mm long:
They really were sort of blue-ish with green hints:
By August 9, one had had more mature coloration:
The other caterpillar had vanished; we assume it got out of the aquarium and wandered off.
Apparently, the front end of the caterpillar (at the bottom of the picture) has a hard windshield reflecting the ring of LEDs around the camera lens. The caterpillar eats its skin after each molting, except for the windshield:
We kept fresh milkweed branches in a vase and the caterpillar ate almost continuously:
By August 15, the caterpillar was ready for the next stage in its life. At 10 in the morning it had attached itself to the screen covering the aquarium and assumed the position:
It transformed into a chrysalis by 5:30 PM:
The discarded skin remained loosely attached until I carefully removed it.
What look like small yellow spots are actually a striking metallic gold color.
Eleven days later, on August 26 at 9 AM, the chrysalis suddenly became transparent:
The shape of the butterfly becomes visible in reflected light:
The gold dots and line remained visible.
The magic happened at 3 PM:
The compacted wings emerge intense orange on the top and lighter orange on the bottom:
The butterfly took most of the day to unfurl and stiffen its wings into flat plates:
By 8 PM it began exploring the aquarium:
As adults, they sip nectar from flowers, but don’t feed for the first day, so we left it in the aquarium overnight.
At 10 AM on August 27, we transported it to the goldenrod in the garden, where it immediately began tanking operations:
A few minutes later, it began sun-warming operations:
Mary watched it while she was tending the garden and, an hour or so later, saw it take off and fly over the house in a generally southwest direction. It will cross half the continent under a geas prohibiting any other action, eventually overwinter in Mexico with far too few of its compadres, then die after producing the eggs for a generation beginning the northward journey next year.
Godspeed, little butterfly, godspeed …
In the spirit of “video or it didn’t happen”, there’s a 15 fps movie of the emergence taken at 5 s/image.
Mary confronted this critter in the garden, whereupon it fled into the compost bin:
She barricaded it with spare tomato cages across the bin’s entrance, I wedged an aluminum sheet behind the cages, and we got the stinkeye for our efforts:
I deployed the hose, watered it for a few minutes, and we left it to consider its options. Groundhogs are pretty much waterproof, but we hoped the wetdown would be sufficiently unpleasant to mark the garden as “Here be dragons” in its mental map.
After an hour, it had vanished. We know from past experience that groundhogs can climb up-and-over the chain link fence surrounding the compost bin (it was a dog pen for the previous owners), although it knocked down the aluminum sheet and may have exited through the garden.
It looks well-fed and ready for winter.
Searching for groundhog will reveal previous encounters with its ancestors & relatives.
An array of tiny eggs appeared on the outside of our bedroom window:
The patch measures 12 mm across and 14 mm tall. From across the room, it looks like a smudge, but it consists of hundreds of eggs, each on a tiny stalk glued to the glass:
The bottom image is two days later than the top one, both are scaled to about the same size and contrast. The critters look about the same, although I think the lines have more prominent ripples or bumps.
We have no idea what they’ll turn into, but they certainly look like they have two eyes and wings …
I set the Sony HDR-AS30V atop a tripod, told it to take photos at 5 second intervals, then stitched the images into a Youtube video. It won’t go viral, but watching the spider construct her web over the course of two hours was fascinating.
She finishes the spiral at about 1 m video = 1.25 h real time, settles down for what might be a nap (it’s hard to tell with spiders), and has an insect join her for supper at 1:28, half an hour later. Spiders go from “inert” to “death incoming” almost instantly, even in real time running.
Another orb weaver set up shop in the adjacent window, but moved out the next day. Perhaps there’s a minimum spacing requirement?
Two more orb weavers guard windows in the kitchen and laundry room. We sometimes leave the lights on for them.
YouTube has other web-building videos with far more detail, of course.
The magic incantation to create the video from a directory of images in the form
sn=1 ; for f in *JPG ; do printf -v dn 'dsc%04d.jpg' "$(( sn++ ))" ; mv $f $dn ; done ffmpeg -r 15 -i /mnt/video/2017-09-03/100MSDCF/dsc%04d.jpg -q 1 Orb-Weaving-2017-09-03.mp4