One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there,

It’s time for something teeny!

Mystery #127

If you know what it might be, give us a shout in the comments!

~~~

Oops, apparently we squirrels are making the most of all our daylight hours this weekend. Sorry we’re running late. We had a very close guess today. These are butterfly eggs. That leaf would give you a surefire clue, if it weren’t magnified so much. (There’s a hint-these are tiny!)

It’s a milkweed leaf…so these are Monarch eggs!

Monarch butterfly laying eggsThey have been fluttering around the milkweeds, and fueling up on zinnia nectar.

Monarch butterfly on zinnia

Hopefully we’ll have some caterpillars to show you soon!

Tiger Swallowtail

Black phase Tiger Swallowtail

This butterfly looks more like the Spicebush Swallowtail we featured a month ago, and hardly like a Tiger Swallowtail, but it is the ‘dark phase Tiger Swallowtail’. If you compare, it has less blue than the Spicebush and the a faint ‘tiger’ striping.

So keep on your paws, er toes when you see these butterflies!

Adventures when leaving the nest

When baby birds start flapping their wings, we squirrels hunker down to watch–it’s always fun. This week, two baby Blue Jays did a test…er, glide.

Baby Blue Jay stuck in a fence

This poor little fellow seemed stuck for some time in a gate.

American Robin and Baby Blue Jay

The parent birds hovered nearby, bringing food, but we think in his distress, he got a bit confused and started begging to anyone!

Baby Blue Jay

Finally, the last baby was brave enough to land. The parents keep up with feeding, and we hope protecting through the night. And just so you humans know, that’s usually the case. If the young birds have feathers, they usually are on their first flights, awkward, but that’s where the phrase ‘testing their wings’ comes from!

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there,

This might be one of our trickier mysteries!

Mystery #126

What is this plant that now has its fruit?

Check back with you later for any guesses.

~~~

Ms. Flora says I should have told you the berries will turn dark purple–they aren’t far enough along yet. *tail drooping* Sorry.

This member of the Lily family is Indian Cucumber, Medeola virginiana. It is the only member of its family, which is kind of cool.

Indian Cucumber

Lily family members usually have leaves in sets of three or six. But like with Virginia Creeper, the number of leaves on an Indian Cucumber can vary, three to five on the top and between five to nine on the bottom. The Indian Cucumber has leaves in either one or two tiers. Only the plants with two tiers bear flowers and then fruit.

Indian Cucumber flowers

Even we squirrels do not see this plant very often, yet it grows throughout North America east of the Mississippi River. Parts of the Indian Cucumber are edible, but as we always recommend with you humans desiring to collect wild edibles, please consult your human experts. Do not rely on a squirrel’s sense of what to eat!