Sedum

Miz Flora actually suggested we feature an ornamental plant today. And since Sedum is a fairly common garden plant in these parts, we’ve got our pictures right off and are doing it. Acorn gathering season and all, you know.

sedum

The species we see most often she said, it Autumn Joy, and as you might expect form the name, it blooms in Autumn.

It doesn’t make fancy seeds or a fruit, but the flowers this late in the season—blooming until first frost—give the insects that extra boost of food they need to get to their next stage, whether it’s laying eggs before they die, or flying all the way to Mexico to return to lay eggs next year.

Sedum

So enjoy those pink puffs—the bugs sure are!

Web Dancing

We expect to see spiders, like that fellow earlier in the week, in their webs. But after watching this iridescent wasp on a flower for some time, I finally realized it was standing on strands of webbing.

Wasp on a web

He danced one leg up, and then another, twisting at the narrow waist, but never really moving around for a good photo angle. He might have been stuck. Hickory called me away to play before the wasp left, so I’ll never know!

Thirsty Thursday

This is one of the saddest things Ol’ Wally sees in our suburban neighborhoods:

dried up hydrangea

We squirrels bury a lot of nuts, and they don’t grow—we don’t want them to grow. But the humans planting these bushes do want them to grow. Miz Flora gets very irate that they don’t follow though on the watering, especially when the poor bushes are surrounded by more pavement heat than dirt.

Ok, that’s the end of our chittering for today.

Giant Caterpillar of the Imperial Moth

Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar

Giant caterpillars grow into giant moths, in this case a Imperial Moth, Eacles imperialis. They come in two colors, green and brown, and feed on both deciduous and conifer trees, but we haven’t learned that this has anything to do with the color. We read that they are in decline in the northeast. If our readers know of any group recording their whereabouts, please let us know!

Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar

Polyphemus Moth CaterpillarThis one wasn’t very cooperative, so some of our photos are at funny angles, but Hickory and I sure enjoyed looking at his bright colors, spots, fur and different feet. Much more interesting than gray squirrel fur.

“Hey!” Hickory chittered at me. “At least we’ll be here come winter!”

On the Hunt

Has our readers been seeing spiders lately? BIG spiders, that is?

Hickory and I have nearly run through some pretty big webs up in the branches, only to skid to a stop when we saw this:

Spider

Then the other day, se spotted a large blob on a deck screen. A closer inspection revealed one of those same stripey-legged spiders had a meal. Hickory got too close, and the spider jumped on what we think was a web-wrapped moth and looked ready to defend it to the death.

spider with a web-wrapped moth

Or at least give out a few spider bites in defense. We backed off.

We don’t eat moths anyway—too fuzzy.

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey There!

Like last week, we are giving you another…little bulbous, thingy… Hmm, I have to be careful not to talk too much.

Mystery #73

I’ll be back for your guesses later, but while you’re thinking, we have had a brief note from Coney:

Howdy Squirrel Nutwork friends:

My Ponderosa Pine is still standing, but now much closer to the creek that is much wider than it was. I have been busy looking for a new home, which most other squirrels in the Jamestown area are doing as well. I’ll let you know when I resettle. I believe the humans here are doing the same kind of reconnaissance.

I will write more when I can, and send photos. In the meantime, here is a video I found showing the devastation to our mountain valley home. I understand it’s like this all over the Front Range.

Stay safe!

Coney, your Colorado Field Correspondent

Nutmeg and I had a look, and all I can say is, wow. Our best wishes to all the residents, human and wildlife, affected by this terrible flooding.

~~~

So this ‘thingy’ is a rose hip, the fruit that develops around the seeds of roses. All kinds of roses have them, wild and ornamental. They just come in different shapes and sizes—and tastes. This is something that humans eat, though we at The Squirrel Nutwork are NOT suggesting you eat them. Please check your edibles out before consuming anything wild.

Rose with a hip forming

Check close and you’ll see the hips form even before the flower is done blooming!