Thirsty Thursday

Ol’ Wally here was headed down to the local pond to cool off when I saw a gathering under a tree.

Canada Geese

I bounded a bit closer…then decided I best not.

Canada Geese

Geese. Canada Geese. Normally not an issue, but these adults were protecting little ones.

Canada Geese

And a goose with goslings–watch out, humans and beasts! However…these geese weren’t doing more than looking my direction…

Canada Geese

could it be they were just as hot as I was?

Canada Goose gosling

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One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Mystery #154

There are two things in today’s mystery to guess:

What insect is this?

What flower is it feeding on?

Give me your guesses and I’ll check back later with your answers!

~~~

We had a correct guess on the flower–this is a Common Milkweed. The ‘butterfly’ is a skipper, the Silver-spotted Skipper. He wasn’t quite in the right position for you humans to see his thicker ends of the antenna that identify him as a skipper.

The underside of the wings, as shown above, have the silver spot that can usually be detected from a distance. However, if the skipper is sitting with the wings spread and the upper side is visible, that silver spot disappears.

Silver-spotted Skipper

Well, it’s hidden. Sorry, you have to learn two patterns if you are trying to identify this skipper, but it’s not too unusual for butterflies to have different coloring on the top and undersides.

We squirrels learned a fun fact about the Silver-spotted Skipper while looking it up: They almost never visit yellow flowers! Pink, like this milkweed are a favorite, as well as other pink, red, purple and blue flowers like thistle, red clover and blazing star.

Check out the website Butterflies and Moths of North America, if you’d like to learn more!

Young Bluebirds

The Eastern Bluebird fledglings have continued to return to our reader friend Nancy’s yard. But then, why wouldn’t they–she’s feeding them dried mealworms!

Eastern Bluebird fledgling

Eastern Bluebird fledgling &

Eastern Bluebird fledgling

Eastern Bluebird fledgling

Amazing to see them growing up! The bluebird pair are incubating their second set of eggs.

Eastern Bluebird eggs

That’s one cushy looking nest. Thanks for sharing, Nancy!

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Sorry for the absence of new mysteries! Hope you had a chance to study up on those confusing vines before your summer outings!

This week’s mystery is a blooming tree!

Mystery #153

Do you recognize it? Give us a guess in the comments and I’ll return later with the answer!

~~~

We were surprised to discover this exotic-looking tree is a North American native! It’s a catalpa, but we must admit we are only guessing it’s the Northern Catalpa, Catalpa speciosa, because of where we live. It’s in a yard, and you humans tend to plant things out of their range for their flowers.

Catalpa flowers

Nice ones, huh? These flower panicles–fancy name for the flower cluster Miz Flora says–are rather showy and the tree is rather pretty, if given the right amount of room to grow.

Catalpa tree

It also has the coolest hanging seed pods in the fall, which hang on for a long time.

Catalpa seed pods

Did you notice the huge, heart-shaped leaves? They make an excellent rain shelter for wildlife, but more importantly they are the sole food of another butterfly! The caterpillars of the catalpa sphinx moth eat them and may even completely clear out the leaves of a single tree.

Catalpa tree underneath

Clearly, we need more catalpa trees out there!