Little Butterflies

Hickory and I saw a little movement in the plants, and really doubted that it was anything but the wind. Then, there it was again.

Have you humans ever tried to get a good look at these tiny butterflies?They’re about the size of my paw and hardly sit still. That’s a zinnia leaf it’s on, to give you an idea. Luckily, Hickory spotted the bright red band running across it, and that made the identification easy–it’s a red-banded hairstreak!

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Still around!

Keep up with your watering! Caterpillars are still munching away on your plants, like this monarch caterpillar. He might have gotten a bit lost in an azalea–likely looking for a place to hang his chrysalis–but you can see he just came from the milkweed leaves beyond.

Eastern Chipmunks

As you humans know, we squirrels climb trees and live in them. Chipmunks, which some humans see as just a smaller version of a squirrel, also climb trees.

Many a time, Hickory and I have been inching our way along the branch of a wild cherry or a mulberry to grab some ripe fruit, only to find a small–and lighter–chipmunk already there and chowing down.

What we don’t understand, is why chipmunks don’t seem to run up a tree to safety, like we do. Have you humans ever witnessed them climbing to safety, instead of trying to outrun a predator?

And in local flower-bird relationships…

We have long admired the flowers our neighborhood humans have chosen to plant–with decided favoritism to native wildflowers!

Today, Hickory, Miz Flora and I leaped over to a new garden bed they put in this spring. Miz Flora though it was quite resourceful–though long-overdue–that they split their coneflowers and planted the splits in a new location, adding to the beds.

The plants don’t have the fullness of the original bed, but for only being in six weeks or so, they are doing well. Except…why are some of the flowers missing petals?

“Wait!” Hickory chitters. “I want to save that for mystery day.”

We squirrel-grappled with this–which meant lots of running around tree trunks–but finally I won out…mainly because Miz Flora spoke up!

The petals are being plucked off by finches as they eat the seeds on that side of the flower.

Miz Flora asked: “I want you to pose this question to our regular readers: Have you ever observed finches eat flower seeds while they are most definitely still green?”

We are confused, maybe because squirrels don’t eat green acorns.

Y is for Yellow Bear Caterpillar

Sometimes known as the Yellow Woolly Bear, this fuzzy caterpillar is striking with his furry spines. He is somewhat smaller than the black and orange woolly bear, but feeds on clover and grass so likely you’ve seen him at some point. After eating his fill and changing to the adult form, he’s known as the Virginia Tiger moth, a white moth that we don’t have a photo of, so here’s a resource at Butterflies and Moths of North America.