Thirsty Thursday

Folks,

We squirrels are leaping from dry branch to dry branch that we are finally out of the rain! Time to enjoy the sun!

But watch out for those streams that are filled to the brim!

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It’s World Turtle Day!

Please send kind thoughts and protection to turtles today–well, we ask that you do that for all wildlife every day…but I’m sure you get the idea!

Here are some of our local residents:

Eastern Box Turtle

Eastern Painted Turtle

Common Snapping Turtle

Red-Eared Slider

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.

X is for Eastern BoX Turtle

We admit it! We cannot find a decent ‘X’ for this year’s challenge. Like with ‘U’ we are resorting to the name. But that shouldn’t offend many people because the Eastern BoX Turtle is a well-loved animal in our area.

These fellows are docile dweller on the forest floor, hiding quite well with their camouflaged shells and eating everything from slugs and worms, to berries and mushrooms, and even the poisonous mayapple if it isn’t consumed at exactly the peak of ripeness, which a box turtle can tell by smell.

That said, they aren’t as smart of as fast as some squirrels we know. In our ever-increasingly busy neighborhoods they still try to cross the roads.

Please give them a ‘brake’ if you see one, and stop to help them across the road. It’s sad to see these ancient creatures declining because of our technology.

V is for Variegated Fritillary

This orange and black checkered butterfly is sometimes mistaken for a monarch, but a second look usually tells you humans that this species is a lighter orange. Then you wonder what it is, and can’t get close enough to tell because it’s easily scared off–in fact, this fritillary’s genus name Euptoieta comes from the Greek word euptoietos meaning “easily scared.”

Variegated Fritillaries mostly lay their eggs on the Passionflower plant, but if you keep a suitably diverse lawn–what Miz Flora has heard humans call messy–you may see them on violets as well–another ‘V’ in nature for our Blogging From A to Z Challenge!

Their Speyeria fritillary relatives, like the Great Spangled Fritillary, seek out only violets.

T is for Tree Frog

These woodland frogs with their sticker toes are cute little fellows, hard to see and surprise you humans who happen upon them. They surprise even us, because on tree bark they look like, well, tree bark.

And for our Motionless Monday wildlife statue, another frog that’s blending in with his surroundings.

Have a great week!

R is for Red-Spotted Purple

Isn’t this a beautiful butterfly? We squirrels confused it with the spicebush swallowtail, but the red-spotted purple is far more iridescent. The butterfly will be most anywhere in the eastern North America that the host plants for its caterpillars are found. Some of those food plants are leaves such as cherry, popular, oak, hawthorn, birch, willow and shadbush.

P is for Pileated Woodpecker

He’s the largest woodpecker in North America, and the loudest. Trust us squirrels, we know!

The holes one of these guys can make can turn a decent hollow tree into something even a squirrel feels exposed in.

And they are huge competition at the bird feeders. You humans are always thrilled to see one, but us…not so much.

O is for the Orangestriped Oakworm

Oh, you didn’t expect that one did you?

This little caterpillar is found among, yes, oak trees in August, munching his way through the leaves. They especially like red oaks and can easily denude large portions of the canopy, cropping plenty of grass along the way.

And then what? They make their cocoons and become a Anisota senatoria moth…poor little thing doesn’t even have a common name, and nor do we have a photo. But it’s a pretty little orange moth–check out the page on Butterflies and Moths of North America.

N is for Nectar-Feeders!

And by this we don’t mean the human devices that hold sugar water–no, we mean the animals that feed on nectar!

Yes, it’s honeybees

and solitary bees

and other insects besides.

Butterflies,

and moths that we don’t see because they feed on night-blooming flowers.

And even this confusing little hummingbird moth–who looks and behaves like a hummingbird, but is actually an insect. Speaking of hummingbirds…

Yes, they are nectar-feeders and will come to your nectar feeders.

So feed them both ways, and enjoy them in your garden!

Of course, we can’t leave without our Motionless Monday–here’s a different version of a wildlife statue today!

Have a great week!