Motionless Monday

Hey there,

After our little accident yesterday, perhaps we should say how much we do appreciate that you humans put forth a lot of effort to grow flowers. We know there are days when some of you like your garden statues a bit more than actual wildlife appearing–especially if they are these guys!

 

Have a great week!

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One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

If you came home and found your gardening this state, what would you think had happened?

Post your guesses the comments and I’ll check back later!

~~~

You don’t suppose…

No. We have been found out! A reader made a correct guess–this, um, accident isn’t because a goldfinch landed on the top of a sunflower. It was, er…us.

 

Yes, we squirrels like sunflower seeds, too. They are a great source of protein and we just can’t seem to help ourselves!

Sorry to make you humans angry! Ms. Flora says to say they are a pretty flower!

 

Butterflies on your flowers means…

…caterpillars eating your their leaves. All around our neighborhood, we’re seeing eaten leaves.

On burdock.

On the coneflowers.

On pink turtleheads.

On dogbane.

And upon closer inspection, we found a few caterpillars, too.

The dogbane caterpillars were quite conspicuous in the protective webbing at the ends of the leaves. We’re not sure if this is Fall Webworm. They have the yellow body and the dots, so we’ll have to keep watch and see if they develop the hairs as the younger caterpillars grow and shed their skin.

Underneath a coneflower leaf, we discovered a clump of black spiky caterpillars hanging out.

After doing some looking around, Ms. Flora determined that they are likely Silvery Checkerspot caterpillars–which we’ve seen on the flowers! So that’s a good match. Check out Growing the Home Garden’s website for some photos of them as they grow.

Something concerns us though. Some of the flower gardeners who commented were ready to ‘get rid of’–kill–the caterpillars on their flowers. Sad. The way the insect populations are plummeting these days with pesticide use, nature needs every caterpillar out there. Many of these caterpillars never make it into their chrysalis because they are picked off by wrens and other alert, insect-eating birds to feed their young. We squirrels also, ahem, don’t mind a few insect snacks.

We hope a few more of you humans might be willing to accept a few bug-eaten plants to keep our world thriving.

Thirsty Thursday

Last week I prompted you folks to leave out water for your wild neighbors, but I forgot to mention that we squirrels have noticed that some of you humans are getting creative.

This here is a new style of watering dish for bees and other insects. The idea is that they won’t fall in and not be able to climb out. So far, we haven’t seen any insects watering here. And there are plenty in our neighborhood, before you ask.

Have our readers tried this? Have you seen insects at it? Please let us know!

Thirsty Thursday

Folks, this is Ol’ Wally here with you today. This old squirrel is feeling a mite better because the heat in the Washington D.C. area isn’t as bad this week. However, we’re getting less rain, and that means yes, it really is Thirsty Thursday.

 

Do your wild friends a kindness and set out a dish of water.

High or low, or both. Different critters have different feelings of comfort approaching these things. It doesn’t even need to be fancy!

It you see a neighborhood tree with wilted leaves, set a sprinkler on it.

No reason not to share the resources with every being!

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Nutmeg and I have been lurking over at one of those nature identification sites. We don’t know everything, but we like to look stuff up. Here’s a butterfly that was giving folks a hard time. Do you know what it is? Or even what it isn’t?

What it isn’t in nature is always a good start for identification!

We’ll check your ‘it’s nots’ in the comments and be back later with an identification!
~~~

This butterfly seems totally misnamed! It’s the Red-spotted Purple, a woodland butterfly that is trying to mimic the Pipevine swallowtail. It does that on he underside, which we unfortunately didn’t catch a photo of. But this entomology site at the University of Florida has a good shot, as does Butterflies and Moths of North America.

We don’t have photos of all the black butterflies our area, but here are a few. The Red-spotted Purple definitely isn’t a swallowtail–and there are several different dark swallowtails in our area of the Mid-Atlantic for it to mingle with.

The dark form of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

The Black Swallowtail, with has orange spots with black dots in the center on the inside edge of the hind wing.

And the Spicebush Swallowtail, with blue crescents along the outside edge of the hind wing.

Be on the lookout for these differences–you may be seeing more different kinds of butterflies than you realize!