Motionless Monday

Hey there!

More fun statues are appearing–including these fellows that we don’ see too often as wildlife statues!

Have a great week!

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One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

We’ve still got flowers around, and with no hard freeze, the insects are still visiting them.

Do you recognize this flower and / or the insect?

Give us a guessing the comments and I’ll pop back in to check your answers.

~~~

We had a correct guess today–this is a hoverfly (to the best of a squirrel’s knowledge about insects!) They are also known as syrphid flies, named from their family name, Syrphidae. Hoverfly tends to be an easier name to remember because it describes what they do–hover.

And they look so similar to bees! See, the black and yellow body is screaming Danger, get back! But the big eyes were a dead giveaway for Nutmeg  and I to figure out that this had to be a fly.

Hoverflies, in the adult fly form, eat nectar and pollen, feeding on wildflowers like these late-blooming asters. Since we are nearing that gruesome holiday that you humans love–Halloween–lets talk a bit about the larvae, which have a much more interesting feeding habits. Fly larvae are…do you remember? Maggots! Different species of the Syrphidae prey on other insects, very much like ladybugs eat aphids, while others eat decaying plants and animals, very much like vultures. That’s quite a family!

Time to insulate!

Brrr! Anyone else feeling the cold? Hickory and I spent the last few days adding to our leaf drays.

His isn’t exactly in the crook of a large branches, and I’ve not been sure the leaves would stay, but now he has a huge pile accumulated in that maple.

“But I’ve got it all lined with grass, and it’s warm,” he chitters. “You test your nest and I’ll test mine.”

Huh, he didn’t complain after last night’s dip to near freezing, so I’ll be around to check after the first big wind.

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Bees that aren’t honeybees can be quite confusing.

Give us a guess what you think this stunning insect is in the comments!

I’ll check back later with the answer.

~~~

We squirrels learned something today by questioning you humans about this wasp. This is a red and brown paper wasp (we gather that is a common, descriptive name!) and common in our area. Our mistake is that we always assumed paper wasps (these guys) made those giant oval paper nests that we find secreted in trees and other odd places.

 

 

Not so! These large, intimidating nests are made by hornets–either the black and white bald faced hornet, or the European hornet.

According to a wasp guide hosted by the Kentucky Pesticide Safety Program and the North Carolina Extension Service’s publication on Non-Honey Bee Stinging Insects in North Carolina, this particular paper wasp, with the brown spots on its abdomen, makes just the small, open, umbrella-type nest, with no covering.

 

 

If you read further, both articles do say that wasps are beneficial in nature, eating numerous pesky caterpillars that destroy crops. If a nest is in a non-hazardous area, consider leaving these natural predators alone to do their jobs!

Thirsty Thursday

Our fall days in Virginia haven’t turned too cool yet, but that doesn’t mean wildlife don’t miss the sunshine. With the rainy weather, and still more rain to come, we squirrels took off for a run to the pond.

Eastern Painted turtles were drying off even if there is no basking.

The Lilypad Forktails weren’t flying as much on cool, overcast days.

And maybe it’s good weather for you humans to look for cold-blooded wildlife. Even we squirrels saw some critters we can’t identify! (Know what this one is?)

Thirsty Thursday

Folks,

The ponds in our neck of the woods are bursting with plant life this time of the year.

Lily pads  and algae have grown across the open water, so much so that the water critters have forged paths through them.

Cattails and lizard tails line the edges.

And these yellow sunflowers that we didn’t have Miz Fora along to identify are prettying up the edges.

It’s nice to see a pond with good healthy plant cover across and around it! Lots of space and food for wildlife to live and access the water.