We hear them in the trees. We see them fly by. But more so, we see the skins they’ve left behind.
From all angles!
This little guy interrupted my nap…and I remembered it’s mystery day!
What is he?
Check back with you later!
This little Spring Azure butterfly–about a half inch across–can vary in it’s gray to whitish coloring, but the underwings are usually gray with darker markings. They might have marks along the edges or not. The females are the same coloring on top, but the males are a bright blue. If they are sitting–which is even hard to catch them doing!–the wings are up, so the blue or gray upper wings are mostly seen in flight–and they are quick!
We’ve noticed the Spring Azures flying in our neighborhood for years, but only looked them up this year. The adults like the nectar of Dogbane, which we have nearby, and the caterpillars feed on the leaves of spirea…which we also have! So we squirrels will be checking for eaten leaves this summer and reporting back!
Cicadas! Are they Brood VI? Stragglers? What brood they are depends on where you are! Head on over to check out the speculation at Cicada Mania!
You humans are trying to figure out which brood, meanwhile, they make good eating!
Beautiful, isn’t it? We feature this beautiful member of the swallowtail butterfly group each year because in a week of hard-to-find nature letters, it’s a staple. But it’s also harder to find this butterfly. Its caterpillars eat only one food, the leaves of the Common Paw Paw, Asimina triloba.
This understory tree lives with its roots in wet soil, along streams and rivers.
At least those leaves are huge–10 to 12 inches long and 4-6 inches wide at the middle.
The dark red flowers bloom in the spring and turn into a fruit lumpy with large seeds in the fall. Maybe you can find a tree with caterpillars feeding on it this year.
We’ve had a great time posting this year’s Blogging From A to Z Challenge! Thanks to our many readers for joining us for a look at nature in suburbia. We hope it helps you to enjoy nature around your home!
Yes, we missed U day yesterday. We’ll chalk it up to three days of rain! No squirrel wants to be out in that! Not mentioning the procrastination that went on the day before because U is an exceptionally hard letter to find in nature.
So in the interest of saving time, we’ll repeat a past Blogging From A to Z Challenge post, one you humans might have missed in nature:
This moth sits calmly on tree bark, blending in with its upper wings of gray–up until it feels threatened! Then it flashes those underwings of bright orange…enough to scare even the hardiest squirrel–*cough* Hickory *cough*–off a branch.
Go looking for them if you are bored!
Specifically, the American Painted Lady butterfly!
You might see this beauty already. Painted Ladies migrate north in the spring from their wintering grounds in the Southwest. It’s one of the most widespread butterflies North America, so definitely look for Painted Ladies this summer. And you may need to look twice, because the underside of the wings is patterned differently from the topside.
Pretty cool, huh? Their populations vary from year to year, and scientists don’t know why. They do not migrate back in the fall, so die with the first frosts.
When it’s a stick insect!
Can you believe that’s what human scientists call these? We kits grew up calling them walking sticks, but when I was doing a bit of research, I discovered you humans also run those words together: walkingstick.
As much as we are in trees, stick insects are good at camouflaging themselves, and move soooo slowly that we squirrels don’t see them that much.
“We’re too busy!” Hickory shouts, his words garbled by an acorn.
Still, I know what he’s saying, because he says it every day. Luckily, one of our human readers saw this stick insect away from a tree and was able to catch a photo of it. (Thank you!) Kind of fun to see how their legs each bend at different angles and the antenna fold to hide the head and make the bug even longer. Great disguise!
This morning we happened by those Passion Flower plants again and look what we saw!
The Monarch was close to emerging. We got a few acorns hunted down and by the time we came back, the butterfly had broken out of her chrysalis.
She hung there while her wings expanded. Look at the fluid that dripped off of her.
Another time we ran by, she had moved into the open and was spreading her wings.
That’s how we knew this was a girl–no spots on her hind wings.
It’s a great feeling to see one be able to succeed at making it to the butterfly stage!