Posts Tagged 'plants'

Autumnal Flowers And Their Familiars

There’s only so much in bloom now.But there are still hungry insects.And insects that eat insects.The goldenrod smorgasbord.

This Used To Be Turf

A meadow, a-roaring with crickets. Just listening was enough to be get through all the terrible noise of the day, the terrifying state of the nation, the unending human assault on the planet’s life. Get thee to a meadow these early autumnal days! Bonus here is that this hillside in Green-Wood Cemetery was reclaimed from turfy grass, a veritable dead zone of lawn.

I want to send a sincerely heartfelt “thank you!” to contributors to Backyard and Beyond’s fundraising effort. I’m astonished and humbled that this was so successful, surpassing our goal. Take a bow gentle, generous readers:

(In reverse order of contribution.)
Two rows of eggs.

Two Butterflies

Milkweed Continues

Large Milkweed Bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) on common milkweed pod.

This I learned: a note in Evan’s NWF Field Guide to Insects and Spiders says this species has been used extensively in physiological experiments. Easy to raise, they were also used to test insecticides from the 1940s. Carolina Biological Supply sells them for uses in experiments “from biochemistry to behavior.”

My favorite among the McCain hagiographies was the ex-GOP operative — with second thoughts about her party’s direction now that it’s too late — who envisioned McCain joining Aretha Franklin in heaven’s “freshman” section! Pretty good ascension for a man who voted against MLK. Jr. Day, rarely saw a war or bloated defense budget he didn’t like, and tirelessly fought against sanctions against apartheid in South Africa.

Monarch Monday

Two plump Monarch caterpillars on some common milkweed. They looked ready for a transformation, or metamorphosis….Danaus plexippus, Asclepias syriaca.Nearby, an adult female seemed to be laying eggs. Here is one of the tiny things (I think). Will this egg open up to a caterpillar that becomes a butterfly that flies to Mexico this fall? The odds are against us, but you never know. Hope is a tiny egg on the underside of a leaf.

Corey Robin does an excellent job of defining socialism.

Second Magnolia

There’s a tendency in some of these exotic magnolias to bloom again in late summer.

Should be a few metaphors in this, wot?

A Patch of Mayapples

I’ve never seen so many Podophyllum peltatum fruits. This patch was up in the Finger Lakes region this past weekend.They aren’t quite ripe. When they are, they should smell “fruity” and weigh down the plants to the ground, according to Carol Gracie’s Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast. She also notes that an Asian Podophyllum species is harvested for cancer-fighting drugs — but not sustainably.Who eats this golfball-sized fruit? Turtles and deer. Whenever I see a wild fruit like this, I wonder if there were once other creatures who ate it, too.

Marine Park

Hot and fecund summer comes at you and doesn’t let up. My camera bursts with photos after a walk, an exploration, an adventure. Time barrels along, even though the humidity seems to want to slow it down. These are all from a trip three weeks ago to Marine Park on Brooklyn’s southern edge.A nice little example of the Spartina alterniflora and Geukensia demissa relationship.This dense wet muck soil would be anoxic without the fiddler crabs burrowing into it. They’re the third leg (claw?) of the salt marsh’s grass/mussel/crab trifecta.But be careful, little crabs, the Great Egret stalks at low tide.Even murkier, a Yellow-crowned Heron does the same.It’s also time for shorebirds to start thinking/feeling about heading south. This yellowlegs was grooming and resting. Greater, methinks, not Lesser.Overhead, fledgling Barn Swallows were being fed in mid-air. A half dozen take a break; there’s also a Tree Swallow at the top.The caterpillar here is probably destined for the next generation of Red-winged Blackbirds.



The post-truth reactionary regime is already going strong: half the states are lying about abortion. 

Sphex ichneumoneus

What a gorgeous wasp. Feeding on Monarda punctata, whose flowers are rather attractive, too.
Great Golden Sand-digger. As the common name suggests, they nest in solitary holes in the ground. Adults feed on nectar. The female provisions her young in these sandy nest caves with paralyzed Orthoptera: crickets, katydids, grasshoppers.The back of the thorax is hairy, too, something I’ve never noticed before.

This wasp is found from Canada down to South America. Here’s an abstract on nest site selection.

More reflections on Europe’s (and the world’s) loss of insect life.

“…today any liberalism which is not also radicalism is irrelevant and doomed.” John Dewey said that in the 1930s. His view of democracy, which he argued was only as strong as the people supporting it, is as timely as ever.

This Used To Be Lawn

“Now it’s all covered in flowers.”And grasses. Good riddance! This hillside in Green-Wood, near the 5th Avenue entrance, has been converted into meadow. From turf, fertilizer- and chemical- warfare dependent turf, nasty turf, to this riot of life. Yes, it’s “messy,” gloriously so! It’s only a tiny portion of the cemetery, of course. Too many people still want sterility around their dead, on the theory, I guess, that death is best for the dead?I hope that when they see this, pulsing with life, they’ll start thinking about remembering their loved ones with thoughts of life, of the future.

Great Golden Sand-digger Wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus) here on Spotted Beebalm Monarda punctata, a plant a-riot right now with pollinators. Some adult wasps, like this one, eat nectar.

Note, by the way, how heavily this Golden Sand-digger is pollen-dusted. Most wasps are hairless, or nearly so, but this species has golden hairs on the thorax.


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