Monday, June 22, 2015

Leaf Hoppers and Tree Choppers

We had what I would consider a fairly mild storm this week, but it was enough to knock down one of our giant dead trees.  It fell into the pond, taking another tree with it.

It's hard to tell from the pictures, but the tree was huge!  It stretched almost the entire width of the pond.  The first few days, the beavers worked on the bark.  Beavers love to eat bark and the soft layer beneath.

Today, we woke up to discover the tree completely gone! 

How they sectioned and hauled off that gigantic tree in one night is a mystery to me.  They are amazing creatures!

Speaking of amazing creatures, Todd found an ant migration this week.  It was at dusk, and millions of ants were carrying eggs from a depressed spot in the ground to an existing colony location by the side of the house, a good 50 feet distance.  Since the light was so poor, I couldn't get a clear picture, but here is the general idea:

We were transfixed by the sight of these tiny, determined creatures, marching with a single-minded focus to their new home.  Today, they swarmed.  This well-established colony of ants produced sexually mature males, which will mate with the flying queen when she appears, and then die. 

More amazing...this ant dragging a lacewing insect three times its size, and so quickly that I was barely able to get a shot!

Spiders are out now, too.  This common orb weaver secures her prey...

...before climbing up to repair a tear in her web.

A beautiful yellow garden spider hangs on our back deck.

 It's an ingenious place to set up shop, right by a set of deck lights.  There's a never-ending supply of moths and other small flying insects.

We're hearing cicadas now, and seeing their discarded shells, too.

I don't usually see post-molt adults, but one attached itself to our sun room screen yesterday:

Right in line with the flowering of our front sun perennials...

...come the leaf hoppers.  Aren't they beautiful?

Here's a velvet buck in the yard, so called for the fuzzy growth on his antlers that will shed by fall.

And there he goes!

Finally, some sad news.  This is the last  picture of Little Miss's cardinal chick.

He was growing rapidly and feeding frequently, and then one day, he was just gone.  It was much too early for him to leave the nest, and I didn't find him on the ground beneath it, so I can only conclude that he fell prey to one of his many predators (snakes, owls, raccoons, etc.). 

I'll keep an eye out for other interesting things around the yard.  There's always something going on.  Have a great week!

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