28th, 2014. Many years ago, we planted elaeagnus plants along the fence line to
form a windbreak. The plants were labeled as Elaeagnus umbellata but they look
more like Elaeagnus pungens with…
buds and flowers, and…
are blooming profusely at the moment. The
fragrance from the flowers is almost overwhelming.
As much as these bushes are
reputed to be invasive, they provide a rich source of nectar for honey bees at
a time when sources of food are sparce. The bushes hum with the sound of
hundreds of bees swarming around them.
morning, however, I saw flashes of orange and thought they were Gulf
Fritillaries but suddenly realized I was looking at Monarch butterflies (Danaus
plixippus); there were at least four and, possibly, as many as six. They were
alternating between basking in the morning sun and feeding on the nectar from
much as the elaegnus get a bad rap for being invasive, it appears that these
plants may be providing an important source of food for these butterflies as
they migrate south to Mexico for the Winter.
seen the occasional Monarch in the woods during the Fall but never in the
numbers I saw this morning. This is the first time I’ve seen Monarchs on the
elaeagnus. Obviously I’m going to have to pay more attention to these bushes
during the Fall.
4th, 2014.We often see several does with their fawns in the field between our
house and the road. One doe had two fawns this year. They would spend the
afternoon in the field and I’d often see them move into the woods at dusk. I
was so used to seeing the fawns with their spots that I was somewhat taken
aback when I saw them on this particular afternoon and saw that they no longer had any
spots. They were young adults.
of the fawns.
haven’t seen them recently. Maybe they read that the deer hunting season
was about to begin (October 15th) and they should lay low for a few months?
4th, 2014. This Black and Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) set up ‘house’
on a sunny, southwest-facing window pane on the house where she appears to have
web is in the lower left-hand pane.
has kept the web repaired. This image was captured on October 4th.
late in the season, the web has undergone some wear and tear.
early October, I was a little surprised to see an egg case in the upper
left-hand corner of this pane followed by another in the upper left-hand corner
of the upper left pane.
she has a third egg case located next to the second egg case. These egg cases are in a shaded, less exposed location compared with the first egg case.
to the Museum of Zoology at the University of Michigan, this species breeds
once and may produce one or more, although rarely 4, egg cases each containing
300 to 1400 eggs. In areas with cold winters, the eggs may hatch in the late
Summer or Fall and the young remain dormant until Spring.
will be interesting to see if we can observe the young as they start the next
generation of this intriguing spider.
12th, 2014. Adult male and female Evening Grosbeaks (Pheucticus
ludovicianus) arrived at our bird feeders at the end of April.
The male was shy and would land in the
branches of a tree near the platform feeder. He came to the platform feeder a
few times and then disappeared.
female wasn’t as shy and came to the sunflower tube feeder several times a day
for almost two weeks.
are a little south of their breeding range so they were migrating north at the
on October 12th, we saw two young males, one at the sunflower feeder
another at the platform feeder.
stayed around for a couple of days and then were gone, migrating south to the
Caribbean or Central/South America. It’s a little sad that they aren’t resident
here but it was nice to see them on their way through.
6th, 2014.J spotted this small spider on a dead branch of a pine tree near the
house. Crab spiders may change color to blend in with their surroundings but
this little guy wasn’t doing so well in this regard. In spite of the fact that
it’s yellow, we identified it has a Whitebanded Crab Spider (Misumenoides
spiders belong to three genera within the Family Thomisidae:
Misumena, Misumenoides, and Mecaphesa. These
genera may be identified by the arrangement of the eyes as shown in Bug Guide.
Misumenoides: All four anterior (front) eyes are about
the same size. When viewed from the front, and a little above, only six eyes
are visible. The posterior laterals are facing sideways and are on the ends of
a long horizontal transverse ridge across the face. Eric says "Misumena
has essentially no black markings (while Misumenoides may have some), which is
how you can tell them apart in the field most easily."