Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Some Assorted Garden Residents

Whenever I can remember to do it, I like to bring my camera with me out to the garden. There's always something interesting hanging around, and so many of these little creatures are just amazing when you look at them up close. Here's a small sampling of the creatures I've met in my garden over the past couple of weeks!

Cabbage White butterflies (an introduced species) are basically always hanging around, especially with all the cabbage-family plants I'm growing this year. These butterflies are quite pretty, but their progeny would quickly eat all my kale if I didn't regularly pick them off:

Here's said progeny on said kale, just before removal; tiny ridged eggs:

And fat fuzzy caterpillars:

Sorry guys, you're not allowed here; I want to eat some of the kale, too.

Several of these small and intricately-costumed cobweb spiders (possibly Theridion frondeum) have shown up under the kale leaves as well, and I'm happy to have them stay:

Another spider species currently maintaining webs in several spots in my garden, however, takes the prize for most beautiful arachnid. I can't get over the colorful mosaic on the underside of this Orchard Orbweaver (Leucauge venusta):

I thought at first that this visiting butterfly was a Silver-spotted Skipper (a common species around here), but it turns out to be another skipper entirely, a Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades):

That white patch extending to the edge of the hind wing is a distinguishing feature for this species. Cool! Thanks for stopping by, new-to-me butterfly.

This Ornate Snipe Fly (Chrysopilus ornatus) lit up a recent cloudy day with its shiny gold costume, and it did a pretty convincing wasp impression when it flew:

A couple of these funny-looking treehoppers (genus Ceresa) have been prowling around on the pea plants. Nice eyes and horns, little bug!

When I was out in the garden about a week ago, a couple of bold Black-capped Chickadees came right down to pluck bits of twine from the pea trellis. Of course I didn't have my telephoto lens with me, so even though they were just feet away, a wider photo will have to do:

I guess they were building a nest, and I'm happy to contribute materials!

Finally, I think this little Greater Angle-wing Katydid (Microcentrum rhombifolium) nymph hatched from the eggs on my porch while I wasn't looking. I often see these creatures in our yard in the summer, but I've never seen one so young before. What a lovely and delicate little thing, with antennae so long they won't even fit in the frame:

I'll keep watching for other interesting local creatures as the summer continues. It's a lot of fun to see who's living in your yard!

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