Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mantids in Abundance

The warmer weather today prompted me to begin cleaning flower beds of their winter mess. I came across 8 Chinese Mantid egg cases, like the one pictured here. Seems I will have no shortage of large praying mantids this coming summer. I hope to be able to see the young emerge, I will try to watch them closely this spring. I may even bring one inside to see if it will hatch for me.
Today's unseasonably warm weather brought several species out of hiding (or hibernation) This bee landed on a bowl of scraps that was waiting to be dumped into the field. I went in and brought out some honey and drizzled a little onto the edge of the bowl, this little lady immediately went to it and began lapping it up as if she was starving. She stayed with that honey for well over 20 minutes. I'm not sure if she is a honey bee or not, she looked different to me. One other bee landed on the bird feeder near me and I was able to get it to crawl onto my finger and it definitely was a honey bee, but this one I am unsure.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hummer's in the Clover

Near our home is a wonderful Conservation Area named Happy Holler. I spend a lot of time there walking around, sitting and reading and looking for insects to photograph. This wonderful Hummingbird Clearwing Moth buzzed by my head and went straight for the clover and other wildflowers that were still blooming late last September. After several tries I was able to get this photo. They are such lovely moths.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Death Comes too Soon

Last October I was wondering around my yard looking for what remaining insects that were brave enough or strong enough to have survived the hard freeze we had the previous night. The temps. were in the upper 60's and the sun was shining. I spotted numerous Asian Lady Beetles and Box Elder bugs on the south side of the house, a few hardier wasps and flies buzzing around. Then I came across this grasshopper resting on the side of a tree in our front yard, I approached him and he continued to sit still, I snapped a few pictures and moved in closer and still he didn't move. After advancing on him to the point of being a mere few inches from him I got suspicious. I reached out and touched him and discovered this poor little fellow didn't survive the freeze and apparently froze in place. Morbid or Fascinating? Not sure....but definitely Mother Nature in action.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Late one evening last summer (August), my husband and I were looking for praying mantids in our yard instead we came across many orb weavers like the ones here. Seemed as if their webs were everywhere. Many of the webs contained a large female and a smaller male or males in some cases all vying for the females attention. The pair pictured here were quite taken with each other. Their mating dance went on for quite some time. He would run down the web towards her and some vigorous toe tapping would take place, then he would run away to the edge of the web only to return a few seconds later and repeat the process. In this picture you can see that he finally acccomplished his mission and managed to get away with his life as well.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Giant Robber Fly

This image was taken in September at Happy Hollar Lake Conservation Area, usually these flies are very hard to approach, they have excellent eye sight and tend to fly at the slightest disturbance, but this one sat on this stick for quite some time and let me walk right up to it and take pictures for well over a minute before flying off.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Beautiful Winter Day

Today's weather was unbelievable for February, my birthday was yesterday and I couldn't have asked for better temperatures to enjoy it. We hiked yesterday at Parma Woods in Kansas City and then today we drove to our farm in Fillmore,MO and spent some time outside taking pictures of birds; the only insects spotted were a few small flies and one larger fly that dive bombed me as I was looking out the pickup window. Wish we could have weather like this more often this time of year.