Friday, June 13, 2014

An Eclectic Mix Of Spring Things

A Seasonal Mix Of All Kinds Of Stuff

Springtime-ish Photographs

Redbud Tree

Here is a jumble of a few visions of spring.  This will be a simple blog post and I won't talk much - "what a relief!", you say - LOL.

Bleeding Heart

This looks like a member of the Reduviid family - Wheel bugs are a member and you may be familiar with them.

Bright blue damselfly.  The wings are folded above the back unlike those of dragonflies which are
normally help straight out or downward.  Damselflies are also much smaller and their eyes are like
bubbles on the side of their head.  

This is a fungus that lives inside dead and dying trees and branches.  What we see on the outside (this picture)
is called a fruiting body - it produces the spores which, like seeds, will spread the fungus.  A common name
is shelf fungus, or sometimes bracket or plate fungus.  This is also called "Hen Of The Woods".

Japanese Iris are small and elegant.  They have no
"beard" like the larger, more showy irises.  These
grow in clumps and bloom in a mass of this
gorgeous purple/blue color.

This is one of a very few daffodil plants that grow in our yard.  They were here when we
moved in over 46 years ago, and they are lovely!  It is an old-fashioned
kind of daffodil that we love.

Baby groundhogs (woodchucks, grundsows, whistle pigs) out for a walk with Mom.  They were right near my feet
and totally unafraid.

We are seeing more baby toads this year than we have for a few years.  That's good!  They eat bugs:>)

The daddy goose (gander) is on the left and carefully watching me and all else that is near to the goslings.   Both he
and Mom would attack if their personal space was invaded and they perceived danger to the little ones.  I stayed well
back.  These are not tame geese, not the non-migratory kind that tolerate people.  These are wild.

We have Baltimore Orioles in our woods every year but they stay in the canopy of the trees and are hard to spot.  This female was in the apple tree (probably finding bugs) and hopping about so quickly I couldn't line up a decent photo.
Just before she flew of she did this.  I swear she was "Flippin' the bird" at me and laughing:>)

The Unami Creek

This is a darker morel mushroom.  Morels can vary
to some degree in color and shape

This is a light colored Morel mushroom.  Both
examples grow right near our house in Spring.


Little Wood Satyr butterfly
These are small, inconspicuous butterflies that flit around at the edge of the woods enjoying the dappled sunshine.
They rarely sit still, but when they do land it's generally in a sunny spot.
I just took this picture a couple days ago and haven't ID'd either the bug or the fungus that appears to be responsible for the gall on this plant.  It's a bug I haven't noticed before - colorful, eh?
The Eastern Chipmunk is a ground squirrel. They are, perhaps, one
of the most recognized wild animals in our area.  Always perky, always
moving, they are a favorite:>)
Common Snapping Turtle
These guys have a lousy reputation but are, in fact, not that bad although I wouldn't mess with them.  In the water they are not aggressive, but on land, where they feel vulnerable, they are dangerous.  That neck can stretch all the way to their hind feet and the strength of those jaws can take off a finger.  When it's time to lay eggs or go find new territory, you can see them crossing roads.  People seem to either try to hit them (NO!) or try to help them (NO!).  If you attempt to pick it up you can be badly bitten.  If you get it to bite on a stick and drag it to safety, that dragging action can scrape them and open areas for deadly infections to sicken the animal.  Either shepherd it across the road or leave it alone but be safe, whatever you do.  They are opportunistic eaters and will dine on carrion and various living things, like fish.  They lay in the mud on the bottom waiting for unsuspecting prey to come by then -- SNAP!  Breathing is easy - just stretch that loooong neck up to the surface of the water and stick out your nose:>)  This old mossy-back shows how algae grows on their shells.
Woodland snail
Bird seed thief!  Also suet thief and peanut thief!  She is hungry because she has a family to feed.
Raccoons are excellent mothers:>)  This one was really relaxing during this meal.

The Six-spotted Tiger Beetle is a fierce hunter - BIG JAWS for grabbing and holding on to their prey.  The iridescent
color is gorgeous!  Most appear green with white spots and a blue-ish underside.  The angle of light made this guy look amazingly blue.

Jewelweed is a wildflower that LOVES wet soil but can grow where it is only moderately damp.  They are related to our garden Impatiens, grow a couple feet high, and form clusters of plants with these pretty green leaves with the orchid-like flowers.  There is mountain lore that says if you rub this plant on your skin when you've been exposed to Poison Ivy it will make the rash less severe.  I've tried it and cannot verify that this is true.  That being said, if you are out in the woods with no other option - rub the plant on your skin if you're exposed.  It won't hurt and who knows??? It may help.

Lichen on a fallen log

Hostas grow well in our locale.  They like the rich, moist soil and light shade in our yard, and the flowers are lovely.  Most people grow hostas for their leaves and the leaves are wonderful.  Some varieties have immense leaves, some look almost blue, some are variegated.  If you have a kind of shady spot that seems to be a problem - try hostas:>)  One caveat - deer consider hostas to be fine dining.  I spray with Liquid Fence to save them and it works.

This is one of many beetle types called a "Blister Beetle".  If handled they can exude a substance that gives some people blisters.  Most are flower-eaters.

Ailanthus webworm moth on Ironweed

Above - Falcate Orange Tip Butterfly.  They fly in May and then are gone until next year.

Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly on Buttonbush.

Slime molds are amazing things and they are more like amoebas (simple, one-celled animals) or protoplasm (the clear, almost jelly-like living substance in cells) than fungi.  They can move and find food.  They have a chemical way of calling a bunch of slime milds together to be fruitful and multiply, and they look very different at different stages of development.

Chocolate Slime Mold in Fruiting stage

Close Up of Chocolate Slime Mold in Fruiting Stage

These bracket fungi are sometimes called Dryad's Saddle.  The one on the right is more than a foot across.

Apple Blossoms

Hypericum Hidcote

 This is a flowering Multiflora Rose, an invasive species that is everywhere.  They are lovely, smell wonderful, but take over an area before you can blink.

Spirea with a golden bug:>)

A farm down the road has a mixture of milk cows and beeves.  I love seeing them so happy in the tall grasses
of their field; they look so content:>)  They are my BFFs (beef friends forever)

Male Indigo Bunting - glorious color!  

Down another road is a wooded area that once was a farm.  Nothing is left of the old homestead except pieces of stone walls and wisteria - that's right, wisteria.  This is what happens when the vine is left to it's own devices and left to grow unchecked.  The beauty of the plant is undeniable, and the perfume it releases onto each breeze is heavenly, but it is EVERYWHERE!

I haven't run out of photos yet, and I'm a lifetime away from running out of words, so we'll meet again next Friday.

As always, I thank you for making time to visit and read the blog:>)  Have a great week!