It is caterpillar season, and though I gave up trying to properly identify most of what I found creep-crawling around the garden in between rain showers, I feel certain each of these caterpillars knows just what to do, what to eat, and exactly what it is shaping up to become.
|Chevron Striped Whatchamacallit|
|TeeWeeny Tiny Yellow Thingie|
|Sphinx Moth Cat on Fennel|
An infestation of Colorado Potato Beetle larvae was alarmingly sudden, but fortunately close enough to the house to trigger my awareness and ongoing response. Once I realized the numbers I was dealing with, the soapy bath of death came into play, and I am optimistic I put a significant dent in this large but very localized population. I don't grow potatoes, but have been known to toss a sprouted tuber into the ground covers out back for the occasional flowers they provide. I'm not sure if one of those vines pulled these bad players into our beds, but lesson learned. I won't be so careless with future spud rejects - they will all go straight into the compost bin.
|Colorado Potato Beetle Larvae - two different hatches|
A new (to me) visitor recently was this master of mimicry. A Large Maple Spanworm Moth took refuge on the tiles close to our front door. I was out sweeping leaves away from the house and it would be hard to say who was more startled. Me, when the leaf I was sweeping literally flew across the porch, or this nocturnal moth, who figured it had secured a good spot to wait out the return of night.
Of course if I'm going to feature creatures that blend in, there's no escaping including these photo bombers.
Begging your indulgence, I must include what is for me an obligatory Honeybee on Opuntia blossom shot. Rain or shine, the flowers on the spineless opuntia are putting on quite the show this year. Given any reasonable break in the cloud cover, the bees are quick to take advantage.
Finally, the Poppa and Momma mockingbird who set up shop across the street have successfully fledged at least one baby this year. They have relaxed just a little, finally allowing most regular street traffic to pass unmolested.
There is one particular male squirrel that seemed to take pleasure in being chased, going out repeatedly and keeping a fairly precise distance ahead of his pursuers. Days of rain seem to have interrupted the antics, but I have a feeling this bird and that squirrel have formed a chase challenge bond that will be playing out all summer long.