Its getting warmer this weekend and there is ever more about. I took time when Junior was napping to wander down to the pond edge and across the street to the little park area. Amongst other beasts was the first large tick of the year crawling on my pants when I was done. There will be more and they, with the mosquitoes, are the bane of my life. Every time I go off into the longer grass chasing whatever exciting bug catches my eye I have to spent the next hour checking for unwanted passengers. I didnt photograph the tick because this is a family blog and the caption wouldn't have been suitable for a family audience. Nasty little buggers !
Other, more welcome additions Saturday were...
An immature male Callico Pennant. His yellow colouration will change to red as he matures. Right now the only way to tell him from the female is the pattern of spots on the wings. Females dont have the big spots at the wing tips. Not one we see in huge numbers and I only got off the one shot before he was off. I saw quite a few species without getting a decent shot, Eastern Pondhawks, Carolina Saddlebags and a couple of unidentified Darners possibly Swamp Darners.
Skippers have started appearing in numbers at last. This one I think is a female Sachem Skipper but I still await a confirmation from experts at BugGuide. Too many species and so many of them too similar to be sure. I've 9 species recorded in the garden alone. There are dozens recorded for Virginia.
The Eastern Comma Polygonia comma is quite similar to the Comma I knew back in the UK. The coloration and the distinctive white mark on the under hind wing are very much the same. But the commas here arent so strikingly 'ragged' in the wing shape.
There will be many more and better Eastern Tailed Blues this year but this female was the first one I managed to get close enough to. A female as the upper wings are brown,. the male's are deep blue Hands and knees job as ever, possibly where I picked up the tick. Very skittish and the size of my little finger nail it turned out that this one had a tear in the hind wing but its here anyway. If I have good pictures of a species I tend to get very picky. Scruffy bugs need not apply.
A tiny little spider I havent identified. I might be able to with some help, but it wasnt an ideal angle. I love the hairs on the legs in the shot though. I guess she's going to grow into them.
This one had already grown. The green thing is a giant bubble wand and its 2 1/2 inches across, so that a pretty sizeable Nursury Web Spider Pisaurina mira . I found her in the garage while looking for tent pegs.
Last but not least and not from yesterday is this close-up of the Black Swallowtail caterpillar featured last week. I went to take a final pic before it went to pupate but I was a little late. Its off somewhere in the yard as a pupa and in about a week from now there will be a new Black Swallowtail. There will be lots more chances to shoot larva, pupa and adult as the summer goes on. Last year we 'raised' something like 50 in the herbs on the deck. I'll keep you posted.