Sunday, August 28, 2011

Back Again (What was all the fuss about?)

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

Thankfully, here at Chez Banished at least, Hurricane Irene proved anticlimactic. We've had more and worse winds and rain from Nor'Easters in the last couple of years. The main drag with this one was that it was moving so slowly. It took about 16 hours to move through from start to finish. It passed us as a Cat. 1 Hurricane but all the hurricane force winds were on seaward side and our winds likely topped out at steady 60 gusting 70s. And it rained for 12 hours or so but it was hardly ever what youd call torrential. We didnt even lose power except for around 5 minutes Saturday morning.

I have to say I was much cheered when the mailman came at about 3 P.M. Whilst "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" is not the official motto of the postal service, its cribbed from Heroditus and was carved on the facade of a New York Post Office, they certainly didnt let a hurricane mess with their appointed rounds yesterday. I'll have to take back all the rude things I said when postcards from Maine got to the U.K. before they got home. Sorry chaps!

So I can get back to normal posts. It's not that there wasnt anything to see last week, I was just a little busy.

That beautiful thing at the top of the page is a Zebra Swallowtail. I have to admit a slight cheat there as it was taken in the new butterfly house at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. However it is a local species, its just not local to my yard. I have to find some Paw Paw to plant. I've snapped them before around Williamsburg and I'm told they are all over the place in Chesapeake. But apparently  nobody is growing PawPaw anywhere around me.

I was dead-heading the Basil on the deck, well actually snipping the flower stalks out altogether, before vacation. But it flowered freely while we were away and it seems that while everyone knows Goldfinches love thistle seeds they are also very fond of Basil seeds too. This one has been around most mornings. Maybe he has some Italian back in his family tree.

Regulars know of my growing interest in the huge range of grasshoppers to be found round and about. But that stretches to include the Katydids. I don't have a species on this one yet but its some member of the genus Scudderia.

And remember our mystery object of a couple of weeks ago? The Southern Dog Day Cicada (Tibicen davisi) larval  skin? Well thats another one on the left.  Question is what the hell is that one on the right? I've found 3 of those giants recently. Maybe they are the ones that really do sound like overworked circular saws.

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