Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

A Happy Halloween from chez Banished and especially zombie baby Tommy, or as Banished Jr. calls him 'chunky baby' 

The Banished Family's pumpkin lanterns, Mrs B's Medusa winning the prize without a doubt.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Dash of Colour

Updated 11/01/11

Its so much cooler this weekend. Not too further North in Maryland and Pennsylvania its actually been snowing. Not so chilly here and nice out in the sun after yesterdays rain.

Went out without too much hope today though and was pleasantly surprised by a couple of little jewels.

This is a little leafhopper, the Broad-Headed Sharpshooter (Oncometopia orbona)

I do wish the picture had been a little sharper but I only had time to grab a couple before the hopper hopped. Still they do catch the fantastic colour and texture. It looks like its made of copper and lapis and barely a half inch long. Brings to mind the mechanical vampire beetle of Del Toro's Cronos

Also jumping happily around in the warm grass on the bank down to the pond was this Meadow Katydid.

 I'm not sure of the species on this yet but I've posted one at BugGuide looking for guidance. Certainly no rush to snap this one though, she was happy to perch on my finger

BugGuide tells me that she is Orchelium agile, the Agile Meadow Katydid

There is such a variety of colours amongst the grasshoppers and katydids. Green and brown is just the start.  A couple of years ago we found this beauty in the yard. Not for nothing is it called the Handsome Meadow Katydid.

Halloween tomorrow and the Banished household has been carving pumpkins like crazy the last couple of days. I'm rather pleased with my own effort... Nosferatu. No I didnt design it but I did carve it without screwing it up. My best since 2004's Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Happy birthday Charles Ives, born today in 1874. The first truly American composer he alas took the celestial railroad in 1954, but his influence on  American music cannot be over estimated. And damn it the man didn't even do it for a living! He has to be up there at the top of the list of influential insurance men right alongside Franz Kafka. The Charles Ives Society has an excellent introductory biographical essay

In celebration, here is the composer himself playing the Third Movement 'The Alcotts' from his  Piano Sonata No.2 Concord Mass.1840-1860.

The four movements are Emerson, Hawthorne, The Alcotts and lastly, Thoreau in celebration of the Transcendentalists who made Concord their home in those years. For those wanting to know more then the man is very forthcoming in his Essays Before A Sonata
"These prefatory essays were written by the composer for those who can't stand his music—and the music for those who can't stand his essays; to those who can't stand either, the whole is respectfully dedicated."

There are many many recordings of the Concord Sonata out there but this one is special.

If you want something done right then do it yourself.

As you might gather, I am inordinately fond of the music of Charles Ives.

The weather has cooled dramatically and things are a little slow in the garden. Perhaps a weekend trip to Hoffler Creek is called for.
I'm suddenly wondering what the heck this blog is going to do all winter? 'Banished's Bugs That He Didnt Post At The Time'?
You have no idea how many pictures I shoot that you don't get to see.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Coolest Hat In Jazz

Nothing whatsoever to do with bugs but Thelonious Monk was born this day in 1917. Sometimes its just good to have some great music to share.
And no, there really was no finer headgear in jazz, Lester Young's pork pie included. The classic quartet with Charlie Rouse, John Ore & Frankie Dunlop.
Just enjoy.
Happy would have been 94th birthday Thelonious whereever you maybe.

Bum info, it was yesterday the 10th. Art Blakey today though!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bon Appetit

Saturday really was a beautiful day, fall is with us. And though temperatures are still warm for a Yorkshireman used to northern English Octobers mid 70s is very pleasant indeed with bright sun and gentle breezes.

My best find for the day was a happy accident. Many times I've found the otherwise 'invisible' by their effect on those around them. Its a little like finding astronomical objects by the gravitational effect on those visible bodies close to them. The bug equivalent is the fly, bee, wasp or damselfly thats sitting oddly, upside down or otherwise off kilter. Find one of those and there is usually a reason that you dont see at first glance. It can be a little Jagged Assassin bug with the fly impaled as it hides inside the flower or a camouflaged Crab spider.

Saturday it was a small dark bumblebee dangling seemingly by one leg in the rosemary bush. On closer investigation this was revealed as its being the main course for a mantis.

I can't help but wonder if this is the very same mantis Ive found in the same shrub 3 times now this year. In  May and again in July. Hmmmm if so she was missing half an antenna... do they grow back? It was fun to watch her eat the bee, especially once she'd removed a leg and was gnawing on it like you or I with a chicken drumstick.

I checked some of the other images and this one is missing half an antenna! So the odds are good that its at least the one from July if not neccesarily May.

This one also looked full of eggs I think, look at that darkening and swollen abdomen.

Banished Jr. found this beauty on his swing set.

A jumping spider one of the Salticidae and a big one too. Big enough to get a nice close-up on the head to see the eye arrangement and a hint o those green mouth parts. First time I saw that I thought I was seeing things.
We spent much of the day in the yard around our little shade bed under the big trees creating the Banished family traditional halloween graveyard. 
Welcome one and all!

I really love what Mrs B did with Tommy the zombie baby this year. The ossiary/skullheap is inspired I think and sets the little rugrat off to perfection.

Little Tommy at sunset.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Halloween Bug II

Though its so much cooler right now, there are still bugs out there. This one is a 
Bug, the Large Milkweed Bug  Oncopeltus fasciatus. Another orange and black one with a halloween feel but this one is a plant feeder and not an assassin. 

And as a prelude to posting some favourite spiders next time... well shes got an eye on you. Several of them actually.