Monday, July 5, 2010

Pollinators between rain events

Originally posted by Matt, over at Seetrail; backdated here.

Alex-influenced rain followed Heidi and I all the way out here. I had lived out here for ~ 4 yrs and never had consistent rain, for so many consecutive days.

At the moment it is partly cloudy, and the wildlife is happy. Particularly at a shrub in the front yard. SO many wasp species, a few net-winged beetles, and some familiar butterflies.

One of my favorite members of the wasp order, Hymenoptera, is the Cicada Killer (Sphecius spp):

These are huge 2+ inches long insects. When one hears within the monotony of the "whining cicadas" summer-long buzz a cicada quickly and individually deviate its contribution, likely it's due to an attack from Sphecius species.

One particularly interesting wasp family is Scoliidae. They are largish, hairy insects that are parasitic to larvae of scarab beetles.

Females dig around to uncover scarab larvae, lay an egg on it, and peace on out of there.

So many other wasp species on that particular shrub, so little time.

A few butterflies found their way on to it, all of which are very familiar:

Western Pygmy-Blue (Brephidium exile), North America's smallest butterfly with a wingspan that may not even reach half an inch.

Reakirt's Blue (Echinargus isola)

Texan Crescent (Anthanassa texana)

We do have a porch light. As Heidi mentioned, there happens to be an active Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) nest using it as substrate. So we are going to have to come-up with another plan for attracting moths at least until that nest has fledged.

It is currently in incubation stage.
We've named the swallow Gladys. However, it has been observed that both parents share incubation duties.... how nice. So Gladys is female, and Gladys is male.

This is Gladys...., well, Sir Gladys I suppose:

Also, our first two groups of young Aplomado Falcons (Falco femoralis) arrive this afternoon!

We don't have internet at the house. We have to walk several blocks down slope to pirate wireless from a local business. With that in mind, plus once the falcons arrive we'll be going full-throttle, we aren't yet sure how regular our blog updates will become.
We will all just have to see.

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