Friday, June 13, 2008

Nature Study

As spring turns into summer, opportunities to study nature increase. Here at Faerie Gardens there are so many interesting plants and animals to observe and learn about. I have seen more interesting bugs since we have lived here than in the whole rest of my life!

Yesterday, a weird beetle attached itself to my clothes. We still have not been able to identify it. It was at least an inch long with red flashes of color along each side and long, swooping antennae. It was some sort of long horned beetle but unfortunately our search ended there. While researching it, we found out about the Asian long horned beetle, an imported pest in our area that kills hardwood trees. I am quite sure that that is not what I saw (they have white spots all over their bodies and are a shiny black while mine had red markings and was a matte dark brownish-gray color.)

In addition to numerous bugs, we have been trying to identify all the caterpillars, moths, and butterflies that we have seen. I hang our laundry outside and recently a tent caterpillar actually built its cocoon on a pair of Diana's pants! It sort of grossed us out, but it was sort of cool too! Ant had a green and brown caterpillar in his bedroom this morning and took pics and then took it outside. Diana and the kids have been playing with millipedes. (They freak me out!)

I planted a sunflower garden, and I had some sprouts, but it seems they have died in the parching heat we have been experiencing lately. Since the earth is prepared I am going to plant something else there...maybe tomorrow! Our yard is full of an assortment of wildflowers including hawkweed, daisies, white clover, buttercups, cinquefoil, and others I can't identify. There are so many wild strawberries that the kids are picking a quart a day and not running out yet!

At the rear birdfeeder we have a male/female pair of indigo buntings visiting regularly as well as numerous chipping sparrows, chickadees, and goldfinches. One day we had 12 goldfinches at the feeder at once!!! Our platform feeder recently succumbed to a windstorm, but under the regular feeder we regularly see mourning doves and blue jays. Other visitors to the area have included brown headed cowbirds, cardinals, and a gray catbird. There is a flicker that likes to perch at the top of trees and cheep loudly! Woodpecker visitors have included the downy and the red-bellied. Diana saw a flock of turkeys in the woods, and of course, we have tons of robins and crows.

We have a new feeder in front but haven't seen any birds at it yet. When we first hung the other feeder it took awhile to get visitors so I am trying to be patient. Oh! Diana saw a hummingbird a couple of times too! We have see an occasional deer, but today the kids saw a baby deer, still with spots, in the woods. They came up on it so suddenly it startled them (and I am sure they startled it too!)

I am excited about our observations so far and look forward to seeing and learning about more new things this summer!

1 comment:

BunnyKissd said...

Oh! Diana saw a hummingbird a couple of times too!

I didn't just *see* it! It flew in the bloody front door and freaked me out cuz I thought it was a huge bee!!! Then I was too stunned to take a picture!!! LOL!