Saturday, October 1, 2011

Some Saturday Stuff

I've been checking on my neighborhood colony of Oak Treehoppers every day. The nymphs are getting bigger, and a few have just shed for the fourth time. One more shedding to go, and we'll have some more adults. In the top photo, you see the mama on the right. She is a kind of olive drab color with yellow spots. Not nearly as colorful as her young. Well, a couple of the young ones look like they are going to turn into the other color pattern for adults, namely longitudinal red and white stripes. For a preview, just type Oak Treehopper into a browser and find a page of images. Or, just wait for my photos when these colorful adults appear.
The next photo is of the lone blooming Cinquefoil remaining in my yard. During this morning's walk with my nature journaling class, we came across a patch of dried up Cinquefoil that had gone to seed. I described the absent flowers as looking like buttercups but with more stamens and pistils like you'd find in a rose. They are in the rose family. When I got home I noticed this one last blossom.
At the foot of my driveway there's a very tall White Fir which is losing lots of cones. Most of them have small pieces of branch attached indicating they're probably being cut down by squirrels. When they reach a certain degree of dehydration they can fall apart explosively. I stepped on this one as a demonstration and the scales readily separated and made a tinkling sound like broken glass. Sometimes they get dry enough while still on the tree, then if they fall onto solid rock, as often happens in places like Bucks Wilderness, they explode and sound like breaking light bulbs.

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