Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Neighborhood Walk with Afterthoughts

I'm starting to find this season of intermittent snow showers and previews of spring more interesting than irritating.  When I sneak out between snows looking for plant and animal activity I tend to be more focused, not taking anything for granted.  Hardly any flowers blooming around Quincy except for the cultivated ones like Crocuses and Daffodils, so my first sighting of Henbit (top photo) was exciting.  Full name: Henbit Dead Nettle, a member of the mint family.  Near the library, a group of Stellar's Jays seemed to be finding plenty to eat underneath the branches of shrubs that haven't yet got many buds.  Must be some of last fall's fruit amongst the leaf litter, or maybe some early season bugs.  I didn't investigate as I wanted to walk.  Under a couple of boards in my yard where I usually find slugs and pill bugs I've begun to see larvae of Diptera, the order of insects that includes flies and mosquitoes.  I'll be watching to see what hatches.  I found a dead butterfly in good shape in a friend's shelf of old books.  It's a California Sister.  Nice color, although the antennae are gone and it fell apart in my hand as I tried to put it back to become dust.  Last, from my Bear Creek Falls archive, a beetle I haven't been able to identify.  Close up of the antennae looks like Cerambycidae, the Long-horned Beetles, but I'm not an entomologist.  If anyone out there recognizes this one, please let me know.  The red patches are connected across the ventral side.  Upon first quick glance it reminded me of the Red-shouldered Ctenucha moth, but it's obviously a beetle.

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