Today was my weekly walk with my naturalist group which is always fun. We met in NY at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, a wonderful place for flora and fauna of all kinds. It was overcast and in the high 70's, perfect weather for bugging and insect photography. I had been photographing some little beetle when this small snail caught my eye. It was no more than 1/2 inch in length and had it's tiny antenna out as it moved slowly down a milkweed stalk. I crouched in the wet grass, getting just the right angle...when suddenly a tiny fly landed for the briefest of moments on it's head! I was so lucky to get this shot as the fly wasn't there more than a second. So, although I saw some rather spectacular sights, this had to be my blip. Tiny times two.
I saw my first ever Pelecinid Wasp today - an amazing creature. It has an incredibly long abdomen and although it can reach three inches in length and looks rather fearsome, it is one of the wasps that does not have a stinger. Some of the other highlights of the morning...
Canoodling Milkweed Bugs
What happens when milkweed bugs canoodle...
and a katydid, giving me the stink-eye
When I got home, I had one perfect male monarch in my enclosure. I took him out on my finger, but he just wasn't ready to fly, so I put him back in after we walked around for awhile. Around 5:30, he was ready to fly, so I held him on my finger until he lifted up into the sky. For my father-in-law. You can see a quick iPhone shot in Extra.
I like to send each butterfly on it's way with a special wish for someone who's left this world. The first two were for my BIL and my dear friend Lynn. If there is someone you'd like me to release a butterfly for, just let me know.
I'm still caterpillar sitting for my friends who are in Charlottesville. Two of their cats were J'd up tonight, ready to pupate tomorrow. And in my nursery, one more chrysalis and a bunch of steadily growing cats. I'll be taking a spin through the gardens tomorrow to collect more eggs. And gathering more milkweed first thing in the morning.
We are trying to settle into a routine here with the newest members of the househole, SIL and Joy. Lots of adjustments for everyone, but I think we are doing well.
And now, I'm off to enjoy a glass of wine.
And thank you to UniqueandLovely who prompted me to do a little more research on the fly! It turns out that it is a Marsh Fly (also known as snail-killing flies) that parasitizes snails by laying its eggs in the snail as a larval host. Grisly, yes, but also fascinating. I'll never probably know if the fly actually left an egg in that very brief moment that it landed on the snail.