Life's Little Moments

By dbifulco

Dinner is served

I believe this is a Common Flesh Fly although I could be mistaken - flies are a huge family of insects and often hard to id.  In any event, it is a species that I see often.  That said, I have never observed one eating another insect, much less carrion.  The desiccated remains that it was eating had fallen from a spider's web so it was already quite dead.  Interesting.  I took this using flash, diffuser and my Raynox 150 on the macro lens.  

Took the pup for a walk before it got too hot this morning, then a nice long chat with my parents, followed by some time in the garden and then a trip to Starbucks where said pup enjoyed a pup-cup.  He is now trying to get Charlie to play with him - it's an epic fail and will undoubtedly end in a bloody spot on Jax's ear.  

Two more days of high-90's F ahead for us which means more creative ways to keep Jax entertained.  I see a trip to Tractor Supply or Lowe's in our near future.

I have collected 20-30 monarch caterpillars from the garden which still leaves many more out there.  And I saw a female leaving eggs again today. Most likely, all the small cats/eggs will be migratory at this time of year.  I am keeping a separate container with big cats I've taken from the garden - by the time they've reached fifth instar, there is a much higher chance of them having been parasitized so I let them form their chrysalis in their own container and will watch for any signs of parasitism.  With luck most will emerge as perfect monarchs who will likely breed one more local generation.  Hopefully my milkweed will hold up.  I am already planning to plant more for next year.  I will collect seeds from this year's crop and cold-stratify them outside in pots over the winter for spring planting.  Both Swamp and Butterfly milkweed are very easy to start from seed and last much longer into the season than the larger Common milkweed.  

I saw my first two Spotted Lanterflies of the season and managed to kill both by stomping on them.  They are a dreadful invasive that is doing serious harm to both trees and farm crops.  They are beautiful but really pose a threat in so many ways.  It's believed that eggs were transported on shipping pallets from China.  They first showed up in Pennsylvania in 2014 and have just made inroads into NJ in the last few years.  They are large and sturdy and it really does take some intention to kill them.  And you won't be surprised to hear that it grosses me out to kill them.  The good news is that the native birds here are starting to recognize them as a food source which is great. Sometimes native birds won't attempt to eat non-native insect species.  

Hubs is working on the RV doing some things to get it ready to sell.  It has an AC problem that needs to be fixed so he will probably call this week and try to get it in for what will hopefully be a fairly simply repair.  I hope we find someone who will use and enjoy it.

Dark with peanut butter today.


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