Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Late Call for Critters?

A week, 10 days have elapsed since I photographed the critters on this page. But the climate has changed. No, at my elevation (5400 ft.), there's been no frost; however, a friend at a slightly higher elevation in Mountain Club has already suffered two frosts! Nonetheless, none of the critters shown here are evident any longer. (No, don't ask what kind of moth or butterfly will emerge from that handsome caterpillar above...)

Strange. One day, all of the sudden, the wild Fremont's pincushion was covered with these black fellows. Ants were tending them, so I presume they are some sort of aphid, though they don't look like any of the black aphids on display at The Google's image site. Within a week, they were gone and the plants didn't look particularly distressed. (If you were to ask me, I'd say these look more like weevils -- but do ants tend weevils?)

Wasp? Bee? Fly? Whatever. He or she is happily harvesting some sort of goody from the goldenrod. By the way, do note that the golden rod's rod consists of many, many tiny sunflowers.

Here's why I was truly pleased with myself one day in late September -- I actually caught a hawk moth doing its thing.

If you look closely, you may be able to see the long, long tongue that it unwinds to sip nectar as it hovers, humming-bird style. According to the folks at What's That Bug (a wonderful site, by the way) this critter is officially a 2-striped sphinx moth. sheoflittlebrain had more to say about hawk moths over at The One Acre Wood recently.

Celtic Links: Two of the regular visitors to this site have posted fascinating entries about the ancient Celts. Box Elder photographed the ruins of a Celtic church in northern France, while Olivia tells of the Celts in the Taunus Mountains of Germany, near Frankfurt. Well worth your time.


hermano said...

AWW would be proud of your shots.


Olivia Kroth said...

Thank you very much for placing a link to my new post about Celts in the Taunus mountains, Granny J.

I will pay you in my favorite currency, haiku:

pink, brown and white wings
fluttering around a bush -
the hawk moth, a beauty

School for Us said...

I enjoyed the photos of your critters. And, I love what's that bug? too. :-)

Anonymous said...

Great photos and a super post.


sheoflittlebrain said...

Great critter pix GJ! Your hawk moth pix are the best yet.

I made a stab, to no avail, at identifying your caterpillar at (oh, dear-can't link in a comment yet-you just can't teach a littlebrain new tricks)

Granny J said...

Bro -- Wouldn't I love to have a chance to show them off to him.

Olivia -- what a lovely currency!

school -- isn't what's that bug just an excellent site?

Steve -- good to see you here, as ever...

brain -- what I didn't report is that a couple of days later I got much closer to a hawk moth, had trouble focusing (hah!) and when the critter flew away, I discovered that my lens cap was still on. And here a working link to your caterpillar site.

meggie said...

Another fascinating post. I enjoyed meeting Olivia Kroth, & I already visit Lucy.
That wonderful caterpillar is beautiful regardless of 'who' it is.

Granny J said...

meggie -- Both my dotter and friends are interested in matters Celtic, and so I figured others would also be interested in those posts.

JuliaR said...

You know, for someone who once had a terrible fear of bugs, I have come a long way when I can go to that great site you recommended (
I find it interesting that now I stop and look at bugs closely and I rarely kill them even when they are in the house (unless they are earwigs - sorry guys - or mosquitoes). We have some fabulous (only if you look very closely) "houseflies" here that have irridescent green and gold abdomens and I wonder if anyone has really stopped to look at their beauty.

Granny J said...

Julia -- Terrific. It's always great to hear of another person who's discovered what wonderful critters are around us in everyday life. I'm pretty gentle with all but a handful of troublesome arthropods, such as slugs and snails on my favorite plants and houseflies! And they do make wonderful photographs, if you can get them to stay still long enough.

Lucy said...

Thanks for the link!
I'm quite interested in my tolerance for some bugs more than others; some of the flies, the greenbottle types, are quite beautiful, and I've taken pictures of them I've almost liked, but I can't quite forget how vile they are and how annoying the buzz when they're in the house, so all I want to do is squash them. Butterflies and moths are fine, dragonflies too, though they are a bit eery. Spiders I'm ambivalent about, though I saw a beauty the other day, a big garden one in a web with a constellation of thistledown caught in the web around her, I cursed that I didn't have the camera! Your hawkmoths are a great catch.

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