Monday, April 30, 2012

Arboretum, how I've missed you.

the meadow in bloom
I popped in to the arboretum the other day, for a too-brief walk around. I didn't even get all the way around. That would have taken more time than I had. But I saw things blooming that weren't even planted last time I was there. There is a meadow with knee-high grasses and flowers.

apple blossoms
The apple blossoms were divine, and the bees knew it.

blue pollen time
The bees are getting their blue pollen from the pride of madeira flowers, in full bloom.

Late instar harlequin nymph
The bladderpod plant, which looked just awful for most of last year, still looks bad, but it's looking better. And it is still supporting the harlequins.

Mirid bug
Here's a little mirid bug.

First arboretum mantid of spring :)
My first mantid sighting at the arboretum this year: Iris oratoria

I hope I can find the time to go back again before we get into the next phase of remodeling.

Mantis Monday rides again?

This whimsical photo, taken by Indonesian student Eco Suparman, is currently making the internet rounds. It's too cute not to share.  You can read the article here.

Yeah, it's almost enough to make me want to start doing Mantis Monday again.  If you're new here, Mantis Monday was a feature I used to do, starting with posting a picture each week from my collection of praying mantis collectibles.  When that ran out, I started looking for praying mantis art and images online.  Sadly, that kind of fell by the wayside, but with the discovery of this photo, and today being Monday, well, here you go!

And if you want to see my mantis collectibles (or mantis-obelia, as I used to call it) just scroll way down to "Labels" on the right sidebar and click on Mantis Monday 2006.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A desert phasmid

His home
For the most part, our trip to Anza Borrego was pretty un-buggy. But on Sunday, we explored Palo Verde Wash, and in this little scrubby bush, I found a stick insect.

Desert stick insect
A skinny little guy with long antennas. I think he's of the genus Diapheromera, as near as I can tell.

His business
His "guy parts".

He blends in pretty well
Back in the bush he goes. Now you see him, now you don't.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Greetings from Borrego Springs!

A close call
I was almost eaten by a giant grasshopper today!

Well, actually, this was just one of many metal sculptures by Ricardo Breceda that inhabit the Borrego Springs area. You can read more about them here.

It was another windy day in the desert today, and there were very few wildflowers blooming because there hasn't been enough rain this season. So we saw very few live bugs today. Jerry was lucky enough to get a bee in his ear, inside his hoodie! It didn't sting him, but you never saw someone pull off a sweatshirt so fast!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Spring Green Lynx I found this sweet little spider on the first day of spring. She was just as vividly green as the ivy. I know that green lynx spiders (Peucetia viridans) are territorial as adults, seldom moving more than a couple of inches beyond a favored feeding spot, or especially from their egg cases and babies, once they have them. But even this little spider seems to have settled on a particular area, which I have been checking every day.

  Spider skin A couple of days ago, I couldn't find her. But then I found a shed spider skin. Was it hers?

  Spider silhouette Then I saw this.

  Spring Green Lynx
Ah, yes. There she is. (I think she's a "she". It's hard to be certain because she's still pretty small, but I don't see the male pedipalps, so I'm sticking with "she" for now.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The verdant jungle

Also known as my back yard. up the tree This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago already, and the tree is now even more verdant and jungle-y than you see here. But it's so delightful sitting under it and looking up into the leafy branches.
  Slope with ivy Beneath the tree, a relentless sea of ivy flows down the slope.
  Snail The ivy is full of critters. Does a snail count as a critter? I say it does.

Here's a fly with one of those one-click filters added in Picasa.
  moth This little moth was on a dandelion weed that was poking up through the ivy. Still counts as being in the ivy, though. Also counts as a critter.
  A dinosaur in the ivy! Another critter, and another photo-filter. I thought this alligator lizard looked like a dinosaur! The ivy is full of lizards!

I have another ivy-dwelling critter than I will put in a separate post.

Some thoughts

Our kitchen remodel is done. And the living room is re-painted and re-floored, even if it we still don't have all our stuff put back. That's another project all by itself. Well, Jerry's project, anyway. My point is, our life has returned to normal, whatever that means. But somehow, I haven't gotten back into blogging. I don't really know why, but I'm just not feelin' it. And the funny thing is, I'm noticing that many of my favorite  blogs also seem to be posting with less frequency.  So I have to wonder, is it just me, or is the blogging experience wearing thin for other people as well?

And then there are the photos.  I haven't been too thrilled with my photos lately.  I need to upgrade my camera, but I haven't been in a big hurry to do that either.  I have been playing with the various digital photo filters and effects that are available pretty much all over the place, and that have become so popular and increasingly common.  With a single click, I can turn an image into something that looks like a snapshot that faded in my junk-drawer over the past 40 years.  How cool is that?  Seriously, is it still cool, if everyone else is doing it?  What about if I do it to jazz up a mediocre photo?  A little voice in my head says that special effect filters are not a substitute for good photography.  But I've been playing with them anyway, dammit.  So you might see them in some of my future blog posts.  And there will be future blog posts.  I'm just not sure at this point how far into the future they will go.

But, hey!  Mantids are back!  This little guy floated out of a tree and landed right at my feet almost 2 weeks ago.  
baby mantid
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