The native milkweed hosts lots of critters, some beneficial to it, some harmful. The most famous is the monarch butterfly (both larval and adult stages) but it’s a bit late in the year for them now.
Sketching toucans with John Muir Laws. I always knew toucans had very oversized beaks, but look at that skeleton image! It’s nuts!
Thursday night is bug night 🪳🪲🪰🐞🦟🐜🐝🦋
Don’t overlook the teensy ones!
Guided by some online resources, I went looking for this flower by the pond at Rocky Oaks. I was expecting a plant between ankle and knee high (my wildflower book says it’s up to 16″/40cm tall). I scanned about but couldn’t see any likely candidates. Then I had the urge to just sit awhile right there on the bank.
You guessed it! I soon realized I was surrounded by the plant I’d come seeking — tiny (1.25″ high) scarlet toothcup plants with miniscule magenta flowers. Such a delight!
This species of orchid is native to western North America from western Canada to central Mexico. It lives on the banks of streams, rivers, and springs but prefers wetland regions like marshes. Today was the first time I’d seen one! I went looking specifically, and was delighted to succeed in my mission.
Apparently Sphinx moths have ropey, rather than feathery, antennae. And their hindwings are half the length of their forewings. Learn something new every day 😊
I attended a Youtube Livestream last night with a super-enthusiastic entomologist, who weekly magnifies and explains one insect for our edification and sketching pleasure. She goes fast and meanders frequently—it’s pretty hectic (but fun). I filled several pages with scribbled notes and sketches which I consolidated into this page after the session.
A large section of our hiking trail was a-buzz with bees, and it was quickly apparent that the action was happening on and close to the ground. Not knowing much about these ‘ground bees’, we gave them wide berth and I did some research when I got home.
What I learned was so fascinating, that V & I went back yesterday to observe them more closely. Each bee, laden with pollen, was crawling into a hole then emerging a few seconds later to collect more. How did she know which hole was hers? How long will she live after her work is done?
Now we know where they are, we’ll try to go back in 10 months to see the next generation come forth and mate. Fun!
I know nature journaling isn’t about making pretty pictures, but sometimes it’s nice to do both on the same page.