I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

dipterans, coleopterans, and avians

A sure sign of summer: members of Diptera:Simuliidae (black flies) have arrived in their maddening hordes. I thought they were bad on the weekend? No, no, that was just the advance guard. I spent some time yesterday trying to fix the mower but concentrating on a motor when the little guys are buzzing around your head, in your eyes, ears, and anything else they can get into. I cut the grass with the tractor, where at least I'm free of them for a while, but then when I turned the soil in my garden to get ready to plant veggie seeds and transplants, they had invited all their friends. I'd try to ignore them in hopes that they would disdain my lack of hospitality and leave, but no such luck. I took pity on the dogs, whose ears were a favorite target, and put them inside. After that all the flies came to me and that was the end of gardening.

The other night it was the first emergence en masse of Diptera:Culicidae (mosquitoes) as D and I worked around the pool. Little M was determined to protect us from them so ran about with a butterfly net, and was surprisingly effective at keeping them at bay. But I know, it's just the beginning.

And last night we had our first visit from Coleoptera:Scarabaeidae (June bugs) which used to give me the creeps as they flew into things and generally crashed around. I lived in terror of getting one in my hair. Until we moved here and found that they had nothing on Lecotherus americanus which combine new heights of ugliness with flight, swimming, and the fact that they're easily three times larger than June bugs.

I do not like insects. Well, a few: bees (and it seems, sadly, that our bee-tree is empty this year! While it lessens my concerns on stinging, I do know that our vegetable garden owed much of its success to them), ladybugs (can't help but like them), butterflies (ditto), and dragonflies (gorgeous and fascinating).

And on to the avian side of things: the girls discovered that some robins had made a nest inside one of the barns, low enough that a careful peek could be made inside. They saw eggs last week and yesterday I walked in, carefully took down the nest and saw this:

Four little baby robins, naked and blind. We'll keep watching to see how they fare. I hope the nest is safe from intruders who might do them harm.

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