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Backyard BioBlitz – Week of July 9

Backyard BioBlitzBelieve it or not, we’re coming to the end of the 2012 BioBlitz files.  I thought with our long, long, loooooong summer that I’d have fodder for these until well into September, but after an abundant July, everything kind of keeled over.  The sunflowers that had hosted 75% of the backyard bugs drooped, and the heat kept most everything else from thriving.  If not for some late zinnias, we’d have been totally out of luck on our wildlife watching.

But for now, we’re in July, and lots of cool stuff happened in July.

Today’s first group is a red one, with yet another variety of tickseed.  I believe this one is Big Bang Mercury Rising.  It flowers even more abundantly than the others, but the flowers are smaller and more delicate.  We planted this one under a crape myrtle, and I have a feeling it would have thrived in fuller sun.  The second photo is of a (bolete?) mushroom, which was only red for this one day and turned brown the next.  I guess when they were concepting Super Mario Brothers, they figured the red phase of the bolete was flashier.  (These are things I’m sure they considered.)  And finally, my first hummingbird sighting of 2012 came after we’d all but given up hope of anyone visiting the feeder.  I was too far away to get a very good shot, but it did enable me to say, in the manner of the M&Ms/Santa commercial: “They do exist!”

Backyard BioBlitz - Reds

Next are some lovely blooms.  Clockwise from left:
1. This plant has come up in our yard for the last two years but hasn’t spread.  I always wondered what it was, and on my visit to Lichterman Nature Center I happened across a display about native vs. invasive honeysuckle.  I believe this is a native trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens).
2. Here’s a fiery skipper (Hylephila phyleus) on another tickseed bloom.
3. An assassin bug hangs out on a zinnia.
4. We had a single volunteer periwinkle pop up along the fence, and it got big and happy so we just left it there.
Backyard flowers

We started leaving little containers of water out in the yard to encourage the birds to drink something other than our tomatoes.  It worked somewhat, but perhaps our new birdbath will be a more effective deterrent.  Things to look forward to in 2013!  In any event, I found this little pig-faced bug swimming in the water one day.  I have absolutely no idea what it is, but I know that Googling “pig-faced bug” did not bring me to a happy set of images.  Turns out people will Photoshop a pig face onto pretty much anything. :-/
Mystery bug

And finally, a cute little damselfly to close.  Although I’ve written about fragile forktails several times already, since I go wildly out of sequence on this blog, we’re just now getting to the first time I actually saw one.  I took the dog on a walk just before sunset and as I was getting home, I noticed a tiny green flash in the flowerbed.  I have pretty good Spidey sense for damselflies (there should really be another way of saying that which doesn’t involve other arthropods), and sure enough, this extremely tiny creature was staring up at me.  Fragile forktail damselfly

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krugthethinker - January 15, 2013 - 12:21 am

Pig-faced bug for the win! I love it! Gorgeous damselfly too!

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