July 31, 2016
While outside yesterday, I noticed a very large wasp sitting on the edge of the 4 wheel dump cart (the first pic taken by my pohone, the second by my camera which I had to go get)
Turns out that is a Giant Ichneumon Wasp. This particular one is a female and her body was about 2" long with the ovipositor a little longer. I never found a statement on Google that anyone had ever been stung - although supposedly they are capable if they feel threatened. This one was very docile as I got in close to get a good picture using the micro function of my camera. The reason I even noticed the wasp was because I was moving the cart back and forth, using it as a step stool (good thing I wasn't at work OSHA would have had a heart attack). The wasp never even moved or even seemed agitated. She may have been newly pupated and drying her wings (even though she moved them a bit, they never seemed to fully unfold, so may have still been damp).
The adults don't eat but the female lays an egg in the burrow of a wood wasp larva and the Gian Ichneumon larva uses that as its meal all winter long. There are several large, old and decaying tree stumps about 15 feet from where I found her, so maybe that will be her final destination. That mean looking ovipositor is used to drill into the wood for the egg laying and they listen for specific sounds the wood wasp larva makes in order to find the perfect place to drill. It is incredible to think that they can determine the type of larva in the tree just by listening! After the GI larva pupates, the adult emerges between June and September.
Although not rare, they live in woody areas from Canada down to Mexico, I don't remember seeing one before, so I'm guessing they aren't "common", as one usually thinks of the word.
July 04, 2016
Squirrels and a Bird
To keep the squirrels off the bird feeders, I have been getting big blocks of seed and placing them close to the tree line out back. This has produced interesting behaviour by the critters. Namely, that the gray squirrels, who normally don't tolerate reds being close (and vice-versa), are peacably eating side by side.
And, a bird chose to alight on the fence as I was taking pics of the squirrels.
And, a manipulated pic of said bird
October 24, 2015
Chestnuts - Not Roasting Though
A squirrel left these on the outdoor furniture table. Apparently he got his fill and left them. Have no idea where they came from, but certainly not from any of the yards around mine, so he hauled them for a bit of a distance before feasting.
Yes, they are very prickly, so that was one tough squirrel. Took me a bit of sleuthing to find out that they are Chinese Chestnuts (most likely - could be American, but very doubtful)
March 15, 2015
Thanks are in Order
It has slowly been warming up here in the frozen Northeast. I haven't seen or smelled a skunk for months, until driving to work Wednesday morning; I smelled a skunk shortly after leaving my driveway. I remember wondering if the resident area skunk had gotten run over, it was so strong.
Thursday, I got ready to leave for work - loaded up my coffee, lunch and purse into the car, turned off the garage light, and started to lift the garage door. Looking out the window, I saw a small figure waddling off. At first I thought it must be an area cat; they sometimes hang around by the house. Then I realized it was the resident skunk. Why he (she?) was right at my garage door, I have no idea, but evidently there was some reason.
The skunk stopped before he even got to the path to the front door. Well, that wasn't going to do as that is about 10 feet from the garage door, and I need to not only back up, but get out of the car to close the garage door. I lowered the door back to the ground (it was only up a couple of inches), and lifted it partway again. That produced enough noise that the skunk continued, and took the path toward the front door.
Good enough for me, so I continued on with my mission. By the time I was backing out of the driveway and could see up the path to the door, the skunk had disappeared around the side of the house.
I want to thank the skunk for deciding to retreat instead of defend his position that morning!
November 30, 2014
No, not my porch, but the resident squirrel has cleared his porch out. I noticed this, and know it is from the squirrel because I happened to chase him from my bird feeder on the ramp, and he headed straight to his hide-a-way.
Look behind the chair and you can see where the snow has been piled up or shoved back and it continues bdhind and around the rhody. Harder to discern in the picture is the packed path that leads beside the chair - headed straight for my back door. Especially evident when you look at the left side of the tree, in which none of the snow has been "shovelled"
Yes, I'm easily entertained.
September 13, 2014
Saw a caterpiller on the suet feeder the other day. Not sure what kind it is, but it was cute.
He probably didn't pick the best place; right next to a bird feeder, and there was no suet so he was tempting fate. i looked later and he was gone, kind of hoping he found a safer place to do his thing.
April 05, 2014
Animals of the Wild
Saw a tom and his hens crossing the road at Deering Town Hall the other day when I was headed to a job fair.
The tom was all fanned out and there were 10-15 hens. You can only see one hen to the right of the nearest tree, but trust me, there were a bunch there. They were crossing the road as I was getting the phone out to take a picture.
I got a peanut feeder in an attemp to keep the multitude of squirrels off the birdfeeders on the back ramp. It is working as long as I keep it filled.
Since we are just now getting thawage down to the ground, there are no flowers yet. Humingbirds start appearing in April so I made sure to get a feeder out for any early migrators. I had to get a new pole to put the feeder on and chose one that I could attach to my railing so it will be close to the house - both for viewing and for a bit of protection by the roof from predator birds.
I'm loving the area I am in as there is a large variety of birds that use the trees in the backyard and the shrubs in the swampy area just to the side of my property.
September 08, 2013
Just a couple of pictures of things that made me smile:
Saturday morning, while cleaning Birdie's cage, I looked out the slider and saw turkeys - 2 hens and a bunch of young. They didn't stay long, but that is a sight we don't see at the house; they usually stay in the woods out back.
Hope the pics gave you a smile too.
May 19, 2013
So remember back in January when my old birdfeeder was finally retired and I got the new one?
Well, they have a new tactic that is working for them. They have managed to bend the metal wires close enough to the tube, that they either chewed, or clawed the bottom off of one of the ports; How it should be (and is on most ports):
How one of the bottom ports is now (it wasn't that way when I filled it Friday evening):
That is some heavy duty plastic, embedded into PVC tubing that they have mutilated. Now the seed just spills out onto the seed catcher and the squirrels can easily scoop it out with a paw.
Who needs bears when the squirrels are this determined?
February 17, 2013
There are companion dogs, then there are companion dogs for other animals. In this case, cheetahs. It seems that alsthough they are the fastest animals on the planet, cheetahs are also very nervous. In steps the companion dog who becomes a trusted buddy and protector. Very interesting article and full of surprises. I won't ruin all the good stuff, but who would have thought that a 40 pound dog would be the boss in his relationship with a 100 pound animal that can speed up to 60 mph in 3 steps (3.4 seconds - faster than any other car in the world)?
Thanks to Scott for pointing out this article!