Hummingcrow & Co.

insects

Seán   #Meanwhile

A hover fly tours the snowberry blossoms as an olive-sided flycatcher leads a chorus of trills and chirps.

Seán   Mystery of the Swiss Cheese Leaves

Lilac leaves with holes

In recent weeks, we've been noticing more and more leaves around the garden which look as though someone's been going around hole-punching them. And while seeing punctured foliage usually elicits a sense of concern about pests and disease, something about the smooth, skillfully-crafted shape of these holes makes them seem benign to me... artful even!

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Seán   #Meanwhile

A potter wasp mama puts the final touches on her vessel-like clay nest, and lays an egg inside. These beneficial insect ceramicists are not aggressive and can help protect nearby plants from caterpillar damage. So if you see a tiny pot appear unexpectedly in your garden, you might want to leave it be!

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Seán   #Meanwhile

A robber fly celebrates a successful heist by slurping out the liquefied innards of its ambushed prey.

July 13, '10: female hummingbird repeats running bill against door glass,
up + down looking in at me. many visits

Kate  Mystery of the Alien-Pod

A couple weeks ago, Seán found a mysterious, silvery pod on the ground beside the house, about the size of a lime. It appeared to have been there for a while, as it was very light and seemed dried out. We took our guesses: was it a plant-pod? Some kind of egg sac? I thought it might be an owl-pellet, due to it's hairy outside texture, shape and size. We decided to lovingly refer to it as the “alien pod”:

alien pod

There was only one thing to do in order to solve the mystery – cut it open:

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Seán   Springy Summer Visitors

Kate's new friend

This spur-throated grasshopper nymph may be a major agricultural pest, but it sure is cute and fascinating to behold up close in person at this instar. Not all species in this subfamily are considered problematic, but this particular individual seems to be a two-striped grasshopper (Melanoplus bivittatus), which are highly problematic crop eaters. That being said, it's also a tasty meal for birds... and perhaps for humans as well?

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Kate  Pollinator Portraits: Skip and Sweat  Seán

Due to the current heat-spells in our region, we haven't been able to spend as much time as we'd like observing who's been buzzing and fluttering around our flowers during this year's Pollinator Week. Instead, we took to the shade and comfort of our workshop to continue our Little Paintings series. We each chose a species that caught our fancy and spent some quality time interpreting their likenesses and doing some deeper research into their lives & habits.

Here's a peek at our colour-testing sheets for the portraits— read on to see the results... 🌼 🐝- – -

Kate watercolour strip

Seán watercolour strip

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Seán   Pollinator Week: BC Bees & Wanna-bees

A bumble bee sipping at camas A happy bumble bee enjoying the offerings of a camas / kwetlal flower

A couple of months ago, Kate and I officially became certified pollinator stewards thanks to Island Pollinator Initiative's wonderful webinar series! The first session enlightened us about the importance of pollinators to food production and biodiversity, with a special focus on BC's native bees.

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Kate #Meanwhile: The ants go marching... with larvae  Seán

Millions of female worker ants carry the queen's larvae through a vast, treacherous landscape (known to us as 'the garden'). Watch them go...

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