A fuzzy hoverfly (Criorhina nigripes) prepares for a busy day of pollinating.
hose spray I hold + stays, as I repeat, to drench - drinking & preening
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?
☀️ End-of-Summer Summary 🍂
Now that two weeks of dense smoke have given way to both rain and blue sky in our region, an immense sigh of relief has swept across the land and through our bodies here atop the hill just in time for the autumnal equinox. We've also been treated to a flurry of bird activity over the past few days, as flocks of many species hop happily amongst the oaks and grasses, foraging and chittering after so many stressful stuffy days. The return of our Steller's jays, towhees, and robins signifies a much-awaited shifting of the seasons.
To be sure, summer brought energizing light and splashes of delight to hazy times, but the parting curtains of golden-brown leaves offer an opportunity for rejuvenation, deceleration, and transition. We'll have some big announcements to make about our autumn plans soon...
But before we wave goodbye to the last beams of the summer sun, we thought we'd take a bit of time to step back and reflect upon various happenings around the Hill during this year's dry months.
A Sparkling Green Discovery
Last month while doing some planting, I happened across this incredibly vibrant, metallic green cuckoo wasp (also called an “emerald wasp” for some reason). These shiny little insects cannot sting and have earned the named “cuckoo” because they lay their eggs in other insects' nests (usually other wasps), where their larvae eat the host's larvae & food stores as they grow (sound familiar?).
Last month, I was delighted to come across this extremely cute and hummingbird-esque bee fly which is—we think, aptly—named Bombylius major.