Tiny Wonders

Hey! ¬†I know I haven’t posted for a while, I recently came back from a trip to Massachusetts & Rhode Island. The weather’s a whole lot warmer there. (It’s in the 50’s here – brrrr.) I saw a bunch of new animals, mostly birds (salt water means a lot of species I don’t normally see), such as mute swans,¬†sanderlings, & common terns. But surprisingly, some of the most interesting species were also the smallest. Getting closer to winter, caterpillars are becoming active. In the holes in tree trunks and other little cozy & protected spots, it’s easy to find wooly bears. These fuzzy orange & black caterpillars live a long time, wintering underneath bark & in hollow logs. When spring comes they spin cocoons & transform into the yellow & black Isabella tiger moth. It used to be thought that you could predict the harshness of the coming winter by the thickness of the wooly bear’s orange stripe: the thicker the stripe, the milder the winter. There’s a lot of skepticism over this, but there’s also some good evidence. There are also monarch caterpillars – not-fuzzy yellow & black caterpillars you almost always find on a milkweed plant. Since it’s September, these caterpillars are eating up for their long flight to Mexico when they become butterflies. There are several generations of monarchs born each year – the fall generation lives the longest: 6-8 months! It’s pretty cool the things you discover when you pay attention to the smallest things in life.

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Butterflies & Moths

'one of the monarchs'

Butterflies are loving this August heat. They love all the flowers, & they flutter around between people’s gardens, looking for the blossom with the most nectar in it. Mostly I get Monarchs, which thrive off all the milkweed that grows here, but there are some smaller white ones too. & of course there are plenty of moths at night. The moths are generally super small, white moths that hop around in the grass, & larger brown moths that somehow find there way into your house whenever you turn on a light. I’ve yet to see any really large moths, but they could be around.