Archive for August, 2017

Blue Dasher

The numbers of butterflies and dragonflies were extremely low in southern Illinois last summer.

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I think this dragonfly was a male blue dasher.

I don’t need a name to enjoy things I find. Just the discovery and observations are enough … plus taking pictures if it cooperates.

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This widow skimmer landed right in front of me. I took this to mean it wanted in the blog too.

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Dandelions

It’s obvious why there are so many dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) around the yard.

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Each flowerhead produces a LOT of seeds …

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with a little help from the insects.

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Wind disperses the

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the parachute – like seeds.

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Each dandelion flowerhead contains both female and male flowers.

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Dandelions don’t actually need wind or insects to pollinate the flowers. If you look close at a female flower and follow it down, you’ll see that they each of them is in a tube. The tube is the male flower. So, the female flower becomes pollinated as it grows out through the male flower.

African Violet Surprise

I have three African violets that originally belonged to my grandmother. She passed away several years ago, and her violets” moved” to southern Illinois where they now live in three different houses.

 One of the violets surprised me by having a tiny yellow mushroom growing under the plant, near the edge of the flowerpot.

  During all these years of caring for the violets, I’d never seen a mushroom growing with one.

The mushroom was quick to open, and was much smaller than I expected.

 

When I first found the mushroom, it was tiny … only 1/8th of an inch in diameter.

I’m sure I still have more to learn about African violets.

 

 

 

The Cooper’s Hawk Came Back

The Cooper’s hawk returned to our yard this morning. It first came here on July 7 and stayed most of the time until the 19th.

Today is August 12th, and it’s back.

It seems to be getting used to our backyard.

When it’s in the yard, its presence reduces the number of birds in the area.

A few birds still continue to visit our yard.

… The hawk just flew across our backyard. I hadn’t seen it all day.

  It will be interesting to see how long it stays in the neighborhood this time.

You can tell by this picture that it can easily stay hidden in the thicket in the back corner of our yard, unless it flies.

What a Sunset!

We live on the east side of the highway,

with a large field across the highway in the west.

We’ve practically had large billowing clouds almost daily for several weeks.

Most lingered into the evening.

They constantly changed shapes and reflected the colors.

The changing colors put on a dramatic show.

I took all these (and more) pictures from our front yard.

I wonder what to expect this evening.

 

What a Surprise Part 2

I went out in the yard the next evening, and there lay a luna moth on the ground. I didn’t see any movement.

Another one lay close by. It didn’t move any either.

None of the ones I saw moved. I walked to the backyard after taking all the pictures I needed.

Then … another surprise … I walked on down in the backyard, and there were the wings of another luna moth.

None of the wings were attached.

There was no body either.

It looked like the wings fell off.

These were all that was left of the moth. It must have burrowed in the ground to complete its transformation.

What a Surprise! Part 1

I went out after supper last night, and there on the side of the sweetgum tree was a luna moth.

 I haven’t seen one of these for years! It tolerated my presence while I took pictures … and more pictures.

The evening light slightly changed the color of the moth.

Moths have feathery antennae. Butterflies don’t.

This spot looks like an eye and would keep predators away.

A luna moth’s wingspan measures between 3.0 -4.25 inches wide.

I didn’t realize they had such a large body.