By the hundreds

Moth jars in fridge

Hundreds of moths

This is my 100th post. It arrived rather quickly, it’s hard to believe I’ve written that many entries already, on subjects as varied as fungus and flora, birds and bugs, earth hour and green parties (the events, not the political groups). I thought the hundredth post deserved special attention, to mark a milestone, but I wasn’t sure how by. I spent some time thinking about it, and finally decided upon a post of hundreds – recent observations of multitudes of whatever it is I’m observing.

I happen to be at my parents’ this week, taking care of the horses while my mom’s away at a conference. Unfortunately, they’re not as easy as goldfish where you sprinkle them some food and they’re good to go for a while. I don’t mind coming out to care for them, though, as it gives me an excuse to visit the countryside. One of the things I use that excuse to do is catch moths, of course. I had a few sheets up last evening, and this. It was on the cooler side overnight last night, about 15 C (60 F), but there was still a good selection of things coming in to the sheets and trap; this evening is warmer and there’s much more activity. Since I need to photograph everything in order to later identify it, I jar the moths I don’t know and tuck them in the fridge. It doesn’t take long for the fridge to fill up. The above photo is the state of things after last night.

Insects on Goatsbeard

Hundreds of bugs

In my mom’s garden there are a couple clumps of goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus), a perennial native to North America and western Europe. It produces sprays of white flowers, which insects absolutely love. I highly recommend that any budding entomologist buy themselves a goatsbeard for their garden. It gets everything: butterflies, of course, but also day-flying moths, wasps, bees, flies, beetles. You can even find mosquitoes nectaring on the flowers. During the plant’s peak blooming period, which lasts a couple of weeks and is about this time of year, the blooms will be alive with activity, covered in bugs. Hundreds is not an exaggeration here. The longer you stand there, the more you see. It attracts some pretty interesting things.

Beetles

Hundreds of beetles

Earlier in the month I did some mothing down at the research station. Or tried to, anyway. I didn’t actually end up catching very many moths, though I’m not sure why; it was fairly warm that evening. However, what I did end up getting lots of were beetles. In many shapes and sizes, but the most apparent were the June Bugs. These guys aren’t a lot of fun to have come buzzing in to a sheet at the best of times, since they’re clumsy and just as liable to run into you as the sheet. Having about 100 come in to the light was almost creepy. In this photo, those large dark spots are the June Bugs; there are 67 visible on the sheet, and there were easily a few dozen more on the other side, on the ground, and in the nearby vegetation.

Colewort

Hundreds of flowers

The colewort in the garden is also still going strong. Because the plant is ginormous, there are easily hundreds upon hundreds of flowers blooming on it. The colewort attracts a lot of insects, too, and has a fairly strong and pretty scent. Yesterday I watched a few interesting beetles, flies, and a tiger swallowtail dropped by to sample things. This wouldn’t be a bad plant for the garden of an entomologist, either, but it does take up a lot of room.

Chokecherries

Hundreds of berries

I noticed while making the rounds of the garden that the chokecherry tree is beginning to put out its berries. They’re still far from ripe, being a green the same shade as the leaves, but they’re nearly full-size now. The tree is covered in them, and staring up into the canopy creates an interesting effect, almost abstract in appearance.

Hail

Hundreds of hailstones (and raindrops)

The last couple of weeks we’ve had regular, near-daily afternoon thunderstorms. Many of the thunderstorms have included hail, often rather large hail. I tried to take a photo of some of the rather large hail, but couldn’t really capture it any better than this. It’s been strange just how much rain we’ve got this year. I heard something about this June being the wettest on record (so far), but can’t seem to corroborate that. All this rain is especially strange compared to last summer, which was the polar opposite – days upon days of nothing but clear skies and sunshine, not a drop of rain in sight. My parents actually had concerns over their well running low and had to implement a strict water conservation plan. Won’t be an issue this year.

I actually started this post last night (Tuesday), but have been quite busy filling my mom’s shoes while she’s gone. In addition to the dentist appointment, which was quick and went well, but still took a chunk out of my day. I have new respect for the amount of work my mom (or my sister, when she’s here and takes over) puts in around here, especially with the horses. I don’t think I fully appreciated just how much time was involved in caring for them.

In any case. Here’s to another happy hundred.