A buggy day

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Sunday afternoon was a great one for bug watching.  Two warbling
vireos, a couple of Wilson's Warblers, and some other feathery
insectivores thought so too, though they gulped after watching.

Besides the swarm of bees floating about, there were:

*)  leaf-cutter bee holes in my serviceberry

*) a big caterpillar, about 2" long, hiding under old leaves below a
much-eaten indian plum.  It's not a pearly underwing, aka variegated
cutworm,  but could be a relative since it was half curled up.  Tan all
over, darker between segments, black head, black top to the second
segment, and black hind end tip.  I dithered for awhile between putting
him in a bowl for the birds and putting him back.  I put him back; who
need indian plum, anyway?

*)  a little caterpillar in the mock orange.  This one takes two leaves
near the stem tip and spins them together, clasped, and nibbles on the
newer leaves and/or flower buds as they grow out inside of the pouch.
The ones I found were skinny, about 1/2 inch long, black head and top
of second segment, otherwise translucent greenish.  I found nearly a
dozen well scattered throughout one of the two mock oranges.

*)  a four-wing 'mosquito'.  This is a corpse I found on a sedge stem
that I brought in to look at the flowers (this is why I've still never
learned how to ID plants--every time I try to look at one under the
scope, I find BUGS!)  It's somewhat smaller than a real mosquito, but
overall, it looks very much like one.  powerful thorax, long skinny
abdomen (what I could see of it, it's dehydrated).  Bulging compound
eyes.  But there are differences--most noticeably, four wings, and the
antennae is very long--nearly as long as the body length.  The wings
are membranous, rounded tips, simple veining, different size front and
back; not sure which is which, but I presume the smaller is the
hindwing.  It seems to be piercing/sucking mouthparts.  Any ideas?

*)  On the behavior front, yellowjackets definitely eat tent
caterpillars.  One of the tents that's out of my destructive reach has
been fun to watch.  Today a yellowjacket found them.  First it hung
around the old egg mass; it looked like it might be dragging out
unhatched ones, but it was the wrong angle for a good view.  Next time
I looked, it had carved up a big 'pillar and rolled a nice steak up
into a ball for the kiddies.  Better yet, a probable tachinid fly
watched the whole process, probably totally disgusted at the waste of a
perfectly good larval host.

*)  two male small brilliant metallic emerald green flies fighting over
the much bigger female. The intensity of the color was just amazing.

*)  a syrphid fly taking a nap (sunning to stay warm?) in a partly
curled up elder leaf

Anyone else have fun?
Allyn Weaks    allyn@tardigrade.net   Seattle, WA  Sunset zone 5
Pacific NW Native Wildlife Gardening: http://www.tardigrade.org/natives/
"The benefit of even limited monopolies is too doubtful, to be opposed
to that of their general suppression."  Thomas Jefferson

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