Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Walk by the Pond...

The pond margin is an ever-changing place. A few weeks back, the butterfly larva were feasting on mock bishop's weed, of which only a few brittle brown stalks now remain. The early summer weeds have been almost entirely supplanted by a late summer brood. And along with the new host plants, there are new caterpillars... Here's a quick photographic journal of last night's walk.

There'll be maypops aplenty come September...

These two sphinx moth larva were both approaching four inches in length; should be pupating soon.

The dimming light triggered my camera's flash, so the colors have been altered just a bit, but this younger banded sphinx caterpillar is certainly one of the most colorful we've encountered.

There were an abundance of other caterpillars, some of which we've yet to ID. Any ideas?

A smaller sphinx caterpillar is almost finished with this leaf. But not quite ready to move on....

We're still working on an ID for this little cutie as well; leaning right now toward the water or willow primroses in the Ludwigia genus, but we'd welcome your thoughts. A couple  of things are certain, it has invasive tendencies (based on its abundance here), and the caterpillars love it!

The flash gives an idea of just how sunny a disposition these little gems typically have.

Another small sphinx caterpillar, perhaps contemplating a taste test.

These groundcherries seem to like this spot quite a lot, covered with blossoms and charming little "Chinese lantern" seed pods galore.

The entire northern bank of the pond is occupied by these weeds in the nightshade family, the unripe fruit of which can be quite poisonous. 

We've nearly completed our circuit when we spy these striking beauties growing at the very margin of the water.

Meadow beauties, to be more precise, although we're not inclined to allow the difference between the Virginia meadow beauty and the pale meadow beauty to trouble us much on such a fine evening for walking as this. 

Hope you can find the time for your own pond walk in the very near future... Enjoy!

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