A monarch on the move...
When you see a monarch foraging on a flower, have you ever seen them--or photographed them--taking flight?
It's not your iconic image of monarch, but a few twists and turns, jumble of colors and jagged lines, and the monarch takes flight.
Scenario: a male monarch nectaring on Sept. 4 on a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifola, in a Vacaville pollinator garden.
He decides it's time to depart--maybe because he's had his fill of nectar, or maybe because male longhorned bees are becoming increasingly territorial, or maybe just because....
There it was.
A beautiful green lacewing, family Chrysopidae, resting on a yellow Iceland poppy in our bee garden. It literally glowed. Nice to have it land there instead of on a green leaf; otherwise, we may never have noticed it.
Lacewings are the good guys and girls. The predaceous ones prey on pests such as aphids and other tiny insects. But some lacewings are "vegetarians" that feed on nectar, honeydew and pollen.
"Green lacewings are generalist predators and are commonly found in agricultural, landscape, and garden habitats," according to the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program website. "Adult green lacewings are soft-bodied insects with four membranous wings, golden eyes, and green bodies. Adults often fly at night and are seen when drawn to lights."
This one visited our garden in the late afternoon. Maybe we'll see it again on St. Patrick's Day...a good time for "wearing 'o the green."
Ah, liquid precipitation!
Just when we were feeling drought-stressed, the weather forecast turned to rain.
I don't know if "the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain," but the rain in Northern California fell squarely on our bee friendly garden last weekend.
The honey bees weren't there, but the hover flies, aka syrphids and flower flies (family Syrphidae), were.
Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. --Stanley Horowitz