Monday, February 20, 2017

HumBug: Season's Greetings

Posted By on Mon, Feb 20, 2017 at 7:26 PM

click to enlarge Ferelia februalis. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Ferelia februalis.

Undaunted by the rain, I was out barbecuing a chicken a few nights ago when, attracted by my porch light, a moth buzzed me. I kept working but noted where it came to rest. Of course I had to investigate, and when I did I noted it was decorated with a lacy black pattern on a pale green background.

A little research in a book I got for Christmas Moths of Western North America led to identifying it as Feralia februalis. No common name is listed. I think I'll call it the February moth.

click to enlarge An odd hover fly on a milkmaid flower. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • An odd hover fly on a milkmaid flower.

I've noted some wildflowers along the roadsides — milkmaids (Cardamine californica) are coming on strong now and with them the insects they attract, including an oddly shaped hover fly. I guess I'm going to have to put that book on identifying flies on my wishlist. Investigating one patch of flowers I found another mystery. I've seen these possible spider holes around for years, but never seen what's making them. I poured a pint of water down one but ran out before anyone made an appearance. Guess I need a bigger bottle.
click to enlarge A mystery among the milkmaids. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • A mystery among the milkmaids.
Another less conspicuous but no less striking wildflower out now sports a less charming name: fetid adder's tongue (Scoliopus). All of which signal that, despite our recent weather, there is hope: Spring is on the way.
click to enlarge Fetid adder's tongue, aka brownies. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Fetid adder's tongue, aka brownies.

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