Tuesday, April 5, 2011

invasion of the...

nope, not the body snatchers!
we're being invaded by
tent & tussock moth caterpillars.
and assorted other creepy crawlies.

a NICE invasion!
(well, except for the mosquitoes & ticks.)
OH, don't worry - you won't have to watch your step today.
you can even go barefoot if you want. no pOOp!  :)

for the past couple of weeks, it's been the tent caterpillars. remember them?
well, they're still hanging around.

and now, we're also experiencing an invasion of the tussock moth caterpillar!
a pretty cool looking little guy...but they too...are EVERYWHERE!

i keep plucking them off my plants...
and walking them a little farther away from the gardens.
they feed and grow...feed and grow...spin their cocoons...
and start all over again!  but you have to be careful of their hairs...
they can be irritating to the skin!

the birds just can't keep up with all the caterpillars.
they're having trouble flying...i see them walking across the yard...
dragging their full tummies!

i mentioned before...that we were starting to see butterflies.
BUT since nothing except the azaleas were blooming...
most butterflies were just fluttering by.

BLOOMING is well under way!
mock orange

japanese honeysuckle

blue eyed grass

and fetterbush...to name just a few...

"A weed is no more than a flower in disguise."
~James Russell Lowell

...and so...the flowers bring the nectar feeders!
zebra swallowtail!

spicebush swallowtail!  (above & below)

astyanax - the red spotted purple butterfly!  (above & below)

giant swallowtail!

eastern tiger swallowtail!

now...this next guy...drove me a little nuts trying to figure out WHO he was!
fiery skipper!

if you were here last year...then you know
how much i love to take pictures of dragonflies!
unfortunately, this one...the FIRST dragonfly of the season...
had his back to me...so we can't see his cute little face!
BUT don't worry...i went through last year's BUG pictures and found this one...
(kinda looks like a grumpy old man...)

 lizards! i love lizards! 
there i go again...what's another word for 'love'?   i say that too much.
 i LOVE too many things. 
bones. feathers. rocks. turtles. music. wolves. beads.
books. taking pictures. writing. the woods. the moon. lavender. the rain.
camping. my job. quotes. jasmine. being creative. jeans. t-shirts. blahblahblah...
and, of course...it goes without saying...i love my sons, sam, milo, monty and ozzie.
sometimes i just feel like...i overuse that word.
i have a great affection for everything outdoors. so, what can i say?
 i LOVE lizards and bugs and bones. oh my! 

ok. lizards. the most common florida lizard...the Anole.
they can change color from green to shades of brown & grays,
depending on their mood, the temperature, humidity and health.

...and when they're getting ready to mate...
the males will display their dewlap to attract a female.
the dewlap's that piece of skin that hangs under the neck and turns shades of bright red.

this dewlap (funny word, eh?) is also used for territorial purposes...
toward other males.
not only will he display his dewlap, but he'll puff up his entire body...
stand up on his toes...bob his head up & down, and start doing push-ups!

we have one VERY territorial Anole living on our front porch. 
he thinks he OWNS the porch.
the other day i saw him attack another Anole.
his dewlap came out, he got all puffed up so he looked bigger...
he started to get this raised arch down his back...
his eyes turned black...and he started bobbing like crazy!
he looked like a mini dragon...minus the fire.

he waited for the other male to get close...and then he attacked!
mouth open...grabbing the other anole by his head!

yikes! i felt like the referee.
but it all happened so fast. no bell ringing. no blood was drawn. no knock-out.
the more submissive lizard turned and ran away as soon as the attacker let him go.

here's the 'alpha' lizard watching as the other male leaves the porch.

and here's the little guy that ran.
he looks a little DEFLATED! literally!
defeated and deflated.
wow! what a show!
(the air was so thick with testosterone...you could cut it with a knife)

one of my clients mentioned that she's been seeing the hummingbirds
feeding on her bottle brush tree. yay! they're back!
so we collected our feeders. cleaned them. made some 'sugar water'...
filled them...and hung them back outside.

the hummingbirds also feed on the wildflowers...but we like to hang
a couple of feeders by the front porch...close...so we can watch them!

so...you can see...there's LOTS OF SPRING going on around here!
hopefully, where you are too.

"Man's heart away from nature becomes hard."
~Standing Bear

i've taken some pretty cool pictures of MORE bugs, birds...found bones...
oh yeah, and another sign.  a misspelled sign.  next time.

no, no...don't tempt me. i could go on and on...
but if you made it this far...i've held your attention long enough...for one day.
go get some more coffee. or tea. have a drink. stretch. bathroom break.

thanks for wandering through.
have a safe journey & enjoy the ride.
:] laura

b a l a n c e


  1. Great post Laura. Boy, what an invasion you're having!!

    Beautiful butterflies and dragonfly.

    Simply marvellous shots of the lizards fighting it out. Plenty of action right under your nose :)

    The hummingbirds are so sweet - literally. Hope you're week is going well. Cheerio :D)

  2. .... oops...submitted comment and then noticed that dreadful, unneeded apostophe: I hope your week is going well ;-)

  3. thanks Susan!! and don't have to worry about the Xtra apostrophe...no biggie! the keys are just too close together...typos happen... :D

    hey! i went and checked out the coffee inchworm! ha!! left u a comment! anyway, glad u enjoyed the wander here today...
    we're having thunderstorms...and my ONLY appointment today is not 'til this afternoon...so i'm catching up...on all this! :]laura

  4. hmmm. Can you use the word love too much? Not as far as I'm concerned (unless one is just saying it -you know what I mean).
    Love your butterfly and lizard photos. I had a butterfly on the Pear trees this weekend and, like you, I say 2 lizards squaring off. I thought, "Well , it's spring." I love the way they do their push ups, but this turned into a real scuffle. I love how when they do it in the dried leaves, it sounds like a huge monster! LOL!
    Happy Spring!

  5. Love the butterfly pictures! But the tent caterpillars - they're not a good thing, are they? I've seen them destroy trees.

  6. All wonderful to watch, though I hate to see tent caterpillars get too far ahead of the birds. Even worse are when the bagworm types get a foothold.

    You are way ahead of us, but at least our nesting Robins returned yesterday. ATB!

  7. Calling Ravens/meggs! well, you know...sometimes i just feel like i'm repeating myself...i love this...love that...say it alot. 'fond of'...'get all blubbery over'...just doesn't seem the same! ha! but i DO mean it! and yeah, the lizard fight! i've NEVER witnessed it quite like that before!

    Garden Path! thanks...well, luckily...the caterpillars...although they're ALL over the place...have NOT destroyed anything! i guess we really DO have enough birds to keep them in check!

    Rusty! yep, as i just mentioned...above...between the birds and ME plucking them off my smaller plants...we're keeping ahead. i'm not sure what the bagworm types are...i'll look them up. yep...slowly but surely...spring is on its way...even to YOU!

    thanks ALL for passing through...and stopping to talk... :]

  8. What a coincidence! We just saw some of those tussock moth caterpillars and we wondering what they were! What a wonderful walk today through springing Florida!

    The Alpha male Anole is getting a little cocky, I think. I'm surprised he didn't ask you to get him a beer after the fight!!

  9. such activity in the micro-animal world....it must be spring where you are :)

  10. Magnificent Post LauraK,
    Your Garden a place where Life thrives.

    Is your "Anole with Attitude" the same one who comfortably allowed you to photograph him with his mate doing their Pas de Deux?

    The Bird Feeder is a great idea... seeing a Hummingbird stationery is rare, and gives the opportunity to see their hard-working wings not rapidly in motion keeping it aloft while achieving yummies. The rest is probably enjoyed too.

    I keep returning to gaze upon the artistically photographed 'Mock Orange'. The colours, textures, placement, combined with the angle you did the photograph creates dimension. To me its one of those photos when enlarged to hang on a wall would be like viewing a beautifully done painting.

    Have noticed your Garden offers a variety of Butterflies a place worth visiting. They're colours are beautiful.

    Found my self looking in a dictionary for the word 'Love'... quite a long entry. My summary... "Passionately Enthusiastic"...

    No matter which Season, your Love of Nature is radiating all about your Blog and from your Posts... to visit is bathe in the glow of all that you Love...

    Old-English (verb) lufian (noun) lufu... "to love"

    So I suppose To Love is To Live. Seems your use of the word is quite apt.

    Happy Springtime, best wishes to you from Magda(Australia)

  11. Love all he bloomin'! ours have been kind of disappointing, we haven't had much rain (over winter OR last summer)

    That tussock moth caterpillar sort of looks like a scorpion from above! I'm sure mother nature did that on purpose...

  12. tumbleweed!! so glad you found out what those pesky...hairy caterpillars are...that you've been seeing!! and as far as the beer...he finished the whole can...and was stumbling away...down the porch railing...i wish i had my camera!

    Kel! oh yeah!! we're into SPRING!! i hope it stays a while...and summer keeps away...TOO HOT!

    Magda! no, that fighting Anole has the front porch...the 2 lovers were on the back porch! ha! MOST of the butterfly pic's i get...are from a short hike out back into the woods. thanks for ALL your kind words!!

    Erika! yes! so much bloomin'!! right now the jasmine is starting to bloom!! 'LOVE' that scent!!

    thanks everyone!!!! have a great day! :]laura

  13. Hi Laura!

    I was right in the middle of leaving a comment the day you posted this...suddenly, nothing! We had no network connection! Our modem decided that it was the time to DIE! No warning. Went from being alive to dead in a split second which I found rather inconsiderate, to say the least! So, I have been off-line until today and I couldn't wait to return to this post as the final one I'm visiting before heading off to bed. I've enjoyed lingering over each image and every line and will take some of them to dreamland to keep me entertained.

    As always, an absolutely super post! I don't know how you keep doing it...you just get better and better and you were already the best when you started out! You keep raising the bar :)

  14. Laura, Trucking Tumbleweed suggested I check out your blog. I was pleasantly impressed with your nature photos. Coincidentally, I watched a green anole and a brown one in what looked like mortal combat as you described, on my air conditioner housing just yesterday.
    Enjoyed your forest walk very much and will certainly come back.

  15. What a bunch of cool stuff-love the lizard fight! I can't imagine getting such good pics of that! And your blooms are beautiful. I'll have to come back-yes the cutest creature is the dragonfly. This is really enjoyable-all the different butterflies. And the hummingbird is great! You have such a great collection of wonderful things and creatures Laura!

  16. So mindful of the moment are you with your dialogue and photos. A moment to refresh my soul. Thank you for the perpetual candle. Remembering is like the breath of life. It lingers on the eyes and settles in the heart.

  17. Desiree, i know what you;re saying! i've had the same thing happen to me...BUT i had a couple of minutes warning. laptop started making this really weird noise...a kind of croaking sound...before i could try to save it...or anything on it...IT CROAKED! POOF! it was gone...along with ALL the stuff i never backed up! oh well! i'm glad you're all fixed up...and able to fly around cyberspace again! thanks for the kind words...and back at ya!! :]

    douglas, oh yeah...i've seen you over there at Tumbleweed's place!! so glad you found the time to wander through here...and sit down to send a note. those lizards sure get into some serious scuffles! i think it's almost comical the way they PUFF themselves up.... :]

    Susan, OH! i was soooo lucky to have my camera with me when the lizards started in on their territorial rivalry! ha! i've never seen the lizards get THAT excited before! it's a nice thing to have spring here...and all the critters are back! :]

    crayzy, thanks for your words...of kindness...and comfort... :]

    now...here's to a happy day to all! cheers! :]laura

  18. What a lovely post, dewlap and all. It really is a springy post, and I have to say I never mind any seasons, but right now I am terribly envious of your lovely spring weather. We just got hit by winter, full swing!

  19. Oh Laura,
    what wonderful pictures you made and also your words... i cant see enough of your small dragons and how you call the muppets of butterflies-caterpillars? i don't know the word in english but still they are wonderfull-like yourself.
    Take care and enjoy the wonder of nature still we will have them.
    Blessed be

  20. Laura, I had to come back. Do you think the white ball-like things on the backs of the tent caterpillars are eggs? Those are the strangest caterpillars I've ever seen. The Zebra and purple butterflies are the prettiest. There's always so much to look at on your posts!

  21. I love your photos, but especially like the ones of little anole with his tail straight up in the air. He looks like a real character. I'm rather fond of lizards. He's a cutie.

  22. This is just wonderful!! Your enthusiasm & all of the information & pictures - all very much appreciated! Thank you!!

  23. You have such exotic caterpillars and butterflies in the US! Ours are very low-key in comparison.

  24. ok...let's see...
    Keda, i guess we're at opposite ends...seasons and night and day. i love spring...but my problem with spring is that it means summer isn't far behind...TOO HOT! i like the COOL!

    Thanks! Doris/Hexenessel, hmmmm...muppets? caterpillars before they become butterflies...or moths...so many different ones are invading right now!

    Susan...(i thought i saw you wander through again....) nope, those little white bumps on their backs are just their bodily decoration! they're so weird...so cool looking...but such a nuisance...soooo many of them eating my plants! :(

    bunnits, i agree! the lizard in fighting mode...with tail erect...kinda comical looking! i love the lizards too...as you can tell...

    Michael..thank YOU!! glad you liked the pictures...and info...and it's always nice to hear a word or two from people strolling through....

    Linda...not sure where you are...but here in florida...well, ONE of the things florida is known for...is it's BUGS!! LOTS!! :)

    well, thanks everyone! have a relaxing weekend! :]laura

  25. I'm back and it's so good to have my internet without getting kicked off!! That green bug...the grumpy one...looks like the Pres!...:)JP

  26. You have blue eyed grass in florida? That is one of my favorite wild flowers! It grows wild in the New England states, but I have never seen it in Michigan.

    So many lovely photos! Love all your butterflies.


thanks for stopping by! it's always nice to hear from fellow wanderers!