Monday, May 20, 2013

Bugger, the mozzies are back too!

They are back and they are hungry, and not just this nearly invisible  crab spider
A few weeks of warmth and the Home Bug Garden is bursting with blooms and starting to fill with green. Bugs, beetles, spiders and flies all seem to be racing to catch up with the late Spring. Alas, even the snow-melt mosquitoes have shown up.
Aedes vexans - one of my least favourite flies
I've been too busy swatting them to take a picture and they are a bit on the small side for my point-and-shoot anyway, but here's one of the more common ones from a previous year (arrow = proboscis). That week or two between the first warm days and the first brood of mosquitoes that breed in the shallow, grassy pools left by the melting snow, is always so pleasant, and ephemeral.
Monsella Double Early Tulip - rather late in May this year
 Great time for bees and the blossoms they prefer too. Especially scenic are the white rosaceous fruit trees and shrubs, the cherries, apple and saskatoon.
Bombus perplexus queen providing a service to our apple crop
The apple seems to be especially attractive to the large bumble bee queens, but not so attractive as the Golden Willow (Salix alba Vitellina), now rather dowdy with its orange twigs covered in things that look more like green baby corn cobs than flowers.
Bombus perplexus queen in Golden Willow
The earlier flowering willows are very important food sources for bumble bee queens when they first emerge from hibernation. In the early spring, the willows have little competition for pollinators, but now they must have something very special to be able to drag the bees away from the more showy flowers.
White-throated Sparrow migrating through
The birds are back too. Although the Robins have been around for weeks, other migratory song birds did not make an appearance until this week. Most will just pass through, as with the White-throated Sparrow above, but Chipping Sparrows always seem to find the Home Bug Garden a good place to raise a family.
Chipping Sparrow (male) freshly bathed after its long trip north
Well, a great place for a bath and a reasonably secure place to forage. Our one surviving cat is now allowed to waddle in the backyard without a leash, but she is too old and fat to be much of a threat and should help keep out the lean and mean neighbourhood wanders.
Chipping Sparrow Clay-coloured Sparrow probably just passing through
Ah warmth, it has been sooo long!


  1. It's wonderful to see so much life in the garden these days. It has happened so fast! I've been seeing lots of giant bumble bees around as well and am wishing them a great summer. Unfortunately, the mosquitos are around too. Not wishing them such a great summer... :)

  2. Yes! It's great too see things greening up. The front garden looks so shabby the first weeks after a thaw, and now it is a (patchy)quilt of colour. And despite the rather leaf-filled pond, mosquitoes have been few.