via: The Biodiversity Heritage Library, where you can view the entire book.
When watering my citruses today, a movement caught my eye in one of the bowls. A tiny black parasitic wasp in a struggle with a spider twice its size. I did not have my camera with me and of course, I could not go and get it, so I snapped at least a few pictures with my phone. I assume the wasp has won and laid the spider aside for afters because it has left it lay there all limp and motionless, danced around a bit and then left.
Pictures below the fold – content warning spiders and predation.
It’s that wonderful time of the month when Nightjar shares her portraits of light.
In the month of the Summer Solstice sunlight is brighter than ever and nature is bracing for the dry season. Many wildflowers have gone to seed and are drying out already (some are doing weird stuff like the wild chive in the last photo… perhaps confused by the unstable weather?) and bugs are very busy. Backlighting is trickier this time of the year but I tried to play with June Light from all angles and I think it was worth it.
Jack and I went to the lily pad pond today to check out our new mosquito wear. It’s clothing impregnated with permethrin that’s supposed to keep the skeeters away. If the tag can be believed, the chemical coating should last through 70 washings. I have a hat and short-sleeved shirt and Jack has a jaunty scarf. The only place that Jack gets bitten is his face and ears because even in summer he has a thick coat of fur, so I thought a scarf would be all he needs.
The trail around the pond is always buggy and we normally avoid it in the warm weather, but the best place to test mosquito wear is where the mosquitoes are so off we went in the name of science. We certainly chose the right place – there were lots and lots and lots of mosquitoes and, considering the conditions, the clothing performed well. I came away with about a dozen bites on my hands, so a long-sleeved shirt would have been a better choice, but I had no bites on my face or neck and only one or two near my elbows. I always wear long pants and socks because of ticks so I had no bites on my legs. Jack fared about as well with one or two nose bites and two bites on an ear near the scarf, which surprised me. I’ll certainly use the clothing when we trail walk over the summer and we’ll even come back to the pond, but next time I’ll use a bit of something else to protect my hands and maybe a dab on the big boy’s ears. Jack really loves the pond because he can chase frogs and get muddy. You know, the good stuff in life.
Mondays are always better with flowers and Avalus has sent us some gorgeous Iris to help us start the week.
There was a beautiful patch of irises that attracted many visitors.
Like this bumblebee, just caught while taking off…
And this leaf bug.
I’ve been waiting weeks for the first and only flower on my new purple peony bush to open. It sat there for the longest time just being a big, plump bud that didn’t change and I’ve been getting impatient. Well, finally, yesterday it started to unfurl and by late afternoon its petals were getting ready to spread themselves open to the sun. I was getting excited… and then the wind started to blow. And then the rain came and then my beautiful purple peony blew open and apart. Well, damn. At least the bees don’t mind. They’ve been busily gathering pollen all day so it hasn’t been a total loss.
It’s that wonderful time of month when Nightjar shares her photo essay about the conditions of light.
I confess that I haven’t been as inspired lately, and that’s in part because light is becoming too bright and harsh for my taste already. I find autumn’s golden light and winter’s low and cool light so much more interesting to work with. But May is the month of flowers and bugs, and you can never go wrong with a random assortment of flowers and bugs under May sunlight, right?