Cordulegaster obliqua, Arrowhead Spiketail -- this one was quite fresh and hadn't completely dried after emerging from its nymphal skin. It was about 3 inches long.
Here's a close-up view of its head and thorax.
Carphophis amoenus amoenus -- a long name for a tiny little Worm Snake...
...with quite a pretty belly.
These snakes are very small. Adults range in size from 7.5 to 12.5 inches (191 to 318 mm). Earthworms make up most of their diet.
I believe this fungus is one of the tree-ears, but I haven't tried to key it out yet. The top surface feels velvety and the underside is smooth.
Absolutely no idea what these will turn out to be, but they were so positively pink I had to show them to you. Perhaps one of the puff-ball fungi? I will go back and check on them tomorrow to see how they have matured.
Thanks for stopping by! Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Memorial Day weekend.
Please check back toward the end of next week and I'll try to have something up for you.
I bit the bullet and joined the Google Groups thing because I really would like to resolve this picture posting issue. What did I learn? Number one, I am far from alone in this problem -- it is mildly rampant! And number two, there appears to be no resolution for it. People have tried a tremendous range of remedies, but to no avail. Plus there were MANY letters referring to the lack of response to requests for help.
C'est la vie!
So, I am giving Photobucket a try. Thus far its performance has been less than stellar...maybe I'm just not holding my mouth right or something...
Things are a trifle hectic here in the swamp at the moment and I just don't know if I have the time or patience to deal with software that won't work. Perhaps when things calm down, and I have enough time to deal with troubleshooting, I will get back to posting regularly, but for now I think I am hanging up my blogging hat.
You all take care of yourselves -- even though you are invisible "e-people," I have come to consider you friends (don't we live in very strange times?).
So, being a responsible-type, I go to the online help which refers me to the online forum where, by gosh, I find someone with an inquiry about the exact same problem! When I click on the reply to said inquiry to learn how to fix this little problem, I am told that I must first join Google Groups. Why? I am already a Picasa and Hello user and I am just looking for a solution to a problem with the software I am already using. Maybe I am just in a mood today...but I don't want to have to join to get an answer.
By tonight I will probably fold and sign up for the blasted GG, but for right now I am going to stick out my lower lip, put my hands on my hips, stomp my foot, and whine. When I am done raging against the machine I will attempt to post again. So please know that in the meantime, I am thinking of all you swamp-deprived people out there and I am still taking pictures to share.
...it's called "questing" in the tick world.
Ever so patiently this female Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum) waits, with sensor-equipped forelegs raised, for an unsuspecting host to happen by. When a likely prospect brushes against the grass, the tick grabs on (no, they can't jump) and scurries to find a spot to tuck in for a blood meal.
The snake was probably caught and eaten by a Red-Shouldered Hawk. The left-overs have provided meals for several fly species, ants, and now carrion beetles.
The economy of nature is a marvelous thing.
As you can see, they are getting bigger -- must be munching out on their own siblings. It's a bug-eat-bug world out there!
Imagine my surprise when I discovered the source of all that noise was a trio of Southeastern Five-lined Skinks (Eumeces inexpectatus) trapped in an old metal pail. Seems I had happened upon a sort of lizard soap opera -- a love triangle, if you will.
How the trio managed to get into the pail is a mystery, but it was apparent that they couldn't get out. Since I didn't know how long they had been trapped, I immediately got them some water. All three were quite thirsty. The female, pictured below, parked herself in the water to drink.
One of the male skinks was a bit battered. He was missing quite a few of his posterior dorsal scales as well as the last inch or so of his tail. You can see the severed tail segment there by his left hind leg.
The other male looked to be in better shape. He wasn't missing as many scales and his tail was intact.
So which male was the successful suitor? My money is on the battered one. I think the reason he was so chewed up is because he was, uh, occupied by his attentions to the female and thus too busy to bother fighting back. Guess we'll never know for sure though.
After confirming our ID and taking some pictures, we released all three skinks and turned the pail upside-down to prevent future entrapment. I may poke around the out-building in the coming weeks to see if I can find the female and her eggs. I'd like to think that there will be some offspring to show for all that trauma of being stuck in the pail.
It was a treat to find this intact luna moth. Usually, I find only the wings - apparently these moths are quite tasty to various nocturnal predators - or well worn moths that are tattered and tired. This one has one small tear in its right forewing, but aside from that it is in perfect shape.
Judging by the large, feathered antennae, I am inclined to believe this one is a male.
...to great big bullfrogs.
The bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana, is our largest frog. Measured from tip of snout to base of, uh, tail, this species ranges in size from 3.5 to 8 inches (85 to 200 mm).
When a frog feels threatened, it will puff up its body. Pick up a toad sometime and notice how fat it gets (and don't worry if it wets on you, you won't get warts).
My, what big feet this frog has.
I think frogs and toads have the most beautiful eyes.
One last shot, a big smile for the camera, and we thanked the frog and let it go.
It wasted no time in returning to its home in the culvert by the office!
I am simply too tired to write anything about this snake other than to tell you it is an odd looking black racer that has camped out in a dead tree in our front yard.
Perhaps when I have recouperated from the drive back from Charlotte I will able to think and type coherently. Until then, hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.
(Home...there's no place like it and I am very happy to be back.)
Oh well, whether we know what species it is or not, I can still appreciate it for its beauty.
The ant in the picture is after the nectar produced by the flower and exuded along the orange surfaces. It is a sweet treat and we can be seen taking a taste now and then when we are lucky enough to find a fresh flower.
You can see the nectar if you look closely at the orange part of the flower above. It tastes like honey. Of course, I recommend inspecting the flower before tasting the nectar -- unless, of course, you don't mind eating an ant or two. :)
This one thought it was hidden because it couldn't see me...
...but when I moved a couple of feet to the right - smile, little 'possum!
They're such cute little critters. I wonder if they are the offspring of the cropped-tailed opossum that was hanging around here this winter. Guess I'll never know unless I happen to see them all together before the little possums are completely on their own.
Good thing frogs aren't sensitive to poison ivy or this green treefrog (Hyla cinerea) would be itchy in all the wrong places.
In this "before" picture, a Cabbage White caterpillar (Pieris rapae) seems to be enjoying the broccoli in our garden. While we don't use pesticides, we aren't adverse to pinching the heads off poachers! I'll spare you the "after" picture.
A Northern Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus aestivus) just hanging out in a high bush blueberry. I have never had a green snake even attempt to bite me, but every one I have ever caught has treated me to a foul-smelling spray from its anal vent.