Check out the little face - you may have to click the photo to get a better look. I'm pretty sure it's some sort of Cookie Monster or some other resident of Sesame Street - yep, yep, yep, yep, yep.

Nah, I guess not.

The trails through the leaf were created by the larvae of a species of fly -- Phytomyza ilicicola, Holly leafminer -- the "face" marks the spot where the flies emerged.

[Photo courtesy of Treebeard] Posted by Picasa


10-41, 10-7

I'll be gone the next four days...having big fun at in-service training. Tis the time of year we get our legal updates, review special popualtions, review the latest in dealing with domestic violence and gangs, requalify with our firearms, learn new subject control and arrest techniques, and have our physical assessments.

Don't you wish you were going with me? (FC, you don't count - you probably would enjoy it!)

I'll try to post something next weekend. Meanwhile, y'all have a good one!

Addendum to Yesterday's Post


A picture from October of 2005 - Treebeard was holding out on me, I found this one in his files.

As the mantid lays her eggs the ootheca expands and dries. Kinda like squirting out insulating foam :)

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Oothecae, Variations on a Theme

A Chinese mantid ootheca (top) and a Carolina mantid ootheca (bottom). The young pines that ring the old field below my house are a popular place for mantids to secure their eggcases. It usually only takes a moment or two of looking to find several cases of each type. Can't wait to see the little ones come spring.

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And now something totally unrelated...Posted just because I think it's pretty - I can't give you an ID, sorry. And sorry I couldn't post the picture using Hello. It would have looked a lot better if I could have.

Note: I am not liking this business of posting pictures with the "Blog This" button, but Hello tells me that "bloggerbotisdead."
And while I'm complaining, I may as well note that Google won't switch my blog to the new version and it won't tell me why. Good thing I am not an overly sensitive person or I would feel as if I am being singled out and picked on


Going Up


A young crossvine climbing a relatively young sycamore. Wonder what it will look like if I come back in 10 or 15 years... Posted by Picasa


Waxwings Everywhere

I spy with my little eye...

...a whole flock of cedar waxwings gobbling down berries from supplejack vines.


This and That

I've been pressed for time of late and haven't had a chance to put together a coherent post. Hopefully this little disjointed post will satisfy the reader who emailed me with the complaint that I hadn't posted anything "swampy" in a while :) I will try to do better in the future -- say, February?

Many thanks to Treebeard for holding this pair of very active ticks for me. I wanted a picture of both sexes but couldn't hold them and focus the camera at the same time - the little suckers are quick! The female is the larger one on the left, the male is on the right. The Black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) is a carrier of Lyme disease. Luckily we seldom find them attached.

A surprise on the forest floor. This is a puttyroot leaf. Puttyroot, a.k.a. Adam-and-Eve, Aplectrum hyemale, is a native orchid that blooms in the spring. It is much more common in the mountains and piedmont of my state so I didn't expect to find it here in the work swamp.

Not sure which species of potter wasp constructed this nest. I will have to keep an eye on it and see what emerges in the spring.

Are you lookin' at me? White-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus.

Treebeard snapped this picture of a hermit thrush, Catharus guttatus, from his truck window. He seems to be enjoying the new digital camera that Santa brought him.



Nope, she's not a happy cat. Not happy at all. She is peeved...

...with him. Note the little tuft of black kitty fur caught in his claw. But before you take her side there is something you should know, she split his ear for him a couple of days ago.

Yep, it's sooo peaceful around here with two cats just learning to get along. The icing on the cake...I think Wiki is going into heat. But poor Bullet, being neutered, can't figure out what's going on. He knows something interesting is happening, he just can't figure out how to participate.

Meanwhile us human types are just toughing it out until I can get an appointment to have Wiki spayed. Although I have noticed Wiki eyeing Treebeard with interest...the little tramp ;) Posted by Picasa