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The Daily Bucket is a place where we post and exchange our observations about what is happening in the natural world in our neighborhood. Bugs, buds, birds - each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
Friday the 13th of April 2012.

This is a ramble thru my yard, hopefully like the delightful manner of this e lutris diary.

Bugs, buds, birds - got 'em covered. And fightin' lizards too!

Here to start off is a Hairstreak. Guessing Banded Hairstreak - Satyrium calanus. This and the Redbanded and Gray are very similar so identifying from photos can be daunting. My ID point was the blue spot on hind wing, going left towards head is black and not red like the other 2. Also there is some red on upper wing but not as much as Redbanded. But - - I may be wrong...


While tending some coralbean seedlings I spotted this caterpillar running thru the litter. Over an inch long, it could cover some ground fast but without any sense of direction.

What caught my eye was its habit of stopping and looking up - with a start, its head and a few feet jumping up. You lookin' at me?  Gorgeous caterpillar with the contrast below; yeah I'm lookin' at you.

My pride and joy in the yard. Matelea gonocarpus - anglepod, a milkweed vine. This is a recurring colony on a brush pile. Over my head now, the pile is never tall enough. The tendrils climb up and reach past into the sky and fall over, and twine around each other for strength, and reach up again searching.

This is it for the blooms - a dime-sized star, sorta purple and grungy, lined up for offerings.

Hundreds of blooms all thru the summer and fall but I have yet to find a milkweed pod in this colony. The winter the year before when hacking thru the summer vines of grape, greenbriar & poison ivy I found 3 pods, one still holding some silk and seeds. Those seeds are still viable this year as I grow to give away and spread the beauty of this threatened species. Loss of habitat, environmental destruction, the usual...

A similar plant growing in the side yard - leaves are alternate instead of opposite. This with several leaves is a big one; most have only a few leaves. At first I thought it was pipevine (aristolochia tomentosa) but I doubt that now. Haven't seen a flower altho there are a couple dozen vines coming up each year, small leaves, same place in yard with heavy leaf litter, well-shaded.

Coralbean  - Erythrina herbacea  Beautiful flowers, perfect for hummingbirds. The stalks persist thru the winter with 4-6" beanpods slowly opening to yield red and black seeds. Now that I know to scar the hard seedcover before planting, I've had great success with seedlings this year.

New growth on southern magnolia. These are the new leaves unwrapping; leaves from last year (6-8", tough, do not decompose easily) are dropping off. Some of these end buds hold flowers but they will take weeks to develop into the showy plate-sized white unusual blooms.

Find the dragonfly. HINT - it's green (and a bit out of focus).

Better shot of dragonfly. I was aiming blind looking down and it was kind to let me zoom in to an inch. No idea as to what kind altho with black banding on abdomen, it could be a pondhawk.

Fight! Fight! After much swelling and pumping and infusing themselves with glorious color, they did fight. If they get to this point there is no backing down. Sudden lunge, locking jaws, twisting bodies and tails, hanging to railing and one eventually breaks loose. These 2 went off and on for a couple days. Maybe a hawk will swoop down for an easy meal and I have fewer green anoles fighting for territory on my deck.

The big satellite bird bath, shallow and wide. Birds skip the yellow bowl inside but we use it as a good focus point. Photo by my grandson, the hopeful naturalist. He was so excited to capture this very wet cardinal.

Well alright  - 13 pictures of my yard for Friday the 13th. Looks like Saturday before I publish, but I'm sure it will be another beautiful day here in the woods west of Tallahassee. Rain tomorrow is good - despite the big Florida State University Spring Football Game. Ya know? That huge stadium for 85 thousand humans and not a tree in sight. How weird is that?

So what's going on in your neck of the woods? Got any fighting lizards? Funny caterpillars? Mysterious insects?

Originally posted to Backyard Science on Sat Apr 14, 2012 at 08:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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