Monday, June 30, 2014

Bumblebee Charity Scarf

Feelin' the need to do some good, and add more insect themed accessories to your wardrobe? Follow this link to see/purchase beautiful scarves created by freelance textile designer, Kate Palmer, at Sparrows Green.
The scarf that caught my attention, obviously, is the one retweeted on Twitter below. Portions, or all, of the proceeds for this scarf go to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. (No specification on the amount donated per scarf...but some of it, at least.)

Follow this link to order at Sparrows Green Once I start getting paychecks again (despite what many think, teachers don’t get paid over the summer) I might have to celebrate the end of my temporary poverty by ordering one for myself. All of the scarves at Sparrows Green are beautiful and unique. Keep shipping costs in mind. The designer is in London.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Celebrate BIG! It's National Insect Week

Hey there!
It’s National Insect Week. Time to celebrate big time, and by that I mean it's time to post pictures of some of the larger than usual bugs I’ve spotted lately. I’m not sure if it was our super cold winter, the extra moist spring, the bizarre acorn shortage or what, but we are growing them big in Virginia this year. I have seen some massive centipedes, silverfish and ants. I’m talkin’ quarter-sized ants. For real…

I’ll start with everyone’s favorite, dragonflies. There is one that’s been buzzing around our backyard and it’s humungous. It might be a giant darner (anax walsinghami). Seriously, this dragonfly is larger than a hummingbird but smaller than a cardinal. Unfortunately, it won’t hold still for a photo. Maybe I could try to catch a quick video at some point.   
In the meantime, you’ll have to settle with another big one who spent the night in my tent while I camped along the Shenandoah this past weekend.
Ignore my chipped nails. Who gets a manicure before a weekend of river activities? Sheesh

Also, check out what I found inside the tent, a molted dragonfly nymph casing. I must say, it was not as adorable as the final product. I have concluded that my tent was the venue for its metamorphosis.

Another big insect I captured on camera recently was this teacup saucer sized wolf spider. This is not an unusual size for a wolf, but I usually don’t see them this big until early fall. I hope to see this one again once it’s fattened up.

So, to return to the whole National Insect Week party, check out the website for the National Insect Week sponsored by the Royal Entomological Society. I suppose this is national for the UK and not necessarily the US. But, you know what? I have found that some the best entomology sites/organizations exist in the UK. They love their bugs! The site is full of fun facts, events, contests and learning resources for teachers. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Lunas Return

Being a school teacher and sponsor of the senior class means I am busy, busy, busy in the early spring finalizing the school year and preparing for graduation. Then, I need a week or so after graduation to decompress and almost literally think about nothing. Seriously, I spend hours playing Candy Crush until the stress dreams stop.

I was enjoying Spring for being spring; however, and taking a lot of pictures.
I'll start with the collection of luna moth (actias luna) visitors. They seem to start showing up near the end of May and stay through mid-June.
Here are some pics I caught with my Nikon N50 zoom lens and others with my phone.

Nikon shot. This is one of the first times I have seen the lunas in the wild and not clinging to the side of my house.

Another Nikon shot. It was cool to see the moth sort of using its camouflage. I can see how it might fool some animals... It definitely looks lovely enough to attract a mate.

Here are a couple of others that haven't been tweeted yet:
These are Samsung 5 shots:
On the porch rail this time...

Luna on a Deck Rail by Cozytailmom on deviantART

And their favorite spot...

Luna on Bricks IV by Cozytailmom on deviantART