With all the rain we’ve had lately, plus the cooler temperatures of fall, the habitat is just a rainbow of blooms. But even more exciting is all the wildlife one sees when walking through the O.W.L. A hummingbird was spotted drinking nectar from a red Salvia, and Lesser Goldfinches looked for insects in the Zexmenia. Bumblebees are enjoying the Mealy Blue Sage, and Bordered Patch Butterflies are busy getting ready to lay their eggs.
Check out this caterpillar on our Coral Honeysuckle! It’s the caterpillar of the Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth, a really cool moth that drinks nectar from flowers in the daytime and flies around just like hummingbirds do. We actually have several caterpillars, but they are good at hiding with their green camouflage. You’ll have to look closely!
The milkweed is covered in aphids, little yellow pest bugs. They suck the juices out of the milkweed, but the milkweed perseveres. The good thing about aphids, though, is that they are the food of choice for ladybugs, and we have lots of ladybugs in the garden right now.
If you look closely, you can also see ladybug larva, which don’t look very much like ladybugs at all! I’ll try to get a picture up on the blog soon.
And we have lacewing eggs — several have been spotted all around the garden. Lacewing larva are also great for aphid control. It’s a whole predator-prey cycle taking place right in our O.W.L.! Ecology in action!