This is my contribution to Wildlife Wednesday which is hosted by Tina at My Gardener Says. Her invitation: to share pictures & experiences of local wildlife on the first Wednesday of each month.
Caught in the act!
It sounded like hail falling but I knew it was really a squirrel eating green pecans and tossing away the hard bits. The debris is sharp enough that I need to wear shoes outside now. Weather lore says that when squirrels eat green nuts a hard winter approaches but here’s another theory: she is sick of sunflower seeds and impatient for something new and sweet. We didn’t have a pecan harvest last year so it must be a bit like having a new restaurant open up in the neighbourhood. Is she smiling or am I wrong?
I was really hoping to get a picture of a nice pink gecko. ‘Tis the season when they start looking for shelter but no sightings, yet.
I did see this little guy. As far as I can tell this is a tree lizard, Urosaurus ornatus. The scales look so polished and glossy I could almost imagine him slipping through river rocks instead of clinging to tree bark.
I like this next picture because it shows how well they blend into an arboreal environment. He was giving the stink eye to my cat suntanning on a bench below. She was happily oblivious.
My buddy Mr. Toad …
now loiters near the front door. A tiny but brawny bouncer. Does the world seem more precious when seen through gemstones?
And a Surprise!
I see squirrels and lizards all the time. But I have never before seen a blue and orange wasp! This gorgeous fellow is A TARANTULA HAWK! We met while I was admiring the wild peppervine yesterday.
I am glad I didn’t bump into his lover. Don’t EVER make a female tarantula hawk angry. The infamous entomologist Justin Schmidt (who has been stung by everything) says she has one of the most painful stings in the world — he has described it as like being hit by 20,000 volts. Luckily, the effect wears off within five minutes and they don’t go around looking for fights.
The couple enjoy flowers for their own nourishment but they run a kind of macabre household. Inside their underground lair a paralysed tarantula lies awake while baby tarantula hawks slowly consume its body. oh wow lovely
More on the Schmidt Insect Sting Pain Index …