What I have been doing….Playing with Blake…..

This summer has not been one where I could sit on the deck and enjoy the wildlife. The drought made it so I had to buy soaker hoses and develop a plan for watering the shrubs and trees and the garden with targeted slow watering. I would step out to fill the bird feeders and bird baths and be a sweaty mess by the time I came in. I would take the camera out and it would fog over making taking photos impossible.

In June we were supposed to have five windows replaced and then the ice storm damage int he family room repaired. The windows came in damaged and were not able to be put in until the end of June.

Our wonderful painter was trying to repair staining on the family room popcorn ceiling. As she painted, the popcorn came down. The entire ceiling had to be taken down. It had to be patched and sanded ….Even with the room being closed with plastic, the dust got everywhere downstairs. The books in the living room had dust inside. We cleaned every single book and every cupboard in the downstairs. It was a bid task for me as my knee was so limiting.

As we cleaned upstairs, we decided to clean some things out of the basement. That led to an entire cleaning. We donated, recycled and threw out junk and stuff we did not need. The basement is organized and clean. Then we did the garage.

In the meantime, our kitchen sink leaked while we weren’t home. A plumber had to come out and replace the faucet but every thing got wet and we will have to replace the counter. Right after this one of the outside hose spigots broke and we had both replaced from the inside out…

We are still waiting for the bathroom shower to be re-tiled as it really needs it. That was supposed to be done in May….

I ran out of room on this blog as it will be 10 years in January. I contacted WordPress as I didn’t know if I would have to upgrade my level of service and was told I had many photos were huge and if I reduced the size, I could free up a lot of space. So I started with my Nature Notes collages and so far have done 150 of the almost 380 and have freed up 3 GB of space, but it takes time to do this. It has cut into my nightly blog visits and for that I am sorry…

The high point has been seeing our grandson. I was not able to travel in July but my doctor put me on steroids so that my symptoms would calm down and that allowed me to travel to see him..

Blake is almost 17 months old now, not the baby anymore and much as I enjoy the toddler, I miss the baby who let me snuggle him. Now he is too busy to be snuggled..

Blake

Blake

A Ghost in the Making…. 20 minute short film….

Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.— Aldo Leopold

Everyone has heard about bee declines, but with so much attention focused on domesticated honeybees, someone has to speak up for the 4,000 species of native bees in North America. Natural history photographer Clay Bolt is on a multi-year quest to tell the stories of our native bees, and one elusive species – the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee – has become his white whale.

Traveling from state to state in search of the Rusty-patched, he meets the scientists and conservationists working tirelessly to preserve it. Clay’s journey finally brings him to Wisconsin, where he comes face to face with his quarry and discovers an answer to the question that has been nagging him: why save a species?

 In September 2015, thanks to the efforts of the Xerces Society and others, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finally issued a positive 90-day finding for the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee. They agreed to consider the bee for listing under the endangered species act. In 2016, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will determine whether the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee needs to be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

 

The rusty patched bumble bee is an essential pollinator that contributes to our food security and healthy ecosystems, but their existence is under attack. Without pollinators, many of the fruits, vegetables, and flowers we all love and depend on are at risk.

These bees have disappeared from nearly 90% of their historic range likely due to threats related to pesticides, diseases from commercially managed bees, habitat loss, and climate change. The rusty patched bumble bee was once common from the Upper Midwest to the eastern seaboard, but no more. Now, these iconic native pollinators are restricted to small, isolated populations and are risk of extinction.

Please sign the petition…..

https://www.change.org/p/add-the-rusty-patched-bumble-bee-to-the-list-of-endangered-species

Nature Notes #(379)….Summer is coming to an end already….

nature notes logo

Join Nature Notes from Mondays at 11:00 pm EST  to Friday at 11:00 pm EST.

More information can be found at the top of the blog on a separate page, but it really is easy. What are you or have you seen and enjoyed in nature? It can be from your own backyard, the local park, out on a hike or anywhere. What plants and animals catch your interest? Do you garden? Have you read a good book on nature? 

Write a blog post with a photo, a story, a poem, anything goes because I love to see what Mother Nature is up to in your area. Please submit one blog post per week and link back to Nature Notes in some way.

Below is last week’s Nature Notes’ blogger thumbnail photos in a collage. If you photos are protected and/or you don’t want me to use them, please let know. Also listed are all the links to last week’s Nature Notes blog posts if you missed any.

collage 379

1. Gabi, Stich- Schlinge -Germany 7. Orchid’s Daily Voice-( Japan) 13. Raquel Jimenez -Spain
2. Eileen- Viewing Nature- USA 8. Adam Jones- Early Birder- UK 14. Angie The Freckled Rose- USA
3. JP-A Quiet Corner- USA 9. Photos by Birgitta B-Sweden 15. JP- A Quiet Corner- Eagle- USA
4. Juliet- craftygreenpoet- Scotland 10. Freda- Day One- Canada 16. MP UPPAL- You and I-India
5. Krzysiek Helak- Pictografio -Poland 11. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 17. Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 33: 52
6. Sallie (Full Time- Life)- USA 12. JBigg’s Little Pieces – USA

It has been very hot and very humid and when I take the camera out, the lens fogs up making taking photos impossible… We were out of town visiting our grandson so this is a short post…

Red Admiral-Vanessa atalanta

Red Admiral-Vanessa atalanta

What are you seeing in nature? It can be from your own backyard, the local park, out on a hike or anywhere. What plants and animals catch your interest? What do you find interesting in nature? Take a photo, write a post, a story, a poem, anything goes because I love to see what Mother Nature is up to in your area. PS..please check back and visit bloggers who post later in the week!

Have a wonderful week from Michelle

Upstate NY drought worsens to ‘extreme’ in some areas

I have been hand watering or using drip hoses on trees and shrubs here for the past 2 months. Even the usually dry tolerant plants have wilted. We are not under any water restrictions here, but I am targeted and careful. We are 8 inches of rainfall below  the norm for this spring and summer. The pond is the lowest I have ever seen and now has the swamp gas smell that usually only gets noticeable in late fall. I can’t even sit out there as it gives me a headache. The temperatures and humidity have been so high that it is Floridian which is very unusual for us here in western NY…

I have seen only one bumble bee and I wonder if the warm spring followed by the cold and snow killed off the emerging queens. I have only seen 4 species of butterflies and they are few and far between. Up and down the street, people who are not using a drip hose on shrubs and trees have wilted leaves, but green lawns from dumping water on the turf grasses.

The real evidence of drought here… not a single mosquito here….

I go out to fill bird feeders, bird and bee baths, water and come back in the house. If I take my camera out, it fogs up and I can’t get any photos. This will not be a summer that I will look back on with fondness as I miss being out taking photos and sitting in the yard…But there are horrible fires and floods in other parts of the country so I shouldn’t complain…

The drought in some parts of New York has worsened to the “extreme drought” category. We are in the extreme area shown by a red strip.

In today’s weekly report, the National Drought Mitigation Center says that portions of Western New York and the Finger Lakes have now reached the extreme drought category.

About 6 percent of the state is an extreme drought, the center said. That means that there have been “major crop/pasture losses” and “widespread water shortages or restrictions.”

“Extreme” is the second-highest of five drought categories. No part of New York has been in a severe drought since 2002, and then it was just 3 percent of the state.

The only higher level is “exceptional drought,” and that hasn’t happened in New York in the 16 years the drought center has compiled records.

Some of those areas, however, have a rainfall deficit of 8 inches this spring and summer.

2016 drought

 

The drought is likely to last through November, the Climate Prediction Center said today. We are the brown in New York.

season_drought 2016

We are lucky to have water from the Niagara River and to have Lake Erie near by as they are not as affected a local streams and creeks some of which have gone dry. I didn’t know that this really started last fall by little rain and was made much worse by the mild winter and lack of snow which helps our water table. I am hoping for a pattern change, but these extreme events seem to be occurring more often now and are very worrisome…

Nature Notes (#378)~ Enjoy the sounds of insects…

nature notes logo

Join Nature Notes from Mondays at 11:00 pm EST  to Friday at 11:00 pm EST.

More information can be found at the top of the blog on a separate page, but it really is easy. What are you or have you seen and enjoyed in nature? It can be from your own backyard, the local park, out on a hike or anywhere. What plants and animals catch your interest? Do you garden? Have you read a good book on nature? 

Write a blog post with a photo, a story, a poem, anything goes because I love to see what Mother Nature is up to in your area. Please submit one blog post per week and link back to Nature Notes in some way.

Below is last week’s Nature Notes’ blogger thumbnail photos in a collage. If you photos are protected and/or you don’t want me to use them, please let know. Also listed are all the links to last week’s Nature Notes blog posts if you missed any.

collage-375

1. Andrea in this Lifetime- Philippines 8. Orchid’s Daily Voice-( Japan) 15. Photos by Birgitta B-Sweden
2. Eileen- Viewing Nature- USA 9. Angie The Freckled Rose- USA 16. MP UPPAL- You and I-India
3. Florence -Ruminations -USA 10. Maria Gagliano- Maria’s Space- USA 17. bettyl -Photographing- NZ
4. Adam- The Early Birder- USA 11. KL- Beautiful World & Novice Naturalist- USA 18. Raquel Jimenez -Spain
5. Anni- Cotton… cooking… creative sketch- USA 12. Freda -Day One- Canada 19. Alexa T.- Gand Calator- Romania
6. Sofie’s World -Belgium 13. JBigg- Little Pieces- USA 20. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©
7. Krzysiek Helak- Pictografio -Poland 14. Jesh StG -USA

I needed a refresher on insect sounds…..

About 10 years ago I bought a book about the songs of insects which is now out of print. But the authors have kept their website going and it is a great place to learn about the insect sounds of summer which I love… (The insect photos are mine)

I hope this will inspire you to learn a little more about the insects in your area and what calls they make as it opens a whole new part of nature to appreciate at I do now…

http://songsofinsects.com/

sounds of insects guide

 

The Songs of Insects by Lang Elliott and Wil Hershberger is the book I have and here is what they say about using their website….

The high-pitched songs of crickets, katydids, grasshoppers, and cicadas are a prominent element of summer and early fall in most of North America. These wonderful musicians chirp, click, zip, rattle, and lisp from trees, shrubs, lawns, fields, woodlands — from just about all habitats, and sometimes from inside our homes.

Finding and identifying a singing insect can be a wonderful challenge. These pages will expose you to over 70 common and widespread species, and will help you identify many of the singers that you will hear in your immediate surroundings and in the countryside far from home. With the help of a flashlight and considerable patience, you will be able to track down individual singers and perhaps even view a singing performance firsthand!

Our Insect Musicians: You can look by group or by species using the thumbnails on the web site…., Crickets ,Katydids ,Grasshoppers (Locusts). Cicadas

Thumbnail Guide to All Species

Biology of Insect Song

Singing insects produce sounds in a variety of ways. Members of the order Orthoptera typically create sounds by “stridulation,” which is the rubbing of one body part against another. Among crickets and katydids, the base of the forewings are specially modified for sound production . A sharp edge or “scraper” is located on the upper surface of the lower wing and is rubbed against a row of bumps known as the “file” on the underside of the upper wing. Sounds produced in this fashion range from melodic trills or chirps of crickets to the high-pitched raspy squawks, buzzes, and shuffles of katydids and grasshoppers..

During sound production, crickets and katydids elevate their wings and then move them back and forth rapidly. The wings vibrate as a result of the scraper rubbing against the file and setting the wings in motion. Among field and ground crickets, the wings are held above the body at a moderate angle with the wings spread slightly to the sides. The tree crickets hold their wings nearly vertically above their bodies while singing. Katydids barely elevate their wings, just raising them enough above their bodies so that the wings can vibrate.

KATYDID

Scudderia bush katydid

Scudderia bush katydid

GRASSHOPPERS

Although our native grasshoppers (Acrididae) do not stridulate with their wings, many do stridulate using their hind legs against the closed wings. Short peg-like bumps on the inside of their hind femurs function something like the file, the edge of the closed wing acts as the scraper. They can only produce sound on the downward motion of the leg against the wing as the pegs would snag on the edge of the wing on up stroke. Singing males can be recognized by the rapid up-and-down motion of their hind legs, one going up while the other is going down. Sounds produced in this fashion are quite and shuffling in quality. Band-winged grasshoppers may also “crepitate” in flight by snapping their wings taught or clapping their wings together over their bodies creating a crackling or buzzing sound.

Red-legged Grasshopper-Melanoplus (male)

Red-legged Grasshopper-Melanoplus (male)

CICADAS

In contrast to the Orthopterans, male Cicadas have a pair of special sound-producing organs or “tymbals” located on the sides of the basal abdominal segment, just behind their wings. The contraction of muscles causes ribs in the tymbal to bend suddenly producing sounds that resonate within the large tracheal air sac within the abdomen. Cicadas produce the loudest of insect sounds, far surpassing the volume and range of Orthopteran singers.

Linnes Cicada

Linnes Cicada

Below from Lang Elliott-A lovely setting for this little Long-spurred meadow katydid as he sings on a sunny afternoon. A slow motion segment helps us to see what the wings are really doing while he sings.©2010 Wil Hershberger, The Music of Nature, http://www.musicofnature.org

**********

What are you seeing in nature? It can be from your own backyard, the local park, out on a hike or anywhere. What plants and animals catch your interest? What do you find interesting in nature? Take a photo, write a post, a story, a poem, anything goes because I love to see what Mother Nature is up to in your area. PS..please check back and visit bloggers who post later in the week!

Have a wonderful week from Michelle