Mantis Babies!

In the patio area behind our office we had some praying mantis egg cases set  on the branches of some of the bushes.  We had been waiting for weeks for them to hatch, and today it got warm enough outside to wake the babies up.  We didn’t see them as they were hatching, but saw them right after they came out and were running all over the bushes.  When they hatch they drop out of the case attached to thin filaments that look like the  silky lines on parachutes, then detach themselves from the filaments to seek a sunny spot to warm up and get their exoskeletons hardened.  Our new hatchlings were all pale brown, and very teeny.  We noticed that some of them were jumping into spider webs on one of the bushes, so we pulled them out of there… but still one of the spiders was seen with a mantis-snack in its mouth.  We also saw one mantis-baby that had hatched, but then just didn’t make it: it was laying on top of the case, folded over like it was “sleeping” on its side.  We were saddened by the deaths, but still happy that we’d had a chance to see the babies when they were all so new.  We were worried that they’d hatch over the weekend and we’d miss them entirely.

Here are some photos:

September BBQ Slated, and Planning to overnight in the Sherlock Holmes Room

Tuleyome is having a summer BBQ for their members in September, and it’s going to be at Lake Berryessa.  I went online today to see if I could find a place close to there to overnight that weekend, and found a place called the Abbey House Inn in Winters, CA.  I’ll get there Friday in the late afternoon, overnight there, go to the picnic on Saturday and overnight at the inn again, and then head home on Sunday morning.  I made reservations today, and asked for the “Sherlock Holmes” room… which has it’s own bathroom and fireplace.  Should be fun.  I can’t wait to see the place.

Monday… Super Quiet Day

On Monday, Memorial Day, I went for a walk with Sergeant Margie at the American River Bend Park and was sort of expecting to see campers there and stuff — but it was deserted.  Just me, Sergeant Margie, a few joggers, bugs, turkeys and the occasional mule deer.  Nice! We walked for about 2-1/2 hours before heading back home.  I didn’t get a lot of photos on our walk, but the exercise was good.  The rest of the day was just super-quiet… overcast with a little angel-spit rain in the afternoon.

A Nest in Our Front Yard

My brother, Marty, pointed out to me that there’s a big bird’s nest in one of the camellia bushes in the front yard, so, of course, I had to go investigate.  I’m no expert, but from what I’ve read, based on the construction and materials used, I think it’s a robin’s nest.  We’ve got a lot of robins around here.  The nest is made of twigs, grass, and a lot of mud, and large enough to hold a brood of big robin nestlings.  From what I’ve read, the mama shapes in the side smooth with her breast and belly, to get the shape just right and then fills the cup with soft grass and hair.  Awww… I wonder if this is an old nest or one still under construction?  I’ll have to keep an eye on it.

My Native Bees Article

The Daily Democrat newspaper just published my article on native bees on their website.  The in-print version may be out next week.  The on-line version of the article didn’t include Allan Jones’ photo… so I’m adding one of my own to this post.

Male Carpenter Bee (AKA "Teddy Bear Bee").  Photo by Mary K. Hanson, (c) Copyright 2013.  All rights reserved.
Male Carpenter Bee (AKA “Teddy Bear Bee”). Photo by Mary K. Hanson, (c) Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

I also got word from the Xerces Society that they’re going to try to hook me up with someone to help me with an article I want to write on local dragonflies and damselflies.  Yay!

A little update: On May 29th, my bee article also appeared on the NewsGardener.com site.

Update 06-03-13:  the article has also appeared in the Davis Enterprise newspaper and on the Topix,Sacramento website.  Yay!