Flowers, Bugs, Baby Birds, and Eggs…

I got up around 6:30 this morning and went out with Sergeant Margie right away so we could take a walk while it was still cool outside.  (It’s going up to 108° today.)  Before we left the house, though, I threw my laundry into the washing machine so it could clean while we were out.  We went over to the WPA Rock Garden.  There were quite a few people out with their dogs; we all had the same idea, I guess.  When I got out of the car with the dog, I noticed a long thick line of seed in the gutter along the road… and the seed were “jumping”.  I think they must’ve had moisture in them, and as the sun was coming up and they were warming up, they bounced all over the place.  It was like watching solid “effervescence”.  So weird and so kewl at the same time.  I got a little video of it:

            During out walk I got some flowers photos, but we also saw a dead crow, four Green Herons (I’d never seen that many in one place before; I wonder if they’re nesting pairs), a couple of female Mallards with their ducklings, and Small Milkweed Bug (Lygaeus kalmia) having sex.  We also came across two kinds of bug eggs.  Some were plain white and laid on the underside of a mullein plant leaf; and then we found some black and white striped ones along with some juvenile Harlequin Bugs (Murgantia histrionic).  All of the bugs were in their second instar (shed), and were eating the old skins they’d left behind.  Creepy and interesting.  Later we came across a big Daddy Long Legs.  I didn’t know this, but Daddy Long Legs are actually called “Harvestmen” and aren’t classified with other spiders.  “…The most obvious difference between harvestmen and spiders is that in harvestmen the connection between the cephalothorax and abdomen is broad, so that the body appears to be a single oval structure. Other differences are that Opiliones have no venom glands in their chelicerae. They also have no silk glands and therefore they do not build webs…”  Neat, huh?

We walked for about two hours, and then headed back to the car.  On the way out of the garden, we saw a big crayfish sunning himself by the side of the duck pond.  Hah!