If we pay attention, Mother Nature sends clues that She is gearing up for a change in season.
A parade of my favorite fall arrivals is starting to march through our garden. Getting a viewing spot along the parade route early is helpful… none of these special visitors is destined to stay.
The following images celebrate first sightings of some of my favorite Fall forecasters. These critters are at the beginning of the Fall lineup… more will follow. Great timing for this week’s Lens-Artists photo challenge… Favorite Finds. Thank you, Ann-Christine for this very special theme.
From late spring and through most of the summer, the Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly is the primary butterfly seen floating about our forest edge and gardens. Then, poof, as if by magic, the Swallowtails all but vanish. Late in August, they are replaced by abundant, vivacious chorus lines of Woodland Skippers… little dancing troupes of miniature butterflies flit in and around flowers all the while dipping long tongues into stamens. Presto- out comes tiny particles of pollen. This is probably one of the last butterfly species to harvest pollen before the Fall frost shuts down pollen production until Spring.
Although Oregon is in this little bird’s breeding range, I believe we see this species on its migratory route back to Mexico each Autumn. Anna’s Hummingbird, the year-round resident, puts up with being chased away from flowers and feeders for a few weeks each year as the Rufous Hummingbirds pass through. This photo captured one such victory- the Rufous scoring an evening sip in the salvia patch after chasing the Anna’s on its way.
Woolly Bear Caterpillar
It’s a sure sign of Fall when kids go back to school. And… the same is true when Woolly Bear caterpillars go crawling about looking to find shelter before winter. As children slip into classroom desks, Woolly Bear Caterpillars slip into spaces that will be buffered against the cold, such as under logs and leaf piles.
Eventually, the caterpillars stop feeding and empty their digestive and excretory systems by pooping out any contents. Then they produce and insect “antifreeze” made of sugars, proteins, and alcohol. The antifreeze circulates in their blood and helps Woolly Bears survive cold winter temperatures until the Spring when they come out of hiding to form cocoons and eventually emerge as Isabella Tiger Moths.
Skippers dancing with pollen stashes
Rufous wings that beat in quick flashes
Black-orange stripes that turn into wings
These are a few of my favorite things
When the mosquito bites~Adaptation: Jane Wilson
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad
~Original Songwriters: Richard Rodgers / Oscar Hammerstein
Lens Artists Photo Challenge #214- Favorite Finds