Tag Archives: caterpillar

One-Word Wednesday

I snapped this whopper of a caterpillar Saturday morning. Google indicates that it could be a heterocampa, which becomes a moth.

I snapped a pic of this whopper of a caterpillar during my run Saturday morning. Google indicates that it could be a heterocampa, which becomes a moth.

Huge!

Another Very Hungry Caterpillar Tale

Nom nom!

Nom nom!

While I was still mourning the loss of our three caterpillars, nature decided to teach me another lesson.

A couple weeks ago I noticed that our thoroughly devoured butterfly bush had regrown its leaves. The very next day we had yet another temporary visitor chewing away—yep, it was a monarch caterpillar!

The pickings got slim in a hurry.

The pickings got slim in a hurry.

This time there was no competition for all that tasty greenery. I’m sure the little guy preferred being a solo act.

Part of its bar routine

Part of his bar routine

Plus it left plenty of room for the caterpillar to show off his gymnastics skills. This multicolored guy totally entertained me with his stunts around the once-again naked plant.

But all too soon my pal disappeared into the mulch. I wondered if he would be able to find our house so he could eventually pupate.

Not a good place to be

Not a good place to be

The next morning I finally spotted him near our front door, inching his way up the door jamb. That definitely wasn’t the best spot for him to eventually “J” and form his chrysalis.

Caterpillar on a stick

Moving day

So I found a stick, which he climbed on to. Then I gently placed him at the bottom of our front porch’s wall so he could ascend undisturbed.

Two’s company

Two’s company

Before long he was on top of our front entry’s arch, settling in near one of the asps’ cocoons.

Hanging by a thread

Hanging by a thread

By the afternoon, the caterpillar was precariously hanging off the arch. Pupation awaited!

Success . . . for awhile

Success . . . for awhile

When I checked the next morning, this chrysalis greeted me. As happy as I was that we might see another monarch butterfly emerge, I wondered if it would last for two weeks. The location of the bright, green exoskeleton seemed too out in the open, too tempting for hungry birds.

Sure enough, the very next day, there was nothing left of the leaf-stripping, hard-working caterpillar. The chrysalis was gone.

And, once again, I’m in mourning. Sigh!

A New Twist On an Old Children’s Tale

Our beautiful butterfly bush a week ago

Our beautiful butterfly bush a week ago

One of our favorite books to read to our boys back in the day was “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” Oh, how our sons loved turning each colorful page, wonderfully written and illustrated by Eric Carle, to see what the the critter was up to . . . and eating . . . next! It was a family classic.

Little did I realize that a dozen or so years later that we would be living out our very own version of that cute story. But we had to rename it.

Hi, guys!

Hi, guys!

We call our tale, “The Very Voracious Caterpillars . . . Plus Tiny.” The plot is simple: First, we had lovely blooms on the butterfly bush in our front yard.

Munch munch!

Munch munch!

Then last Monday, I noticed two monarch caterpillars slowly but surely eating up the plant. Of course, that’s what it’s for: To eventually grow butterflies.

Welcome to the family, little guy!

Welcome to the family, little guy!

The next day Tiny, the smallest caterpillar I’ve ever seen, joined the group on the vegetation. Unfortunately, for him, there was no way he could out-eat his jumbo brethren.

The trio

The trio

The other two hogs kept growing larger, while Tiny, well, he kept his petite figure.

Gnawing on the bone

Gnawing on the bone

By last Wednesday morning, the plant was stripped bare. Plus one of the big guys had wandered away. All that was left was one still-voracious caterpillar and Tiny.

A thorny situation

A thorny situation

So the big guy inched his way over to a nearby rose bush, while Tiny got lost in the mulch.

The bare butterfly bush

The bare butterfly bush

Unlike the Carle version, our yarn doesn’t have a happy ending . . . yet. I lost track of the big guy and Tiny and haven’t seen any of the three hanging off the house or forming chrysalises.

But I remain hopeful that one of these days a gorgeous monarch butterfly will flit my way and wave hello . . . and good-bye.

What’s Wooly Waldo?

It looks so fluffy.

Do you know what this is?

When I glanced out my front door’s windows yesterday afternoon, something scooching up the wall caught my eye. You know me . . . first, I grabbed my Nikon dSLR. Then I opened the door and started snapping away.

Bizarre!

My first guess was that this was a fuzzy caterpillar. It was tempting to touch it . . . but ewwwwww! No way was I going near this wooly worm-like creature (glad I wielded a 105mm lens). I had never seen anything like it before.

Are those eyelashes it’s batting at me?

Good thing my fear of creepy, crawly critters made me keep my distance. A Google search identified my visitor as a puss moth caterpillar, also known as an asp. It’s one of the most-toxic caterpillars in North America. Yes, the entire flippin’ continent!

That cute, furry look with the long eyelashes? Just a disguise for a savage, tiny beast that can cause a sting with its brown spine that could have you scurrying for the emergency room.

Holy guacamole!

A Birth Announcement

Welcome to the world!

The Mister, the boys, and I are pleased to announce a new addition to our home (well, it was literally transformed on our house): Our monarch butterfly!

I’ve named her Monique (I think it’s female).

When I left the house this morning for my run, I first checked out the chrysalis closest to our front door.

Gone but not forgotten

Sadly, it was empty. Our first monarch butterfly apparently had literally flown the coop.

Monique enjoys her brief coming-out party.

Then I stepped off the front porch and looked up at the second chrysalis. There was our new bundle of joy hanging near the burst sac.

Of course, I immediately ran back into the house to take photos before continuing with my jogging. I wasn’t sure how long Monique would stay. I had read that after several hours, new butterflies continue on their life’s journey.

But when I returned, Monique was still there. I showed her to her brothers, who were less than impressed (boys!).

Farewell!

After awhile, I walked back outside and saw just the empty chrysalis attached to the house.

Monique, we hardly knew ye!

One-Word Wednesday

Monarch caterpillar #2 has been transformed way up high on our house.

Chrysalis!

A closer look

The other monarch caterpillar’s chrysalis is imperfect.

Photographic Equipment Sidebar: The first photo was snapped with my Nikon D700 and Nikon 105mm lens; the other two with my Nikon D300 and Nikon 300mm (f/4) lens.

Monarchs Rule Here, Too

Hello, there!

As I was walking from the family room to my home office yesterday, I glanced out the front door window. Something big high up on the porch wall caught my eye.

It was a beautiful monarch caterpillar!

Welcome to the neighborhood!

Once outside, I moved to the sidewalk to try to get a better photographic angle. I glanced up and saw yet more stripes.

Looks like the circle of life times two is continuing on our house!

One-Word Wednesday

The red caterpillar hanging around a passion flower will become a Gulf fritillary butterfly.

Caterpillar!

The Natural Side of Disc Golf

A disc communes with cacti.

Because I’m a photographer, disc golf is more than just a sport to me.

Beautiful purple flowers make their presence known.

Although I love documenting my younger son playing, I’m thankful there usually are distractions that make me glad I’m using my Nikon 105mm macro lens.

I don’t want to know what these cicadas were doing before exiting their shells.

When the guys played at the Roy G. Guerrero disc golf course recently in Austin, the 105 got a workout shooting drives and putts as well as plenty of nature. The course features lots of trees, a bunch of exoskeletons hanging off leaves, and a few wildflowers.

Several butterflies try to blend in with a tree.

We saw lots of non-colorful butterflies.

I see you!

Most were on the trees.

Large and in charge among the wood chips

While some rested on the ground trying not to get hit by flying discs.

A green bee on a thistle

Among those few wildflowers were beautiful thistles. This one attracted a green bee (I had never seen one before).

A skipper on a thistle

Skippers also liked the purple hues.

Skippers and thistles go together.

I came away from the course with an appreciation for all it had to offer . . . in terms of disc golf and nature!

Snapping Away at Cullinan Park

Dewberries look tasty.

My friend Jess has encouraged me to shoot at Cullinan Park here in Sugar Land for as long as I can remember.

This was one of the few wildflowers I spotted.

So last Saturday morning, I decided to finally check it out . . . with Jess as my guide.

A large, white flower absorbs the sunshine.

The two of us had a great time walking the trails, chatting away and listening to the birds chirping. I discovered that Cullinan Park is a local, natural treasure.

A heron takes off across Oyster Creek.

As I prepared to leave for the park, I had one main thought: What camera equipment will help me best document this adventure? How will I be able to shoot both near (macro) and far (telephoto)?

Sidebar: My second thought? Don’t forget the bug spray!

A butterfly enjoys the local cuisine.

I opted for a two-camera approach. On my Nikon D700 was my trusty Nikon 105mm macro lens for closeups. Attached to my monopodded Nikon D300 was my Nikon 70-200mm lens for long-range photo ops. I used both and was glad I had brought everything along.

A large dragonfly just hangs around.

Although the park isn’t very big, it’s filled with interesting sights and sounds. I was hoping to see some dragonflies, and I wasn’t disappointed.

A green dragonfly tries to blend in with his surroundings.

We spotted a few of the flyers in the woods among the butterflies.

A blue dragonfly rests on the lake’s plant life.

But we scored big at the park’s lake. D-flies were buzzing about, enjoying the water and plants.

A green dragonfly is happy to pose.

Although I was sad that there were no alligators to shoot, just watching the dragonflies flit about made me smile.

Is this curious caterpillar hungry?

After our adventure, Jess and I sat on benches, resting and talking. This little critter shared where I was sitting, so, of course, I snapped some pix with my macro lens.

I wonder what he’ll be the next time I stop by Cullinan Park. Which I’m sure will be sooner than later.