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Thursday, June 03, 2010

1 Caterpillar

Where are all the caterpillars this spring? I am attributing their relative absence to insect eating birds such as wrens that are in abundance in the neighborhood. We also have a pair of western bluebirds (Sialia mexicana) working on their second brood in a nest box on our house. When you see how often the parent birds come to the nest with a bug in the bill throughout the day, it's easy to understand the impact they have on insect populations.

This one caterpillar, a geometer of some sort, avoided being eaten long enough for me to find it. Often I can go back to a caterpillar in the garden and monitor its growth since they tend to stay on the same plant. When I checked back on this one, seen here feeding on the foliage and flowers of tanacetum ptarmiciflorum, it was no longer there; probably in the wee belly of a baby bird.


Christine said...

Yeah, I was hoping for a good butterfly year now that my buckwheat is in full force, but all I've spotted is an Acmon Blue and a Swallowtail that refuses to stop and let me take its picture. Maybe I should start getting into bird watching instead!

vanessa cardui said...

I am lousy at photographing birds. My eyesight is so bad I can barely spot them, and theirs is so good they fly away as soon as I raise the camera.

Swallowtails are notoriously difficult to get pictures of since they don't alight for very long.

vanessa cardui said...

Since I posted this post, I've been seeing lots of geometrid caterpillars, especially on the herbs. So maybe the delay was weather related.